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ERP Systems: Effective Customer Credit and Collections Management to Ensure Strong Cash Flow – as Critical Now as Ever

Thursday, April 8th, 2010 by admin

I had a conversation with a wholesale distributor this morning with whom we’ve been talking for quite a while.  We first started some dialogue with them back in July 2009 about their initiative to evaluate and implement a new wholesale distribution software system.  We had gotten down to their short list and were scheduled to participate in a final on-site demo phase when they called to say they needed to put their project on hold due to other priorities and the economy.

During this morning’s conversation, I was told that during the recent economic slowdown they’ve had some combination of customers who have just stopped paying them to the tune of “several million dollars.”  As a result, they’ve decided they are not going to be in a position to reengage in their software evaluation efforts until at least the summer of 2011.

This story just reinforced how critical it is for all businesses, especially small to mid-market distribution and manufacturing companies, to engage in effective credit and cash flow management practices.  Companies using the Enterprise 21 system can establish a series of dashboards using the decision support functionality in the system to trend total open accounts receivable and past due accounts receivable over time.  This helps executives to spot potential issues before they become critical in nature.  Likewise, in another dashboard pane, management can review open accounts receivable by customer in total and across a series of aging buckets to see how its customers are performing relative to making their payments.  These functions allow for management personnel to take a quick view of accounts receivable overall and by customer to spot where additional interaction might be needed to keep things from spinning out of control.

From an operational perspective, Enterprise 21 also has effective credit and collections management functionality.  When a customer order is entered into Enterprise 21, the system immediately checks whether or not the customer has failed their credit check.  This is done by checking to see if the given customer’s total open orders plus outstanding receivables exceed their available credit limit and by checking to see if their accounts receivable aging has caused an exception based on specific parameters that are established on a customer-by-customer basis.  As an example, a customer could have a credit limit of $200,000, have total open orders plus outstanding receivables of $100 and could have just $1 aged into the over 60 days late aging bucket and have their next order placed on hold based on their specified credit parameters.

The same process of checking total open orders plus outstanding receivables is re-executed after the entry of each successive order line item as well.  So, the customer may not have been on credit hold at the start of the order entry process and may still have been fine through the first fifty line items of the order only to fail the credit check on the fifty-first line item.  Once an order goes on credit hold, an alert is sent to the appropriate credit manager to review the order and determine what needs to be done to be able to remove that order from credit hold.

From a collections management perspective, Enterprise 21 provides the functionality to monitor and manage the accounts receivable collections process.  Every night, the system evaluates outstanding receivables by customer to see what items have aged to past due plus a grace period (where you define what the grace period is, say 15 days), and the system automatically generates a series of collection calls to be made by the appropriate collections resource.  One can enter notes associated with the call and schedule a follow up collection call for that item based on the discussion with the customer’s accounts payable contact.  Should payment be received for that item prior to the next scheduled call, that item would automatically be removed from the collection call log so the person making the collection calls would not have to do so manually.

Through the combination of decision support dashboards to alert executives and management to trends in overall and late accounts receivable, visibility to overall accounts receivable in aggregate and by aging bucket by customer, and strong credit and collections management functionality, wholesale distributors and manufacturers using TGI’s Enterprise 21 ERP software have the tools necessary to manage customer credit and company cash flow effectively.


Using Enterprise 21 ERP’s Integrated Workbenches for USDOT Audits

Monday, April 5th, 2010 by Alex Smith

TGI’s Enterprise 21 ERP software features a built-in Workbench Designer that allows end users to design their own inquiry screens, graphical reports, and productivity gauges without any programming knowledge and without any modification to the application’s source code. These screens can be added to the Enterprise 21 menu structure and shared with other users throughout the organization with appropriate security privileges. Given the fact that virtually any data field in Enterprise 21 can be added to a workbench, the Workbench Designer has literally hundreds of applications for use in sales, marketing, customer service, manufacturing, shipping, receiving, finance and accounting, warehousing, and procurement.

