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Increasing visibility is a critical strategy for all manufacturers, but even more so for those in food manufacturing. In our last blog, How to Improve Transparency in Food Manufacturing, we discussed the importance of transparency to food manufacturers. A vital component of transparency is supply chain visibility. Supply chain visibility means that you are able to collect and respond to information from your suppliers regardless of size or geographic location. This information includes specific data related to product orders, physical shipments, invoices, and the status of events and milestones. When done well, you will have a tight synchronization of supply and demand as well as the ability to orchestrate the flow of product, information, and funds. Visibility provides many benefits in addition to transparency. Supply chain visibility can help reduce costs and improve company performance by increasing your company’s agility and responsiveness. In order to establish supply chain visibility and see these key benefits, you will need to follow these steps. An Action Plan for Supply Chain Visibility in Food Manufacturing Establish communication: In order to gather information from your suppliers and transporters, you will need to share and adopt universal standards for barcoding and data exchange. GS1 standards will […]

Do you know what transparency means in the food manufacturing industry? Do you know why it is so important? Do you know how to improve transparency in your processes? If not, read on to learn why transparency is so critical and how you can achieve it. Transparency is vital in the food manufacturing industry in order to streamline compliance and improve consumer relations. Transparency is needed through all of the stages of food manufacturing including origin, supply, production, processing, and distribution. Successful transparency requires the right technology to streamline tracking and provide information visibility to all who need it. What is transparency in food manufacturing? Transparency in the food manufacturing industry involves openly providing information about how food is produced. Both regulators and consumers are looking for information ranging from ingredient origin to the specific processing methods employed by the food manufacturer. Transparency has been a hot topic for food manufacturers for some time. According to Innova Market Insights, transparency is the number two topic on the top-ten list of food trends right after “improving consumer trust”. While many elements of transparency are already practiced and mandated in forms like nutritional labeling and truth-in-advertising statutes, there are many more practices […]

Companies need to constantly measure key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure that they are achieving their operational and financial goals. Over the last few weeks, we have discussed how best-in-class organizations use enterprise software to become more profitable. One of those best-practices is that these companies can measure their performance and understand how their actions help them to reach business goals.  In fact, best-in-class distributors and wholesalers are twice as likely as their peers to use KPIs to track their business success. In our first blog on this subject, (See How Do Your Business Systems Compare to Best-in-Class?), we showed that best-in-class companies have better inventory accuracy, timeliness and profit margins than their peers. These organizations understand the importance of monitoring their performance so that they can act to improve their operations using enterprise software. Best-in-class wholesalers and distributors are twice as likely to have a centralized repository for metrics and KPIs. They also provide instant access to the KPIs with a user interface that is tailored to the employee’s needs. Top-performing companies use business intelligence integrated with their enterprise software to provide real-time insight into key processes and data. ERP systems like Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3) and Sage […]

Mobile technology integrated with your enterprise software promotes business agility. With mobile access, wholesale and distribution employees can react quickly to market or process changes. According to Aberdeen’s 2014 ERP Benchmark survey, best-in-class wholesalers and distributors are twice as likely to enable mobile access to their enterprise software. Not only have 56% of these organizations implemented triggers and alerts in order to help them make immediate decisions, but 76% have data entry at the point of activity. Improved business agility enables companies to drive down costs and increase revenue. Mobile devices like radio frequency hand-held devices and barcode scanners have been used successfully in inventory management for some time to provide real-time information and product tracking. However, there is great opportunity in supply chain management to conduct business processes with mobile technology as well. Mobile devices and enterprise software like Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3) or Sage 300cloud (formerly known as Sage 300) can be used across the entire supply chain from the front to the back of the warehouse. Receiving: Capture inventory data from the point that it arrives in the dock. Using barcode technology, incoming shipments can be automatically verified against purchase orders and instructions sent to an […]

One characteristic that best-in-class wholesalers and distributors have in common is that they use integrated enterprise software to run their entire business. In fact, 81% of these high-achieving companies have integrated business systems. They are almost four times more likely than other companies to have cross-functional collaboration within their organization. Best-in-class organizations have moved their warehousing operations from behind the scenes, and have turned it into a strategic process that integrates sales, marketing, product development, and service. Business systems integration is critical to enable your company to move toward optimal performance. Cross-functional collaboration is best facilitated by integrated enterprise software because standalone systems impose informational and operational silos. Departments cannot be integrated unless your business software talks to each other. Installing the most comprehensive system in each area that doesn’t communicate isn’t much better than no system at all. For operations, this means that your inventory systems must be united with your ERP. Operations, sales, service, and accounting software should all be integrated, sharing the same database in real time. When all functions input data and have access to the ERP database, everyone can work together within the enterprise software system. An integrated system gives the customer a better experience […]

Best-in-class organizations are 97% more likely to have real-time visibility into the data and processes that run their business by using enterprise software. Last week, we saw that the highest-performing wholesalers and distributors follow strategies to provide visibility to management and promote process standards throughout the entire organization. (See How Do Your Business Systems Compare to Best-in-Class?) These organizations have implemented enterprise software that provides one location for all of the information needed to run the business effectively. Enterprise software gives greater visibility which gives managers better insight into the organization, enabling them to react quickly to operational and market changes. With visibility across departments and divisions, you can better predict demand, ship orders, interact with customers, and invest in the business with confidence. Best-in-class wholesalers and distributors use enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to analyze, forecast, and manage inventory. Let’s take a look at several ways to fully utilize enterprise software to increase the effectiveness of your operations. Tools for Analysis with Enterprise Software Inventory specialists can take data analysis functionality to a whole new level through inventory optimization tools and enterprise software such as Sage 300cloud (formerly known as Sage 300) and Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3). These […]

What makes a company best-in-class? Have you ever wondered how your business systems compare to those of top organizations? An Aberdeen study defines best practices for wholesalers and distributors in their ERP Benchmark survey. The research compares practices of high-performing companies to their peers. Aberdeen found some clear differences in their business practices. The majority of wholesalers and distributors use an ERP system to drive their business operations. Distributors turn to enterprise software solutions in their business systems for three key reasons: to manage growth expectations, to improve decision making, and to reduce costs. These motivations were identified in the Aberdeen study: Need to manage growth expectations (41%) Delays in decision-making from lack of timely information (35%) Must reduce costs (32%) Interoperability issues across multiple operating locations (27%) Interoperability issues with customers and suppliers (27%) A growth strategy requires process automation. As distributors add new locations, more countries, and new customers, they are finding that communication and workflow across functions has become increasingly disorganized.  Automating processes in their business systems is a critical step in keeping costs under control and managing change. Enterprise Software Strategies to Manage Growth An ERP is an important part of any growth strategy. Enterprise software does more […]