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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.