In a recent conversation with a seafood distributor looking to migrate from their existing legacy system to a fully-integrated food distribution software system, the company’s GM informed me that they are subject to U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) audits. The GM told me that each time they are audited by the USDOT, she has to compile data from a variety of systems into a consolidated Excel spreadsheet. From start to finish, her process of retrieving and consolidating the data the USDOT wanted to see would last some two to three weeks, as she had to take the time to find the data in their existing system and a series of unorganized Excel documents. I then asked her what specific information the USDOT auditors wanted to see in her reports. According to the GM, the USDOT wanted to be able to see the country of origin of their products, when they received the product, what entity specifically supplied the product(s), the lot numbers assigned to the products upon their receipt, when the products were shipped to the distributor’s customers, the customers who were shipped the product, the method of shipment that was used for each customer order, and the freight carrier that was used for each customer order over a specific range of dates. She then asked, “Is this something Enterprise 21 can do?” My response – “Let’s build a workbench!”

By building a workbench, the seafood distributor can retrieve the data required by USDOT auditors with relative ease and efficiency. The GM’s formerly tedious process of retrieving information for USDOT audits would be reduced from two to three weeks to a matter of minutes. Furthermore, the GM would be able to export the data retrieved in her workbench directly to an Excel spreadsheet to then pass along to the auditors in their preferred data format.

While using Enterprise 21’s Workbench Designer for USDOT audits is just one example, workbenches have literally hundreds (if not thousands) of applicable uses for system users in any department of an organization.


Using Enterprise 21 ERP’s Integrated Training System to Train New Employees

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 by Alex Smith

Virtually every business with whom we speak during the ERP selection process asks about Enterprise 21’s help files and how end-user training is conducted as part ERP implementation. The Enterprise 21 ERP system features help files built directly into the application, as well as an online users manual. These help files exist at the screen level and at the individual field level. In addition, when manufacturers or distributors purchase the Enterprise 21 ERP system, they receive the complete application source code at no additional cost. This enables end users (with the appropriate security permissions) to modify Enterprise 21’s existing help files to meet the specific needs of their organization.

In terms of functional training, TGI conducts end-user training onsite at the customer facility and provides online, Internet-based training throughout the ERP implementation process. In addition, the Enterprise 21 ERP system features an “Integrated Training System.” This system, which is built into Enterprise 21, serves as the foundation for initial end-user training and features answers to hundreds of frequently asked questions, training courses and certification exams, and “How-To” help. The Integrated Training System also includes a series of multimedia demonstrations that show end-users how to perform hundreds of different functions and process various transactions within Enterprise 21.

Perhaps one of the most important benefits of Enterprise 21’s Integrated Training System, however, is that it can be used to train new employees in the months and years following ERP implementation. Often times, new employees are trained by existing members of the organization who were previously trained by TGI personnel during implementation. A person who is added to the organization’s customer service department, for example, would more than likely be trained by one of the company’s existing customer service representatives. The problem with this approach is that it can lead to a declining level of ERP system knowledge throughout the organization over time as employees are added.  Using Enterprise 21’s Integrated Training System to begin training new employees ensures that each Enterprise 21 user receives the same, base level of functional training regardless of whether they have been with the organization for two years or two days. New employees can then take the organization’s certification exams to determine whether or not they are ready to begin processing transactions in a live production instance of Enterprise 21.


Two Key Questions Process Manufacturers Should Ask Themselves when Implementing New Process Manufacturing Software

Monday, March 29th, 2010 by admin

Many process manufacturers with whom we enter into discussions have a similar make up prior to implementing new process manufacturing software like TGI’s Enterprise 21 system.  Currently, their production reporting exists only on paper.  They also want to do system-enabled production scheduling but don’t have production standards documented, such as the duration of the setup and run times respectively for each product within each production process step.

So, they wonder where to start for their implementation of new process manufacturing software.  Two key elements to be considered to be able to answer these questions are what metrics the process manufacturer wants to be able to track and what they want to accomplish relative to system-enabled production scheduling.

Regarding the question about metrics, it is very common for companies to want to be able to measure and analyze a variety of things.  What is my throughput rate?  How much product is scrapped during production?  What is the yield of various ingredients going into each product?  Do we consistently have to add additional ingredients to the production of some products so they ultimately meet a customer’s specifications when completed?

The only way to be able to analyze and track these metrics is to measure and record data during the production process.  It is often comical to have discussions with potential new clients who want to be able to analyze and track key data – such as lot traceability – who in the same breath argue that they can’t possibly take the time in their operations to record such data.  It’s as if they believe a new process manufacturing system will somehow discern this information without anyone or anything recording the data.  Again, to be able to analyze and track data from a production process requires that data to be measured and recorded – either by human intervention via a keyboard, touch screen, or scanning process or directly from a production manufacturing machine via a data interface.

