5 Questions to Ask about Food and Beverage Enterprise Systems

Project teams face unique challenges when implementing food and beverage enterprise systems. Due to the complexity of such technology initiatives, it pays to ask questions about what’s critical to the business.

As an ERP consulting firm serving food and beverage organizations,  we see many processors hitting a wall with their outdated, stand-alone systems. Many of the organizations we speak with still grapple with siloed solutions to handle these key functions. Organizations often rely on manual spreadsheets, resulting in error-prone and inefficient processes as well as duplicate data entry.

Rich Sides, Ultra Consultants Chief Operating Officer, outlines disruptions impacting food and beverage teams when it comes to enterprise technology

Overview: Food and Beverage Enterprise Systems

It’s been our experience as business improvement consultants that a strategic method for understanding what’s possible with industry-specific, purpose-built food and beverage enterprise systems is critical.

Volatile prices for raw materials, tough competition, fierce pressure to innovate and complex regulations are just a few of the many challenges that companies in this industry face daily.

These conditions demand efficient and easy-to-manage internal and external processes along the entire value chain. So how do you get there? A key approach to is to understand the best functional fit of food and beverage ERP.

When it comes to evaluating food and beverage enterprise systems, teams are wise to understand the current state processes and any gaps that might be evident in these areas:

  • Recipe Management
  • Batch Processing & Catch Weights
  • Product Attributes (e.g., Nutrition, Allergens)
  • Estimating and Sampling
  • Lot Traceability, Shelf Life and Date Codes
  • Units of Measure (Volume and Weight)
  • By Product/Co-Products
  • Quality Control & FDA Regulations
  • Commodities Speculation (e.g., Grains)
  • Equipment Maintenance

Top Questions to Ask

As we’ve noted here, there’s much to consider with Food ERP.

When it comes to food and beverage enterprise systems, Ultra Consultants has guided top processors to go beyond technology selection and narrow the focus to identify ways for improving business processes that are specific to this sector.

To get started, consider these five key questions:

  1. Are your current business processes for manufacturing, quality and customer service designed in a way that give you a competitive advantage, or are there things you would like to change?
  2. How difficult is it for your company to develop and maintain the detailed information required for regulatory compliance? As an example, can you obtain accurate costing with real-time tracking?
  3. How challenging is it for your company to do lot control tracking, shelf life management and product grading?
  4. With regards to customer satisfaction, are you able to identify and track different types of returns and the reason for the return?
  5. How challenging is it for your existing processes to accurately forecast, to optimize schedules, and to manage all elements necessary to fulfill the order to promise quickly?

Learn More about Food and Beverage Enterprise Systems

Based on hundreds of successful ERP software selection and implementation engagements, it is clear that a strategic approach is needed for food and beverage teams considering a technology project.

The most successful projects have at their helm vendor-neutral, independent guidance.

For a first-hand look as such an approach, read a food and beverage ERP solution success story here.

Software selection and implementation processes often present challenges of their own. To steer you around trouble and help you drive success, Ultra’s experts compiled a list of pain points and solutions to be aware of as you embark on this journey.

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Jeff is the founder of Ultra Consultants, a well-known voice in the ERP consulting industry and an expert on ERP solutions for discrete and process manufacturers. Over the last 40-plus years, his companies have helped more than 2,000 organizations improve their business processes, select ERP software and implement advanced solutions.

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