Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) has the ability to link sectors within a business, and it is also completely customizable. Can a company view its payroll? Check. Can it analyze efficiency with automated batching systems? Check. What about tracing back the ingredients within a specific product? That’s another check. 

“Our ERP system has multiple built-in capabilities to integrate with other systems,” said Brandon Heiser, chief operating officer, Roskam Baking Co., Grand Rapids, Mich. “One example is a warehouse management system where we use scan guns to track the location of pallets so we know where everything is at all times.”

Intersnack, Düsseldorf, Germany, installed Infor’s Cloudsuite Food & Beverage in 2018. It uses the software to run these aspects of its business: human resources, financials, performance, business intelligence, enterprise asset, risk, customer relationship and procurement, and supply chain management.

In 2019, snack maker and food manufacturer Zumbro River Brand, Inc., St. Cloud, Mich., executed ProcessPro’s ERP software solution throughout its facilities.

“ProcessPro has provided Zumbro River Brand the tools it needs to streamline processes, discontinue many manual processes and integrate all of our systems into one ERP solution,” said Ashley Osmund, plant controller. “During our implementation, we also implemented the warehouse management solution that allowed our company to move to a barcoded inventory and location system.”

Roskam had three goals when the company executed Microsoft Dynamix AX/D365. The first was mitigating Excel spreadsheets for data input and business processes such as reports and planning tools. Next, the company wanted to reduce non-value positions and time wasted by keying data into a financial system. The third objective was to obtain accurate inventory at any time.

“These high-level goals went beyond expectations with a significant drop in Excel usage for business-critical functions and reports,” Mr. Heiser said. “And inventory accuracy went up from about 85% to 99%.”

Tracking product with ERP

Having direct knowledge about materials and products — no matter where they are in the production process — is crucial at a time when the US Food and Drug Administration is increasing regulations and consumers are seeking transparency. That’s why most ERP companies have created tracking systems within their software.

“The pressure is immense to complete a successful recall as fast as possible,” said Steve Bieszczat, chief marketing officer at Delmiaworks, IQMS, which offers manufacturing ERP with two-way lot traceability labeling options to avoid errors and for shelf-life tracking. “To do this, companies need information fast, which is something they can get from a reliable lot traceability system. The first step in damage control is to get the offending product located and quarantined. The second step is to find out what happened and identify the root cause of the problem.”

Taylor, Mich.-based Michigan Bread operates Flexibake software integrated with Microsoft Dynamics, a combination that has evolved in alignment with the growth of the bakery.

“Our responsibility as manufacturers is practically farm to table,” said Spiros Assimacopoulos, chief executive officer and president, Michigan Bread. “Compiling and managing data within one platform is key for reliability and ease of use.”

Roskam uses its software to track materials from the moment they enter the facility to the time they leave.

“Additionally, strong disposition functionality can allow systems to block the movement, use or sale of material that may be on hold, expired or unusable at that time,” Mr. Heiser explained. “With strong reporting, the ability to generate a trace in minutes is a huge safety and regulatory advantage.”

Some ERP providers have created systems for food manufacturers that include cannabis in products. Priority Software’s Priority Cannabis ERP does seed-to-sale reporting, recordkeeping and accounting. Microsoft Dynamics 365 approved Silver Leaf Cannabis Business Central, which provides not only tracking but also delivery compliance, quality control and financial best practices.

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