The Food Manufacturing Brainstorm features industry
experts sharing their perspectives on issues critical to the
overall food industry marketplace. In this issue, we ask:
What are important factors for food manufacturers to consider
when deciding whether to make a software expenditure?
Mike Edgett, Industry & Solution Strategy Director, Process
Manufacturing at Infor
Like most other business expense decisions, determining whether to make a software expenditure should be
based on the solution’s potential to help your company grow and improve efficiency.
Specifically for food manufacturers, an innovative environment is the most important factor for success, but in
order to innovate, you must be responsive to consumer tastes and trends while also meeting regulatory require-
ments. Consumers are demanding more information about products they purchase and have, in turn, become
more knowledgeable and vocal about the foods they eat. Additionally, roughly 15 million Americans, including 1
in 13 children, have a food allergy — and nearly 40 percent of these children have already experienced a severe
or life-threatening reaction, according to the Food Allergy Research & Education organization. As a fundamental
requirement, food manufacturers must carefully monitor and accurately label all ingredients. If your company
has faced a recall due to labeling issues or if you are buried in spreadsheets to try to manage recipes and formulas, you are
not as efficient as those companies that have invested in a product lifecycle management software solution.
Nearly all food manufacturers produce in a make-to-forecast environment, which is becoming even more challenging to
maintain as consumer tastes and expectations change. The increase in demand for less processed foods and fresher, organic
options with shorter shelf lives complicates this already challenging planning and scheduling environment. If your ERP was
designed with food & beverage manufacturing in mind, it should be able to handle the complexity of seasonality and shelf-life
management. If it can’t or you have some unique scheduling challenges, then you may need a specialized advanced planning
and scheduling solution that will measure improvements and show greater efficiencies.
Finally, you need to know that the solution is scalable to meet your business as it grows and that you will always have
access to the latest technology. A secure, cloud-based versus on-premise solution, designed specifically for the food and
beverage industry, allows manufacturers to increase profitability and meet growth goals by addressing challenges, meeting
unique requirements, managing quality and improving traceability.
Kevin Jablonski, Vice President of Operations and Technology,
Sanders & Morley Candy Makers Inc.
When considering whether or not to purchase a new software solution, it’s important to first ask whether
your current system is supporting your company’s growth. If you can’t answer that question easily, then it’s
time to re-assess your position.
The right software solution will reallocate institutional knowledge, talent and resources back on to the
business. It allows for gains in data accuracy, provides increased visibility, and produces actual traceability. These are each important factors to consider when evaluating a potential software expenditure. A
major technology trend to impact enterprises is the adoption of cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
offerings like Cloud ERP. The benefits of SaaS are real and measurable including easier administration,
automatic updates and patch management, compatibility, easier collaboration and global accessibility.
Accurate data is a critical foundation piece for efficiency and growth. Leveraging the right software reduces human
error and creates accessible data. Teams can now analyze changes in inventory, production and accounting in real time.
Individuals will find new ways to add value.
Real-time visibility drastically reduces paperwork by providing anytime, anywhere access. You can manage inventory
levels with timing and thresholds to better meet your needs. This access coupled with a SaaS model affords incredible
flexibility to painlessly expand into new facilities while requiring reduced resources and infrastructure.
Traceability is critical. Today you can dovetail traceability into daily operations in a way that identifies potential issues
before the problem can be shipped from your warehouse. That is accomplished by a simple paradigm shift from catching details post-production to validating those same details at time of receipt. With the correct details on the way in, a
software process controlling the use of materials, and automatic recording through shipment you gain full traceability at
the touch of a button.