As for production scheduling, every process manufacturer’s business has certain idiosyncrasies or business rules by which it lives.  First, a given product must go through a series of steps or processes to be produced.  Similarly, each work center in a given production facility has a maximum production capacity or throughput rate.  Next, the amount of time to setup (the preparation time required for a given process step), run time (the actual time to perform the production of a given quantity of a product), and queue time (the amount of time a product must be delayed for cooling or other purposes before it is permitted to move to the next step in the process) needs to be known and documented for each product at each step in the process.

At a deeper level, one must know what products can be run together in a sequence (called scheduling groups) in a given work center so adverse results aren’t produced by running two products through the same work center in succession, and what scheduling groups should be run in what sequences through various work centers to minimize setup time, thus yielding a higher total throughput.  And finally, what classes of products cannot be run simultaneously on two adjacent production work centers as there will be a reaction between the two products causing resulting quality issues.

While there are a number of other details beyond the ones documented above, these items are intended to help depict the process necessary to create a series of business rules required to enable the creation of a system-generated production schedule that can be used by a process manufacturer for the scheduling of their production facilities.

By asking themselves what metrics do I want to be able to track and analyze, and to what extent do I want to be able to perform system-enabled production scheduling, process manufacturers will help define the scope and ultimate success of their implementations of strong process manufacturing systems like Enterprise 21.


Recent HVP Recall: How Food ERP Software Can Help with the HVP Recall and other Food Recalls

Thursday, March 18th, 2010 by Alex Smith

Food products containing HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein), an ingredient used in the manufacture of a number of processed foods, such as soups, hot dogs, and frozen dinners, have recently been recalled by the FDA due to salmonella contamination in one company’s products containing HVP. The HVP recall is yet another recent event that demonstrates how food processing software solutions with integrated food traceability software functionality can help both food processors and ingredient suppliers in the event of a product recall.

For food manufacturers who produce finished goods containing HVP, a food processing software solution with forward and backward lot tracking and traceability features can track the lot numbers of HVP received into inventory, the suppliers who provided the HVP, when the HVP was received into inventory, the HVP lot numbers consumed in manufacturing, all of the finished goods (and the associated finished good lot numbers) that were produced with a particular lot of the HVP ingredient, and all of the food processor’s customers who were shipped a finished good that contained a particular lot of HVP. In the event of a product recall, such as the current HVP recall, a food processor would simply use the organization’s ERP software system to identify all of its finished goods that were produced with a contaminated ingredient lot and all of its customers who received finished goods that were produced with a contaminated lot. For example, if a food processor received HVP with lots 123 and 456 from Supplier A and lots 789 and 012 from Supplier B, and Supplier A were to initiate a recall for HVP lot 123, the food processor would, more than likely, have to recall only its finished goods that were produced with HVP lot 123 from Supplier A rather than all of its finished goods that were produced with HVP. This can result in significant cost savings for the food processor should a recall need to be initiated.

Similarly, HVP ingredient suppliers can benefit from food ERP systems with integrated lot traceability features. Should an HVP ingredient supplier discover that one of its HVP lots was contaminated, the supplier would be able to identify all of its customers that received the contaminated HVP lot and notify them that a recall for that particular lot has been initiated. Again, assuming the ingredient supplier has the necessary lot traceability and quality control mechanisms in place, the supplier would only have to recall the contaminated lot of HVP, rather than all HVP lots that were shipped to customers over a period of time.

TGI Traceability Resources

For a demonstration of Enterprise 21’s forward and backward lot traceability features, please click here.

To download TGI’s Five Critical Software Requirements for Improved Product Safety and Traceability white paper from the TGI Resources Library, please click here.


ERP Software Evaluation: What Customers Want from ERP Software and What ERP Vendors Want

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010 by admin

Let’s examine what most customers want from new ERP software and what most ERP vendors want from an ERP selection and implementation.  While there are many layers to the topic of what customers want from new ERP software, the core answer of what businesses want from new ERP software is business results – business owners want to reduce costs, increase revenue, improve operational efficiencies, and make it easier for their customers to do business with them.

