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Key Features to Look for in a Food ERP System

By Michael Dautner, June 26, 2023


The fundamentals of Food ERP can be researched very easily through various mediums. However, particular nuances related to ERP systems for the food industry are often shrouded in mystery. For example, what key features should a food ERP system have? Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems have become the gold standard for food and beverage companies, providing agility and actionable insights. However, not all ERP systems are created equal, and it's important to find a true food industry ERP that meets your specific needs without costly customizations.

In this article, we will explore the key features that a food ERP system should have to help you make an informed decision.


Real-Time Inventory and Stock Management

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One of the most important features of a food and beverage ERP solution is real-time inventory and stock management. It's crucial to know what ingredients and products you have on hand and ensure that your figures are always up-to-date. Running out of a critical ingredient at the wrong time can be a nightmare and can negatively impact your ability to fulfill orders and meet delivery commitments.

A food ERP system should harness the power of integration and automation to accurately reflect stock levels in the interface. It should provide detailed information about the quantity, location, receipt date, and expiration date of each item. With real-time inventory and stock management, you can avoid stockouts, optimize your supply chain, and improve overall operational efficiency.


End-to-End Lot Traceability

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Lot tracking and traceability are essential for food and beverage manufacturers. It allows you to trace ingredients from purchase to sale, ensuring product safety and compliance. In the event of a recall, a food ERP system with end-to-end lot traceability can quickly identify compromised goods, minimize the scope of the recall, and protect your customers and your brand reputation.

With a comprehensive lot traceability feature, you can easily collect and track data throughout the supply chain, including purchase orders, manufacturing processes, and shipments. This enables you to have full visibility and control over your products, making it easier to comply with regulations and meet customer expectations.


Expiration Date Management

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Managing expiration dates is crucial in the food and beverage industry to ensure product quality and safety. A robust food ERP system should provide expiration date management functionalities, allowing you to capture and track the expiration dates of raw materials and finished goods.

With expiration date management, you can easily identify items that are nearing their expiration date and take appropriate actions, such as selling them on clearance or donating them before they expire. The system should also prevent the sale or use of expired materials, ensuring that only fresh and safe products reach your customers.


Flexible Units of Measure

Flexibility in units of measure is essential for food and beverage manufacturers, who often deal with ingredients measured in different units. A food ERP system should support multiple units of measure and provide the ability to convert between them. This is particularly important for industries such as meat, seafood, and produce, where catch weight tracking is necessary.

Having the flexibility to handle different units of measure at both the system and item level allows you to accurately calculate quantities, manage inventory, and streamline production processes. It eliminates the need for manual conversions and reduces the risk of errors.


Mobile-Friendly Capabilities

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In today's digital age, mobility is crucial for businesses to stay competitive. A food ERP system should have mobile-friendly capabilities that enable users to access the system and perform their tasks from anywhere at any time. This is especially important for food and beverage companies with employees working in different locations, such as warehouses, production facilities, and sales teams on the field.

Mobile-friendly capabilities allow for real-time reporting, data entry, and collaboration, improving overall productivity and efficiency. It eliminates the need for slow VPNs or clunky client software, enabling seamless communication and access to critical information.


Process Manufacturing with Batch Management

Process manufacturing is a unique aspect of the food and beverage industry, and a food ERP system should have robust process manufacturing functionalities. Unlike discrete manufacturing, process manufacturing involves producing items in batches with expected yields that may vary. It requires the ability to handle substitutions, adjustments to formulations, and multiple lots or batches produced as a result of a single work order.

A food ERP system with process manufacturing capabilities allows for accurate capturing of actual versus expected yields, easy management of substitutions, and comprehensive batch management. It ensures consistency in production, facilitates quality control, and improves overall operational efficiency.


Efficient and Simple Online Ordering

In today's digital age, online ordering has become a standard expectation for customers. A food ERP system should have efficient and simple online ordering capabilities, allowing customers to easily place orders, check pricing and stock availability, track deliveries, and even pay invoices.

By providing a user-friendly B2B portal, you can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty. Online ordering streamlines the ordering process, reduces the load on your customer service team, and improves overall customer experience.


Integrated Financial Management

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Financial management is a critical aspect of running a food and beverage business. An ideal food ERP system should have integrated financial management functionalities that allow you to track financials, manage receipts and purchases, analyze data, and make informed financial decisions.

