When does a Traceability/ERP system makes sense?
An ERP is intended to address many aspects of your food business. The idea of an ERP (enterprise resource planning) or an MRP (material requirements planning) system has been around for decades. Traditionally, they have been used by large companies who can afford the complexity and costs of typical systems.
The advent of the internet and cloud-oriented software means an ERP is now accessible and affordable for many smaller food businesses too. How do you know when a system is right for you? In our experience, there are a couple of situations that indicate ERP software might make sense:
- Your delicious food products are attracting large chain-based retailers or bigger customers. But…these customers want their suppliers to follow a formal, documented process during manufacturing. They need to mitigate THEIR risk when it comes to food safety issues, contamination recalls or supply chain situations. Large customers add to the risk of missed shipments or out of control costs for large batch runs.
- You need to start giving some of the production and business know-how in your head to your employees. At this stage, you start to look for a way to aggregate or format that knowledge so you can train and help your employees take over more of the production work.
- Maybe you’ve got a set of spreadsheets that you’ve tweaked over time, or an older ERP system or other software that you’ve “modified” to make it work. But you realize a good chunk of your day is spent tinkering with your spreadsheets, or doing more data entry than you’d like.
While selecting, configuring and getting your team into an ERP system is not always a simple process, the savings in staff time, accuracy of your business data, and the peace of mind knowing that you’ve got a good set of numbers to run with in your business can make it pay off in the long run.