Beyond business results, companies also want the following from new ERP software:

  • Efficient software evaluation leading to a successful result – companies want to make excellent decisions in the most efficient manner possible (unfortunately, when businesses aren’t aware of how this process should work, it rapidly becomes very inefficient).
  • Efficient, successful implementation – companies want their new software to deliver the functionality they expect and for the implementation process to be delivered on-time, on-budget, and on-scope.
  • Good long-term customer/vendor relationship (“win-win”) – companies want to be able to work with their ERP vendor, have continuity of the software vendor’s business, continuity of relationships with personnel at that business, and be able to understand how best to utilize their software and to resolve issues as they arise.
  • Ability to grow with the solution – companies want a solution that will last them for an extended period of time, in many cases this is 10-15 years or more.  To be able to do this, the software must be flexible, robust, and have sufficient functionality to be able to be leveraged as the customer’s business continues to grow and evolve.

So, what do ERP vendors want?  Probably not surprising, they likewise want business results.

Additionally, ERP vendors also want the same things the customers want:

  • Efficient software evaluation leading to a successful result – while ERP vendors would love to bat 1.000 by winning every deal they touch, they know that’s not practical.  They want to compete in deals in an efficient manner where they can compete on a level playing field, can win, and it is worthwhile to win.
  • Efficient, successful implementation – vendors want their customers to receive the business benefits they desire from their software and want the implementations to be delivered on-time, on-budget, and on-scope.
  • Good long-term customer/vendor relationship (“win-win”) – vendors want to work with customers who are easy and fair to work with, have continuity of the customer’s business, continuity of relationships of personnel, and are able to understand and internalize how best to use the software they’ve acquired.
  • Ability to grow with the solution – vendors want customers to continue to leverage more and more of their software’s capabilities over time.

While said somewhat under the covers above, I’ll also explicitly state the following which ERP vendors also want:

  • Efficient sales cycles (winnable deals, no “tire kickers”) – again, vendors want to focus their time on evaluations where decisions will be made and customers will move forward.  There is no time to be spent with perennial prospects that go through the same evaluation once a year and never decide to move forward to do anything. Additionally, vendors don’t want to be in a position where a potential new customer has orally committed they are going to move forward with the vendor only to take an inordinate amount of time to make the final commitment and sign contracts.
  • Happy, referencable customers – there is nothing better from a vendor’s perspective than having happy customers who are willing and able to act as references on their behalf.

You’ll note that to this point in time I’ve mentioned these things apply to most customers and most ERP software vendors.  That is because there are still people, including those who set the cultural tones of their businesses, who believe the only way for them to “win” is if the other party with whom they’re working is to “lose.”  This “win-lose” mentality unfortunately still exists frequently in the customer/ERP vendor intersection.

Speaking from an ERP software vendor’s perspective, when it is determined that a potential customer is focused on establishing a “win-lose” relationship, we walk away from those deals as rapidly as possible.  Likewise, if potential customers determine that an ERP vendor is attempting to establish a “win-lose” relationship, those customers need to eliminate that vendor from further consideration as rapidly as possible.

The most prevalent situation in which ERP vendors attempt to establish a “win-lose” relationship is where the functional and cultural fit between the vendor and potential customer is low, and the vendor is so hungry for new sales (i.e., business results are far more important than any of the other desires) that they continue to press on to close the sale.  In doing so, the ERP vendor knows the implementation is going to hit the rocks, but their objective is to get the customer so deeply invested in the project (both time and money) that they cannot turn back.

Those who are unfamiliar with how to structure and perform an ERP Software Evaluation are most highly susceptible to be bitten by a vendor attempting a “win-lose” transaction.  In cases in which the company is unfamiliar and inexperienced in orchestrating a software evaluation on its own, those companies are highly encouraged to find and engage experienced, independent assistance to help with the evaluation.

Here again I want to stress that the most critical word in this statement is “independent.”  There are tons of individuals and businesses that tout themselves as independent.  However, they may be software resellers in a consultant’s clothing or have biases to specific products because they have established implementation practices built around those solutions.

If, for whatever reason, hiring an independent consultant is not feasible, companies are encouraged to adopt a structured, analytical process they can follow on their own.  To help companies establish and manage a structured, analytical evaluation process, TGI offers free software selection tools via our Web site for the do-it-yourself software evaluation.

In closing, through this point in time, I’ve had the opportunity to work with well over 2,000 end companies and roughly 200+ independent consultants in ERP software evaluations since Q4/2003. During that time, I’ve seen some firms and individuals who were very good at performing their roles in their respective evaluation processes, while others were at best ill-prepared. In the end, when participants in the process are unable to successfully play their positions – whether intentional or unintentional – nobody wins.

