Integrating ERP in Food Supply Chain Solution

food-erp-nav_transparencyTraceabilityAndFlexibilityThe FDA has issued nearly 5,000 citations across food supply chains in the last 24 months. Descriptions included: contamination with chemicals, neglecting to write and implement an HACCP plan, failure to manufacture a batch record, and improper storage to protect against contamination. That doesn’t really sound very appetizing. What’s more, this could mean major risks for those in the food supply chain and packaging industries.

See our infographic:

… knowing where products are in the food supply chain does not improve traceability and transparency

Simply put, knowing where products are in the food supply chain does not improve traceability and transparency; unless proper processes are paired with some other inventory-control system. FDA nomenclature has recently spelled out why adopting an electronic traceability system must have; identification, resolution, and prevention of poor quality food products capabilities. This is to help outline the need for systems and processes that support a more dynamic and succinct view of the food supply chain. In 2013, 3,000 people died of food-borne illnesses – and on average –  individual food supply chain businesses reported losing $10 million to recalled product, refunds, and brand damage.

Finding software to fight the good fight for food traceability can become time consuming, expensive, and can require horizontal and vertical compliance; but it’s non-negotiable. Now is the time. You have to ask yourself, “is my organization using the right technology to support the right processes?”.

Does your technology support the right processes, and visa versa…

One major problem lies with antiquated systems currently in place throughout food supply chain entities in North America. Systems implemented prior to 2013 are not agile enough to collect the in-depth product information in compliance with FDA audit criteria; and this is especially true since vendor management is increasingly global. We suggest finding an ERP with a traceability schema assessable to critical control points throughout the entire supply chain since government requirements rarely allow for variation in process and outcome.

To that end, food safety experts suggest drafting proposals for ERP systems with features agile enough to establish multiple critical control points inside of a single system. One functional hub of information should include major discrete manufacturing processes such as lot tracking, quality control, labor intensity, labeling, recipe management, sales, accounting, and more. In a clean and shiny nut shell, the ERP you choose should avoid mistakes that cause or draw out food recalls and be able respond to emerging issues and challenges.

Determining best software features and process functions

Take for instance, improving your company’s inventory management systems. Find an ERP with an automated inventory management application. This tool regulates excess inventory with limited shelf-life and ensures ingredients are viable with surprising speed. These kinds of tools inside the ERP use unique pieces of data, like order dates, times, or serialized sequence numbers like RFID, and trace inventory through an entire supply chain in minutes.

An agile ERP is capability of implementing critical control points anywhere in your enterprise per regulatory metrics. Market this to your supply chain as a continuous improvement model, retractable process, or prevention method if dashboards reveal high level attention. The ERP should record and archive product and date information, instantly, in the same system.

Should any recipe become compromised, an effective food supply chain ERP – like Epicor – has a nimble on-the-fly configurator that allows users to manipulate recipes and continue production. This way business processes can evolve and provide answers for issues that were once very troublesome and risky. It is a competitive advantage; how food supply chains are saving millions of lives, because there’s no room for error in food production. Period. Recalls are happening each week, devastating operations and causing a negative ripple effect in upstream and downstream industries. Ultimately, if this happens (the odds are good that it will without proper attention) a brand will lose credibility with consumers and income will further suffer in an already price-volatile market.

Optimizing an approach

Supply-chain end users, like big-box retailers, are instrumental in food processers and packagers implementing enterprise software. Technological advances and e-marketing spur the development of integrated systems codes, track buying behaviors, and manage wholesale and retail transactions. For example, Walmart and Target have created proprietary supply-chain information systems their suppliers must adopt. However, it all is moot without the right processes in place. To appropriately and dynamically mitigate the risks associated with food recalls and supply chain traceability, manufacturers must implement proper practices to support the features listed above.

Processes that support the risk-mitigating features above must evolve quickly to adapt to changing environment and industry needs. With increased federal regulation and changing technology inside of the stakeholder environment, it’s important for food supply chain entities to support agile software with business actions based in best practices and repeatable processes.

In short, processes support business practices and maximize the functionality of software all while making it easy for the end-user. Ultimately, the best software in the world cannot overcome cumbersome or antiquated processes. Businesses should evaluate their needs according to both software functionality and business processes, and find the experts who can help them understand how to build these proper processes around the goals they have for their business.

Credit: Datrix


Doji Media Pte Ltd has focused on Odoo to provide ERP business solutions to SMEs since its inception. We have a team of experienced consultants with over 5 years’ experience in ERP implementation and execution. Doji Media provides you with a rapid but cost effective and a reliable way to integrate and manage your business processes and data. We have industry and domain expertise, thorough understanding of business processes and years of implementation experience. Our team can provide you robust and easy to deploy Odoo solutions. We also offer customized Odoo solutions and products to suit your businesses especially for Odoo stores / e-Commerce projects.

We follow the best practices and methodology for all our Odoo implementations. If you are looking for a viable Odoo partner / solution to implement any of the business modules, get in touch with us at Contact Us.