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Over the past few weeks, we have looked at ways to reduce waste in the food manufacturing industry by using technology to improve warehousing and manufacturing practices. Another tool you can use to reduce waste is business intelligence connected with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system like Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3). Overstocking is a Primary Source of Food Waste Increasing manufacturing automation and improving traceability are certainly key components in reducing waste; however, a large portion of food waste results from overstocking which comes when companies are unable to sell their finished products. Of course, the danger of lowering stock levels is to run into stock-outs which will also reduce profitability. Business Intelligence Tools Optimize Inventory Success in the food manufacturing industry is tied to the ability to accurately forecast consumer demand. Because supply and demand can fluctuate dramatically, it can be a challenge to maintain the right stock levels.  Business intelligence tools are critical components to your systems because they can help take the guesswork out of when to buy and how much to stock. Even small improvements in the problems below can make a big impact on your profitability. Excess inventory Stock-outs Inaccurate counts Warehouse inefficiency […]

The food manufacturing industry is highly competitive. With low margins and fluctuating demand, food manufacturers need to use every means to maximize efficiency. That is why food waste is an important matter; small amounts can accumulate into big costs. Reducing food waste will lead to decreased costs and increased profitability. Reduce Waste Using Process Automation One way to eliminate food waste is to be focused on operational excellence on the manufacturing floor. (See last week’s blog to learn about reducing food waste in the warehouse.) Putting the following practices in place will improve manufacturing success and reduce waste. Automate your production lines using intelligent equipment and improve recipe management. Apply lean manufacturing practices to eliminate wasted steps in the manufacturing process. Continuously innovate to improve processing equipment and material handling. Track ingredients and products throughout the manufacturing process. Collect process data to meet regulatory compliance and make improvements. Knowledge is the First Step to Maximizing Efficiency Awareness of where food waste occurs is critical to knowing where to focus innovation. Having a thorough understanding of where food waste occurs makes it possible to maximize efficiency. That knowledge comes from having the right technology in place to gather and analyze data. […]

One of the biggest challenges a food manufacturer can face is managing inventory. Excess inventory is an issue for any manufacturer, but for the food manufacturing industry, the repercussions are even greater. With inventory that has a shelf life and expiration dates, effective inventory management is mission critical. Last week, we looked at the high cost of waste in the food manufacturing industry and how having technology with tracking capabilities can reduce that cost. (See The High Cost of Waste in the Food Manufacturing Industry.) This week, we will look at how better warehouse management can reduce food expiration and spoilage as well as eliminate cross-contamination—two sources of food waste. Reduce Food Expiration and Spoilage Poor inventory management in the food manufacturing industry directly leads to food expiration and spoilage.  Although technology and improved processes can help reduce food expiration and spoilage by speeding up the production process, the real issue is in distribution and the inability to move products down the supply chain at an appropriate rate. A robust ERP solution can support efforts to manage your inventory by tracking lots and shelf life so that products can be pushed out before they expire. Eliminate Cross-Contamination Contamination of food […]

Food waste isn’t just a global problem; it impacts profitability in the food manufacturing industry. Food waste is an indicator that there are inefficiencies in manufacturing processes, contributing to high overhead and lower profits. Momentum is building to address the global food waste problem. Non-profit organizations, regulators, and consumers are making waste an urgent issue due to their concerns about sustainability and world hunger. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, 30% of the food we grow is never eaten. While the majority of waste occurs at the consumption level, over 4 billion pounds of food are wasted in the manufacture and distribution of food. Reducing Food Manufacturing Waste Increases Profitability Generally, food manufacturing companies accept a certain amount of waste as a part of the cost of doing business and include it as overhead. Estimates say that industry-wide disposal costs are more than $100mm. Food companies could increase their profits by as much as 10% simply by reducing food waste. In a market where companies face high volume and thin margins, reducing waste can make a major impact on profitability. Traceability is at the Core of Eliminating Food Waste Within the food manufacturing industry, […]

Most organizations implement barcode scanning software to solve a particular problem they are experiencing in the area of inventory management. Whether it be a large number of inventory inaccuracies, time-wasting activities, or high inventory costs that they are experiencing, barcode scanning software offers a solution to the problem at hand. What many companies do not realize, however, is that the benefits of barcode scanning software applications extend far beyond the warehouse or distribution center. Barcode Scanning Software Extends Beyond the Warehouse into the Office A good inventory management solution with barcode scanning capabilities will serve your entire business, not just a segment of it. Let’s take a look at some of the areas that are positively impacted when you make the decision to invest in and implement barcode scanning software: First and Foremost: The Warehouse Knowing how much inventory you have on hand is crucial to the success of your operation. If you are relying on manual methods for inventory counting, tracking or picking and packing, the process can become extremely cumbersome and inaccuracies can abound. Barcode scanning software not only automates the process and allows you to see real-time inventory data, but it also eliminates inaccuracies that can cause […]