With integrated financial management, you can streamline financial processes, improve accuracy in budgeting and forecasting, and ensure compliance with accounting standards and regulations. It provides a comprehensive view of your financial health and enables better financial planning and decision-making.


Robust Reporting and Analytics

Data is a valuable asset in the food and beverage industry. A food ERP system should have robust reporting and analytics capabilities that allow you to extract meaningful insights from your data. It should provide customizable reports, dashboards, and analytics tools to help you monitor key performance indicators, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions.

Having access to real-time, accurate, and actionable information empowers you to optimize operations, identify areas for improvement, and capitalize on market opportunities. It enables you to stay ahead of the competition and drive business growth.


Excellent Customer Support and Training

Implementing a new ERP system can be a complex process, and ongoing support and training are crucial for success. When choosing a food ERP system, consider the level of customer support provided by the vendor. Ensure that they offer timely assistance, knowledgeable staff, and resources to help you maximize the benefits of the system.

Comprehensive training programs and documentation should also be available to ensure that your employees can effectively use the ERP system. This will minimize disruptions during the implementation process and ensure a smooth transition to the new system.

Choosing the right food ERP system is a critical decision for food and beverage manufacturers. By considering the key features discussed in this article, such as real-time inventory and stock management, end-to-end lot traceability, expiration date management, flexible units of measure, mobile-friendly capabilities, process manufacturing with batch management, efficient online ordering, integrated financial management, robust reporting and analytics, and excellent customer support and training, you can find a system that meets your specific needs and helps you stay competitive in the industry.

Investing in a food ERP system that aligns with your business requirements and supports your growth strategy will enable you to optimize operations, ensure product quality and safety, enhance customer satisfaction, and drive business success.



Is Food ERP an Investment or an Expense?

In today's fast-paced food industry, manufacturers face numerous challenges in terms of product quality, food safety, traceability, and compliance. To stay competitive and ensure proactive decision-making, many food manufacturers are turning to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. However, before investing in a food ERP solution, companies must carefully consider whether it is an investment or an expense. This article will explore the costs and benefits of food ERP systems and discuss the return on investment (ROI) calculations.


The Importance of Food ERP

Food manufacturers operate on tight deadlines due to the short shelf life of their perishable inventory. They must deliver fresh and safe products to their customers while maximizing sales and operating on wafer-thin margins. To achieve this, improved workflows, streamlined operations, and comprehensive reporting are crucial. Food ERP systems help manufacturers achieve these goals by providing a centralized platform for managing various aspects of their business, including production, processing, conversion, preparation, preservation, packaging, and more.


Factors Influencing Food ERP Costs

The cost of implementing a food ERP system can vary depending on several factors. These include the size and complexity of the organization, the specific modules and features required, the number of users, and the level of customization needed. Additionally, ongoing maintenance, support, and training costs should be considered. It's important for companies to conduct a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis to determine the financial feasibility of implementing an ERP solution.


Benefits of Food ERP

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Implementing a food ERP system offers numerous benefits to food manufacturers. These include:

Streamlined Operations and Workflows

Food ERP systems help streamline operations by automating manual processes, reducing errors, and improving overall efficiency. By integrating various departments and functions into a single system, manufacturers can optimize their workflows and minimize bottlenecks.

Enhanced Inventory Management

Inventory management is critical for food manufacturers to ensure product availability, minimize waste, and meet customer demands. Food ERP systems provide real-time visibility into inventory levels, allowing manufacturers to track raw materials, monitor expiration dates, and optimize production scheduling.

Improved Quality Control and Traceability

Maintaining product quality and ensuring traceability is essential in the food industry. ERP systems enable manufacturers to track ingredients and finished products throughout the supply chain, ensuring compliance with safety regulations and enabling quick recalls if necessary.

Better Financial Management

Food ERP systems integrate financial management functionalities, including accounting, invoicing, and budgeting. This allows manufacturers to gain a comprehensive view of their financial health, track costs, analyze profitability, and make informed financial decisions.

Enhanced Reporting and Analytics

Food ERP systems provide robust reporting and analytics capabilities, allowing manufacturers to generate real-time insights into key performance indicators (KPIs). By analyzing data on sales, production, inventory, and more, manufacturers can identify trends, make data-driven decisions, and continuously improve their operations.


