In its 2016 study “Report on E.R.P. Systems and Enterprise Software,” Panorama Consulting Solutions, L.L.C., asked about the effectiveness of E.R.P. systems and found 36% of companies claimed they “didn’t know.” The company said confusion and neutrality can indicate that a business didn’t do enough research before choosing a software, conduct audits after implementation or examine the measurements properly.

Based on his experience, Brandon Heiser, chief operating officer, Kentwood, Mich.-based Roskam Baking Co., said E.R.P. data and the software itself can be wasted in several ways.

“The systems allow us to have so much data that if E.R.P. is not set up correctly and accurately, it almost makes it more confusing and, therefore, harder to do business,” he said. “E.R.P. systems can also easily be under-utilized because people don’t have the determination and dedication to get the most out of them. Knowing what information you need is the first step. Then, have a very good understanding of the business process.”

Mr. Heiser said he’s also seen instances in which a company applies the E.R.P. software but then doesn’t trust the results. This leads to unused data and a counter-productive process.

One innovation that’s helping baking and snack companies gain perspective into the data is through technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.

“This affords them an even greater ability to parse complex data sets and gain deep visibility and understanding of business processes and the resources they utilize,” said Arthur Cole, technology writer, IT Business Edge, in “Best E.R.P. Systems 2019: Flexible, Customizable.”

But overall success comes down to how much attention is placed on the software and its data.

“As a market leader in the snack industry, we need to demonstrate best practice in order to support our goal of long-term value creation, and technology has quickly become a crucial pillar in achieving this,” said Maarten Leerdam, chief executive officer, Intersnack, Düsseldorf, Germany. “We look forward to exploring new technologies further in our quest to innovate and establish a strong footing for our next generation of growth.”

This article is an excerpt from the February 2020 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on production management, click here.