No human, business or entity is exempt from making mistakes; they happen to the best of us. Whether you are new to the industry or a seasoned pro, you can most likely recall a time you yourself or your business made an error or mistake. How significant was that error? Was it costly, or did it have an impact on other areas of the organization? Whether it is shipping the wrong product to a customer or simply sending them an invoice for an item they did not order, errors can be costly to your business. While mistakes and errors are certainly a fact of life, it is important for businesses to take certain precautions and prevent as many mistakes from occurring as possible. One area that we encourage our customers to focus their error prevention on is the area of order fulfillment. How Much are Errors Really Costing Your Company? Errors can occur easily during the order fulfillment process. When an item or product is incorrectly slotted or labeled, the likelihood of that product being sent to the wrong customer is high. These mistakes can be costly to the business, costing the average company a total of $390,000 a year. […]

Investing in new software and technology is always an extensive process. Not only do you have to do thorough research into the products you are considering, but you also have to prove the benefits of the software in order to obtain approval from upper management for purchase. The time and money put into not only the software but the process itself is a huge investment, and you need to be as prepared as possible in order to make the right technology decision for your company. When it comes to barcode scanning software, it is important to know what you are looking for. Every company has its unique needs when it comes to barcoding and inventory management, and making sure you invest in the right solution is crucial to your barcoding success. Don’t make the mistake of investing in the wrong solution for your company! For companies needing access to real-time information, wireless barcode scanners are the way to go. These are used to track data as products move in and out of the company. Once a barcode is scanned, the data is sent directly to the company’s ERP and inventory management software. Sales teams and upper management can then view […]

Save Time and Money with Barcode Inventory Management How much time and money is your business currently spending on inventory management? If your company is like most, your resources are tied up in manual processes that are contributing to inefficiencies and high inventory-related costs, tying up precious business resources and leading to frustration for both your employees and customers. For small businesses in particular, the time and money spent on inefficient inventory management strategies can be particularly cumbersome. The Effects of Poor Inventory Management Poor inventory management is easy to spot. The company experiencing poor inventory management often experiences a high number of inventory inaccuracies, high inventory costs, and inefficiencies leading to delays in the shipping or reporting process. More often than not, you will be able to tell if your company is experiencing poor inventory management simply by taking a look at your company books. Do your inventory-related costs (the costs of the actual goods and their associated labor costs) seem exceedingly high? While inventory-related costs are always higher than we’d like them to be, if your costs keep climbing, you could probably use some improvement in your inventory management practices. Solving Poor Inventory Management with Barcode Scanning Software […]

Over the past month we have been discussing the benefits, challenges and argument for using mobile business systems in the workplace. Up until this point, we have focused our discussions on using mobile devices and applications in the office (or for office-related jobs). Mobile technology, however, is not limited to the office or the people who work in the office. Mobile devices and business applications can be used in any environment, including manufacturing and distribution. Manufacturing and distribution companies function a little differently than the traditional office environment. For starters, much of the work is completed in the warehouse, an environment that is fast-paced, inventory-heavy, and rugged in nature. From receiving inventory to shipping out orders and everything in between, manufacturers and distributors have a lot to manage and cannot be tied down to a desk or computer. For this reason, mobile business systems are not only beneficial to the business, but they are necessary for today’s modern warehouse to survive. Mobile Business Systems Solve Challenges for Manufacturers and Distributors Manufacturers and distributors face a unique set of challenges. In addition to finding ways to manage inventory cost-effectively, they also have to ensure the operation is running seamlessly in order […]

Today’s companies are more mobile than ever: traveling from city to city for various meetings and conferences, making sales calls, and walking through warehouse and distribution centers. In addition, today’s businesses are facing more competition than ever and business leaders need to be able to make important decisions on-the-go. In order to do this, however, they need access to business-critical information from the company’s business systems. Without it, you and your employees do not have the tools you need to do the job well in this highly mobile world. Luckily, when it comes to mobile business systems, there are plenty of options from which to choose. In fact, we can work with you to obtain mobile access to all of the business systems we sell and support so you are always connected to the information you need – when and where you need it. For the sake of this article, however, we would like to highlight the mobile capabilities of Sage X3, the software of choice for businesses in a variety of industries, including manufacturing and distribution. Sage X3: Providing Companies with Seamless, Mobile Business System Connectivity Sage X3 provides companies with mobile access to their most important business information […]