We recently covered manufacturing ERP — how to select, implement and manage your ERP solution at scale. Now, we’re digging into the details for food and beverage enterprises. Here’s what you need to know.
What is ERP for Food and Beverage Manufacturing?
Food and beverage enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions help F&B enterprises better manage key operations via digitization and automation.
This is a now a critical objective for Canadian F&B companies — as noted by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, food and beverage is the country’s largest manufacturing industry, both in GPD and total employment. What’s more, this sector purchases over 70 percent of Canada’s agricultural output.
“The food and beverage sector is Canada’s largest manufacturing industry”
– Research and Business Intelligence, Govt. of Canada
In addition to sheer volume, the F&B industry also faces challenges around increasing compliance and regulation.
According to the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) act that came into force on January 15th, 2019, for example, companies that manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, store, package or label food that is then exported or sent across provincial or territorial boundaries is subject to food traceability requirements.
These requirements include clear identification of the food on any packaging labels, along with the ability trace product movement both one step forward and one step back.
The result? F&B manufacturing ERP deployments are now critical for companies to keep operations on track and meet evolving compliance needs. The challenge? Many businesses aren’t sure where to start. Our complete guide to food and beverage ERP Can help.
Here’s an in-depth article explaining why F&B needs complete ERP solution.
What Types of ERPs can F&B Manufacturers Use?
There are three broad types of ERP solutions available for food and beverage manufacturers:
Generic ERP systems are just that — they offer functions and features that could be used by any business, but lack the specificity that F&B companies often need to manage regulatory and operational efficiency. Tools such as Sage X300 are a great starting point for generic ERP implementation.
Industry specific tools are designed specifically for manufacturing, meaning they contain features designed to address needs in this sector. For example. ERP solutions such as Sage X3 include the capability to manage production floor output, track inventory levels or schedule machine maintenance.
Purpose built ERP systems are designed to the fit the needs of your business. In most cases, they begin as industry specific tools — working with ERP consulting partners, they’re customized and adapted to deliver maximum benefit, and are often used by large industry enterprises.
What Benefits does F&B ERP Software Offer?
ERP systems offer multiple benefits for F&B manufacturers, including:
Increased process automation
Process automation can significantly increase manufacturing output: Many companies have seen 30 to 40 percent production rate boosts after implementing automation.
Enhanced data security
One in five manufacturing firms have been compromised by a cyberattack. The result? Enhanced data security is critical to keep operations up and running. Robust ERP solutions can help increase data visibility and control to limit the risk of unexpected downtime.
Improved cost control
Recent data shows that manufacturing firms are overspending in key areas — such as labour — as the market continues to rebound. ERP solutions can help improve cost control by providing visibility into staff deployments, hours worked and productivity achieved to help reduce total spend.
Streamlined recipe management.
Consistent recipes are critical to accurately replicate products. Robust ERP offerings ensure that your recipes are securely stored and accessible on-demand.
Reduced operational complexity
While production floor employees are needed on-site to keep F&B companies up and running, the pandemic has pushed many office staff into remote work roles. The result? Increased operational complexity. ERP systems can reduce friction across disparate work environments to help streamline key processes.
Augmented quality control
Lacking quality control can put F&B businesses at risk of regulatory violations. ERP tools help centralize quality control operations to augment outcomes and ensure products meet evolving standards.
As noted above, food and beverage traceability is now critical for F&B operations. ERP solutions provide increased visibility into product composition, origins and destinations to satisfy traceability requirements.
Related read: 4 major challenges of F&B and how Sage X3 can help them overcome.
On-Premises or in the Cloud?
When it comes to deploying F&B manufacturing ERP solutions, companies have two choices: On-premises or in the cloud. Let’s look at each in more detail.
On-premises solutions are installed and managed locally. This means you need sufficient server resources and storage space available to install and update EPR systems, and you’ll also need to address any issues that arise. While many ERP providers do offer on-site installation and maintenance, time lost waiting for technicians to arrive can lead to significant productivity loss. On-site ERP systems are often used by companies still leveraging substantial amounts of legacy technology, or those that prefer to keep data closer to home.
On-premises benefits include:
- True ownership of data.
- If you choose to change ERP solutions, formatting your data is easy.
- Integrations with other critical software are no problem with on-premise and single tenant deployments.
- Solutions such as Sage X3 provide in-software functionality for easy scalability.
Cloud-based systems, meanwhile, are deployed on cloud servers and are accessible to your staff anytime, anywhere and on any device. All upgrades, updates and maintenance are handled by your provider, and it’s easy to scale resources up or down as required.
Here’s a short article on addressing evolving F&B regulatory challenges using Cloud ERP
Best Practices for F&B Manufacturing ERP Implementations
Check out an in-depth article on how to choose a process manufacturing ERP
While every F&B manufacturer faces unique challenges in the market, four universal best practices apply to any ERP deployment:
1. Have a plan
Before you purchase any ERP system, make sure you have a plan in place. Why? Because while it’s easy to spend on ERP, it’s harder to drive consistent return on investment (ROI) if you don’t have a specific goal in mind. By identifying key metrics you want to measure — such as production efficiency, machine downtime or label accuracy — you can better identify the type of ERP that best suits your business.
2. Do your research
Next up? Do your market research. Not all ERP providers are created equal — while some only offer on-premises options, others provide both cloud and on-site solutions. It’s also worth looking for providers with industry expertise; if they understand the challenges F&B companies face, they’re better able to pinpoint key ERP benefits.
3. Get stakeholders on board
No ERP deployment will succeed if stakeholders — from C-suite members to shareholders to managers — aren’t on board. As a result, it’s a good idea to form a project team to help assess and evaluate potential ERP candidates before deployment begins.
4. Follow-up to ensure adoption
Finally, make sure to follow-up with staff to ensure the new system is working as intended — and that they’re using it for day-to-day operations. No matter how robust and reliable your ERP solution, it won’t pay dividends if staff are simply finding workarounds. Make sure they’re equipped with the tools and training needed to make best use of F&B manufacturing ERP.
Recommended read: 5 steps to get most out of your ERP implementation.
What We Offer for Food and Beverage Manufacturing ERP
At IWI Consulting Group, we can help your F&B business boost operational efficiency and improve regulatory compliance with Sage X3 and Sage 300 Cloud offerings. As a leader in the ERP space, Sage is driven to help companies maximize the efficacy of their ERP systems by providing robust, reliable and easy-to-use solutions that lay the groundwork for ongoing operational growth.
IWI is proud to be a 20-year Sage implementation partner. This means we have the experience and expertise to help design and deploy the best-fit ERP solution for your food and beverage brand, assist your team throughout the implementation process and provide the ongoing support you need to make the most of Food and Beverage ERP.
Ready to get started? See how IWI can help.
Doug Bonderud is an award-winning writer with expertise in technology, innovation and the human condition — his ability to create readable, relatable articles from diverse Web content is second to none.
Sean Fraser, IWI Consulting’s Account Manager has extensive knowledge of Sage X3, Intacct and 300Cloud offerings and how their effective integration can help companies boost revenue.