In an effort to draw upon these experiences to help the various stakeholders of the process learn from these activities, I wanted to summarize those situations into a single statement. In doing so, I was drawn to a famous quote by noted Swiss Psychiatrist and founder of analytical psychology, Carl G. Jung, who said, “The world will ask you who you are, and if you do not know, the world will tell you.”

Here is what I call “Litzenberg’s ERP Software Corollary to Carl Jung’s Statement”…

“The world will ask you what you want in new ERP software, and if you do not know, you’ll likely be sold something you don’t really want, can’t really use, will spend a lot of time, effort, and money trying to get it to do something it was never intended to do, and ultimately, won’t achieve the desired results.”


ERP for Small Businesses: Taking Advantage of all Your ERP System Has to Offer

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 by Alex Smith

Many small businesses with whom I speak, generally, want the same basic functional features in an ERP system. Fully-integrated order management, inventory control, warehouse management, purchasing, manufacturing, financials, CRM, and business intelligence are critical elements to any ERP selection project. That being said, many small businesses also question how they can take advantage of all the software functionality a small business ERP software solution has to offer given their relatively limited internal resources and their desire to complete ERP implementation in a timely, cost-effective manner. How, then, can small businesses take advantage of the complete set of software functionality inherent in their ERP system while still completing ERP implementation in a relatively short time frame?

When going through ERP implementation, a small business should work closely with its project manager in determining the project scope, which consists of those core functions, rules, and processes that the system must deliver by the project go-live date. At the conclusion of the implementation process, the business must be able to perform all necessary transactions in the ERP system to conduct business on a daily basis in a manner that is faster, easier, more cost-effective, etc. than prior to implementation. The small business, should, in turn, begin to realize a return on its ERP investment.

Following software implementation, the small business should continue to work closely with its project manager in developing a post-go-live plan to roll out additional software functionality, such as leveraging wireless warehouse management with RF and barcode scanning devices, paperless AP functionality to operate the AP department in a completely paperless environment, and/or using automated supply chain processes to continue to streamline the organization’s purchasing, inventory, order entry, and manufacturing departments. Again, this will allow the small business to continue to realize a return on its ERP investment in the months following ERP implementation while taking advantage of incremental software functionality that is already built into the ERP system.

As mentioned in a previous article by Dave Litzenberg, TGI conducts six-month ROI workshops with our customers. These workshops, which consist of the customer’s core team and a combination of TGI’s executive, project management, and sales teams, are designed to initiate plans for the customer to take advantage of additional functionality in Enterprise 21 so the customer can continue to realize an increasing return on its investment in TGI and Enterprise 21.

By closely working with the ERP vendor in the months and years following ERP software implementation, small businesses can develop post-go-live plans to take advantage of additional software functionality and continue to realize ROI without having to purchase additional software, modules, features, functions, or bolt-ons at a later date.


New ERP White Paper: Five Critical Software Requirements for Improved Product Safety and Traceability

Thursday, February 25th, 2010 by Alex Smith

We just released a new white paper in the TGI Resources Library, Five Critical Software Requirements for Improved Product Safety and Traceability. Given the rise of increasingly stringent FDA and USDA regulatory requirements, companies in the food, beverage, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries are being forced to change their internal business processes and leverage new technology to help them meet evolving industry compliance requirements for product safety and lot traceability. TGI’s Five Critical Software Requirements for Improved Product Safety and Traceability white paper details the necessary ERP software features and functions required for organizations to ensure the highest levels of product safety while simultaneously gaining real-time access to ingredient and finished good lot information. To download the white paper from the TGI Resources Library, please click here.


Leveraging Your ERP System for Continuous Business Improvement

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 by admin

So, you’re an owner of a small to mid-market manufacturing or distribution company. Your business is making a nice profit and you’re pleased with your personal earnings from the venture.  Even so, it’s not time to rest on your laurels and be satisfied with the status quo.

Every day, there’s someone out there who wants to eat your lunch. It could be an existing competitor who wants to get the upper hand, or it could be someone with a new idea to turn your industry upside down. Whatever the source of the threat, it is real, and it is coming.

Thus, it is imperative to make on-going adjustments in your business for purposes of continuous improvement unless you want to wake up some day to be the person wondering, “What hit me?”’