Calculating ROI for Food ERP Systems

Determining the return on investment (ROI) for a food ERP system involves evaluating both the costs and the benefits over a specific period. The ROI calculation should consider factors such as increased productivity, reduced operational costs, improved customer satisfaction, and decreased waste. By comparing the projected financial gains with the initial investment and ongoing costs, companies can assess the financial viability of implementing an ERP solution.


ERP as an Investment

While food ERP systems do involve upfront costs and ongoing expenses, they can be seen as an investment rather than an expense. By optimizing operations, improving efficiency, and providing valuable insights, ERP systems contribute to long-term profitability and growth. They enable manufacturers to adapt to changing market demands, enhance customer satisfaction, and stay ahead of the competition.


Implementing a food ERP system is a strategic decision for food manufacturers. While it involves costs, the benefits, including streamlined operations, enhanced inventory management, improved quality control, better financial management, and advanced reporting and analytics, make it a worthwhile investment. By conducting a thorough cost-benefit analysis and calculating the ROI, companies can make an informed decision about implementing a food ERP system and reap the long-term rewards it offers.

When considering the costs of food ERP, it's important to account for not only the software licenses and implementation fees but also ongoing costs such as maintenance, support, and training. These additional expenses should be factored into the overall budget to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the total cost of ownership. Additionally, companies may need to invest in hardware infrastructure upgrades or integration with other systems, which should also be considered when evaluating the costs of food ERP.



Looking for the Right Food ERP?

inecta is a leading provider of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions. Their ERP software offers a wide range of features designed to streamline business processes, improve operational efficiency, and facilitate data-driven decision-making. Here are some key features of inecta's ERP system:

Integrated Modules

inecta's ERP system consists of integrated modules that cover various functional areas of a business, such as finance, human resources, supply chain management, manufacturing, sales, and customer relationship management (CRM). This integration allows for seamless data flow across different departments, eliminating data silos and enhancing collaboration.

Financial Management

inecta's ERP software includes robust financial management capabilities. It provides tools for general ledger, accounts payable and receivable, budgeting, fixed assets, cash flow management, and financial reporting. This enables organizations to effectively manage their financial operations, track expenses, monitor revenue, and generate accurate financial statements.

Supply Chain Management

inecta's ERP system offers comprehensive supply chain management features. It covers areas such as procurement, inventory management, order fulfillment, demand planning, and supplier management. These features help optimize the supply chain by ensuring the timely availability of materials, minimizing inventory holding costs, and improving overall supply chain efficiency.

Manufacturing Execution

inecta's ERP solution includes modules for managing manufacturing operations. It supports various manufacturing processes, including production planning, scheduling, shop floor control, quality control, and product lifecycle management. These features enable manufacturers to streamline their production activities, reduce lead times, control costs, and maintain product quality.

Human Resources and Payroll

inecta's ERP system offers robust HR and payroll functionalities. It helps automate HR processes such as employee onboarding, attendance tracking, performance management, training, and payroll processing. This simplifies HR administration, improves workforce management, and ensures accurate and timely payroll calculations.

Business Intelligence and Reporting

inecta's ERP software includes powerful business intelligence and reporting tools. It enables users to extract data from various sources, analyze it, and generate insightful reports and dashboards. This empowers organizations to make data-driven decisions, identify trends, monitor key performance indicators (KPIs), and gain actionable insights into their business operations.

Mobility and Cloud Capabilities

inecta's ERP system offers mobility features, allowing users to access the system and perform tasks from mobile devices. It also provides cloud deployment options, enabling organizations to leverage the benefits of cloud computing, such as scalability, flexibility, and accessibility.

Overall, inecta's ERP features are designed to provide businesses with a comprehensive and integrated solution to manage their core operations efficiently. By leveraging these features, organizations can enhance productivity, streamline processes, improve collaboration, and achieve greater operational control.

If you would like to learn more about how inecta's Food ERP solutions can elevate your operation, sign up for a demo today!

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3 simple steps to find your Food ERP

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3 simple steps to find your Food ERP

  • The secret to finding the best solution that fits your specific food business’ needs.
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  • Tools to help you streamline your ERP evaluation process.

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Free Valuable Resource!

3 simple steps to find your Food ERP

*We will never sell your information. Keeping your data and privacy secure is our highest concern.