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ERP Systems in Food Safety and Traceability

ERP Systems in Food Safety and Traceability

One of the most significant recent developments in food safety is how food businesses, from farmers to producers and distributors — can adapt to the new Food Safety Modernization Act’s strict enforcement criteria (FSMA). This law can significantly increase food safety, but it will also pose several business and process problems for food businesses.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) changes the attention of the food supply chain from reacting to contamination to preventing it. For each phase in the chain, the focus is on prevention, transparency, and obligation, all of which necessitate companies developing, adhering to, and monitoring all of their processes for preventing food contamination.

According to Aberdeen Group’s latest survey, 48 percent of food and beverage manufacturers say maintaining compliance with current and future regulations is their top priority. Regulations such as the Food Safety Modernization Act and GS1 requirements are continually shifting and changing in the food and beverage industry. This makes enforcement incredibly difficult, and avoiding fines becomes even more difficult. Furthermore, if a recall is done incorrectly, it poses a severe threat to a company’s name and credibility.

This is where ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, especially those tailored to the food and beverage industry, can provide the necessary insight into food safety, quality control, and traceability. Food and beverage companies must be vigilant in implementing food safety and traceability processes and procedures instead of waiting for a potentially debilitating and expensive food safety recall to occur.

ERP software has many advantages for businesses. An integrated ERP solution can provide cost and productivity benefits in areas such as forecasting and planning, inventory, logistics, distribution, and waste management, in addition to providing critical traceability, data collection and management, as well as quality control and food safety standards.

To reap these advantages, any company embarking on an ERP selection and deployment project must carefully balance its immediate and long-term business needs with the appropriate ERP solution, as well as meticulously plan and prepare for the implementation process.

Meeting the Demands of FSMA

Companies would have to enforce more stringent regulations, policies, surveillance systems, and paperwork in the future. For companies with several steps in their food production processes and obsolete legacy technologies or manual systems, this can be challenging.

Because of their inability to quickly identify and deliver the necessary data for audits, their limited capacity to encrypt data, and the lack of standardization capabilities that enable incorporation with other systems, legacy systems are inefficient and prone to errors.

As a result, many food businesses will be focusing their efforts in the coming years on introducing mobile technology and new ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems for food safety services that will make enforcement more accessible, increase data quality, and significantly improve food traceability to comply with new and stricter regulations.

Many food businesses use ERP and in-house systems that are 10 to 20 years old. These systems have not been kept up to date, even with occasional software updates, making them more challenging to maintain, raising the cost of ownership, and making upgrades more difficult and expensive. They also cause significant integration issues.

Food Safety ERP Integration is Key

When it comes to having the right processes to support food safety in a company’s operations, integration is crucial. For example, how well a food safety ERP system interacts with a company’s quality system is critical in meeting the stringent new food safety requirements.  Companies that cannot incorporate both systems are required to conduct a matching exercise, gathering and analyzing data from both systems using spreadsheets.

Because of FSMA’s increased documentation requirements, these manual processes would be not only expensive but also too time-consuming to meet regulators’ deadlines. Legacy systems often find it difficult to incorporate more modern technology, such as mobile, which can significantly enhance supply chain transparency, allow field-to-fork traceability, and provide food safety information to consumers.

New food safety ERP systems provide impressive scalability and accuracy, as well as food-specific features. They can now have excellent traceability thanks to their advanced functionality and tone trace capabilities. Companies can also code, log, and trace their product items at the field level, manufacturing facility, or packing plant by integrating ERP with mobile applications.

Integrating ERP with modern mobile traceability apps also allows food businesses to convey accurate food information to customers at the point of sales, such as product sources, expiration dates, packaging information, allergen facts, food recall information, and marketing promotions.

How to Select the Correct ERP Solutions for the Business?

It’s no secret that implementing ERP applications successfully and effectively does not happen overnight. From the start, your project manager must identify and convey a set of desired goals and outcomes. A project budget must be defined early to optimize project performance.

There must be a calculated amount that is equal to the efficiencies you want to achieve. This will offer you the best return on your investment in the shortest amount of time, with the highest realized value of total benefits. Until embarking on an ERP implementation trip, keep the following points in mind:

  • Assign responsibility for the project’s execution.
  • Define your ERP implementation specifications, goals, and objectives in detail.
  • Ensure that everybody in the company understands what you’re doing and why.
  • Set reasonable goals for the result.

These considerations will aid in ensuring that your ERP project achieves tangible business benefits and, most importantly, the desired result.  Brand recalls are costly in terms of both the expense of the product and the possible harm to your company’s credibility and brand image. Having a sound ERP system in place that can handle food protection, traceability, and recall procedures can help you cut down on the costs of a recall and avoid further harm.

We are approaching a time when food businesses must review their current structures and processes to ensure that they not only directly meet the FSMA’s dynamic and increased documentation requirements, but also help boost quality and process efficiency and promote potential developments in food safety service.

They are implementing new food safety ERP systems that integrate seamlessly with a company’s quality system and other best-of-breed systems. While supporting advanced applications, such as mobile, they can provide a cost-effective, one-step response to regulators’ records requests and a long-term food safety solution.

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