There are so many manufacturing and distribution businesses we walk into where “that’s just the way we do things around here” is a widely-used term. For example:

  • We always buy substantially more product than we need at the time because we get an additional discount from our supplier.
  • We always have three people sequentially check the same order and its pricing before it is billed so our customers always receive a clean invoice.
  • We couldn’t possibly require the receiving people to record lot numbers because it will hurt their productivity.
  • We allow our customer to buy a full container of product and pay us for it over a twelve month period, even though the customer sells all of the associated product in six months and is using us as their bank for interest-free money for the last six months.
  • We aren’t interested in going out and finding any new customers; we have more than enough business from the two big customers we’re already working with.

These are but five of the countless statements we’ve heard over the past several years about why businesses do quirky things – just because, “that’s the way it’s done here.”

Every day in business is a new opportunity to change old ways and to make improvements that can lead to improved operational efficiencies and customer service.  No one can afford waste in their businesses.  Customers are unwilling to pay a premium for your products to absorb your excess costs because you’re doing things the way they’ve always been done.

You’re encouraged to challenge the norm by setting up continuous improvement teams and rewarding your personnel to cut waste and streamline business processes.  And, assuming you have a high-quality manufacturing or distribution software system in place like Enterprise 21 in which data and metrics are available for ease of access and analysis through fully-integrated decision support and workbench technologies and are working with a software vendor like Technology Group International who is seen as a strategic partner to many customers bringing best-practice experience from working with a myriad of small to mid-market manufacturing and distribution customers, your ERP system can be a key enabler for your company’s continuous improvement efforts.

Technology Group International is such a strong believer in continuous improvement that we perform return on investment (ROI) workshops with our customers some six to twelve months after their initial Go Live with TGI’s Enterprise 21 ERP software. During an ROI workshop, the customer reviews key business practices from across their enterprise and how they’re using Enterprise 21 in those situations.  While there are numerous recommendations as to how the manufacturer or distributor can take better advantage of the software they’ve already bought, some 3-5 key elements tend to emerge for improvement out of the workshop that can help the given manufacturer or distributor derive substantial incremental ROI with the software they’ve already installed.


Food Manufacturing Software: What Software Features Can Improve Product Traceability?

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010 by Alex Smith

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) recently submitted a report to the FDA that discusses various ways in which food manufacturing software solutions and other technology tools can aid food processors in achieving more comprehensive ingredient and finished good lot traceability. For food manufacturers engaging in an ERP selection project, there are two primary functional requirements an ERP solution must meet to provide the food processor with the ability to track ingredient and finished good lots accurately and efficiently.

First, an ERP manufacturing software solution must provide both forward and backward lot traceability functionality. The system must be able to track the lot numbers of all ingredients received into inventory, when these ingredients were received, when these ingredients (and their associated lot numbers) were used in manufacturing, the lot numbers of the finished goods that were produced with these ingredient lots, and which of the food processor’s customers were shipped a particular lot number for a finished good. Such functionality gives the organization complete visibility to a particular lot of ingredient from a supplier from receipt into inventory and consumption in manufacturing to finished good shipment to a customer on a specific customer order. In the event of a product recall, system users must be able to generate lot history reports from directly within the ERP system to provide to the FDA and any other regulatory agencies to aid in the recall process.

Click here to watch the Enterprise 21 lot traceability demo.

Secondly, the food manufacturing software solution must deliver a fully-integrated wireless warehouse management system with RF and barcode scanning capabilities. By selecting a manufacturing software solution that provides the organization with the functionality to deploy RF and barcode scanning devices for use in inventory, manufacturing, and shipping operations, food processors can see improvements in ingredient and finished good lot data accuracy. Using such technology, lot codes can be generated automatically and barcodes applied for receipt of ingredients into inventory, finished goods produced and placed into inventory, and finished goods shipped to customers. An employee in the shipping and receiving or manufacturing department would simply scan the barcode and enter the quantity received, produced, or shipped – the system would automatically identify the lot number(s) for the items and store the data, reducing the likelihood of inaccurate ingredient or finished good lot information. As a side benefit, food processors can achieve improvements in overall warehouse productivity as a result of more streamlined picking operations and faster data entry with the use of RF and barcode scanning devices.

By selecting a manufacturing software system with fully-integrated forward and backward lot traceability and wireless warehouse management technology, food processors can strengthen their overall level of ingredient and finished good lot traceability while simultaneously improving ingredient and finished good lot data accuracy.