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Food Traceability: ERP's Saving Grace Feature

Food by nature is a perishable item prone to contamination and spoilage. With widespread stress on food safety and hygiene due to the pandemic, food traceability has become a prerequisite for all companies operating within the sphere. Food safety organizations and bodies such as the FDA have implemented rules and regulations. Under FDA’s new blueprint, establishments need to maintain documentation of processes for listed food products, as a move towards improving traceability, reducing contamination, and fostering a stronger food safety culture.

This, however, is easier said than done. Most food manufacturing and processing spaces are highly complex in nature. For each product that is sold, it goes through various stages of the supply chain. Food traceability is the capability of organizations to trace, document and link food products and ingredients across all stages of the supply chain, right from procurement, to processing, manufacturing, storage, packaging, and distribution. The solution? Food ERP integrated with food traceability software. 

A world without food traceability software

Remember the 2008 Salmonella outbreak with over 1442 people across 43 US states? To speak volumes of the importance of food traceability let us take a look at the challenges undertaken by company with no food ERP:

1)             More Grievances

Without an effective food ERP solution, a food producer cannot trace a stale produce to its batch or lot. In that case they cannot dispose of that lot resulting in stale food in a customer’s plate thereby not only becoming a grievance but also tarnishing the goodwill of that food producer. 

2)             Lack of real time data 

A food producer who does not have food ERP to leverage cannot access real time data of the product. This results in delays in deadlines, expiry dates being crossed over and customers with stale food on their plate. With this domino effect it is safe to say a food producer who does not have real time data is digging his own grave and inviting losses. 

3)             Error prone and time taking operations

A food producer who is operating manually is dancing with the devil. To speak volumes of which not only does that food producer be more prone to human error but at the same time it slows down his operations and in turn results in delayed deadlines and more labor cost.  

Having seen what a world without food traceability looks like, it is all the more reason to incorporate ERP for the food industry at the earliest. If these are not incentive enough to onboard food ERP let us also look at what food ERP brings to the table. 

Advantages of Food Traceability Software 

  • Integration: Food traceability software can be integrated within food ERP to provide automated tracking and traceability across the supply chain. This in turn builds a network across the supply chain that can be accessed in real time. 
  • Data Management: 

With ERP for food, food producers get immediate access to real time data. Direct tracking of products across batches at all stages of the supply chain is on the cards thus ensuring deadlines are scheduled and delivered in time. Food ERP also provides visibility, control and efficient problem identification making it imperative during response to contamination or spoilage issues.

  • Operational Efficiency: 

ERP for food eliminates human error and manual documentation processes. To top that food ERP also acts as a safeguard against potential losses of financial resources and brand equity killing two birds with one stone. 

What's Next for Food Traceability?

With exponential technological advancements, the process of food traceability has become even more refined. To tackle a major implementation issue of evolving and complex supply chain structures, technology has responded by creating RFID tags that leverage the blockchain and near field communication (NFC) technology.

  • RFID Tag based traceability: All products equipped with unique tags creating digital identities for products that can be traced digitally across the globe. This is integrated with food ERP.
  • Spoilage Alarms: Direct identification of spoilage with RFID tags that are equipped with temperature and humidity testers. Also indicate in the system when a batch of products is about to expire.
  • Target Marketing: Post distribution traceability, integrated with ERP for the food industry allowing an assessment of consumer data and target audience.

Incorporating a food traceability software is no more a luxury but a necessity. With regulatory authorities breathing down their necks and a cutthroat competitive landscape ERP for food has not only emerged as a differentiator but also a savior for food producers. In a dynamic environment change is the only constant and produce ERP is the change that will decide which food producers make money and adapt and which perish.

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