Why the food industry needs to use ERP

food industry

Blog Written By | ERPFocus

Selecting a food industry ERP – what to bear in mind

Food industry manufacturers need ERP. What factors are important that might not apply to another business also in the ERP market?


Regardless of the food industry sector, all need outstanding traceability in both directions, from the supplier to the customer and back from the customer to the supplier. This requirement comes from government and industry regulation and from concern related to consumers who have become ill from eating a wide variety of food. No one wants to be the cause of illness or death and if unfortunate occurs, you’ll need to be able to document the whole path and quickly determine where the problem began and fix it.


Not the relationship kind, but use by and expiration dates. Most products in the food industry must be consumed within a short period of time. Food ERP systems must be able to track dates from production, shipment, or even from the harvest. Food must be processed and shipped within a time limit. Then it must be delivered to a grocer so that business has time to stock it and sell it within the product’s life.

Food industry segment

The food industry has many different segments. A meat cutting operation has only a little similarity with a fruit cannery. A processor that mixes peanut butter uses different methods than another business that packages fresh vegetables for salads. Find an ERP system that can demonstrate proven value to other businesses in your segment. Develop your own list of requirements that meet the specific needs your business has. Think on what requirements another business in the food industry might have. You’ll recognize when a potential vendor doesn’t understand your segment.

Coproducts and byproducts

These are common in many food industries and less common in many other industries. So, a good food industry ERP system should recognize both and include both as inventory related to the basic food business that can be used. A byproduct of food might be used as animal feed rather than treating it as waste. Distillers grain is a coproduct of corn and a source of additional revenue. Using an ERP developed with your industry in mind can open up by and coproducts for your business you have not yet been able to tap into. Someone might buy the stuff you have been paying for and hauling as waste.

Foodware 365 is a food & beverage-specific ERP system that is fully integrated with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. This fully loaded system is the perfect match for your food industry business, ensuring all your needs and challenges are taken care of and will grow with you over time. Contact allonline365 on  info@allonline365.com or  +27 (21) 205 3650 to speak to one of our Foodware 365 consultants.


Tapping into the Potential of IoT in the Food Cold Chain


A digital transformation is currently underway in the food supply chain. By leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected technologies, business leaders are beginning to achieve much tighter integration among stakeholders along every step of the food’s journey to consumers.

Historically, these efforts have been largely disconnected, with limited information exchanged at each point of transfer from one link in the supply chain to the next. Various types of recordkeeping have always been required, but methods were primarily manual and cumbersome. Now, with IoT-enabled connectivity capable of gathering real-time data virtually from farm to fork, a framework is available to help not only automate these tasks but also to pass along real value for both businesses and consumers. Not simply technology for technology’s sake, IoT can address some of the most challenging problems plaguing the food cold chain: food waste and food safety.

To begin to understand this potential, it helps to take a step back and consider what’s involved in bringing food to our tables. The process typically starts with production at a farm, proceeds to a processing plant, enters the transportation and logistics stream, arrives at a storage or distribution facility, and finally gets delivered to retailers. When you stop and think about the many opportunities for errors along the way – such as time in transport, temperatures, and humidity – it’s easy to see how quickly and easily food quality can be impacted.

We’re frequently reminded how problems in the food supply chain or preparation process can potentially lead to food safety issues for consumers; these events are detrimental to both public health and the reputations of the companies providing the damaged food. But too often, the problem of food waste is overlooked and merely considered a natural consequence of the food supply chain. A fully connected and integrated cold chain has the potential to change that.

Mitigating the cost of food waste

According to a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), 1.6 billion tons of food – the financial equivalent of $1.2 trillion – are wasted each year. The sum of this loss essentially reduces total global food production by one-third. It’s a staggering amount that demonstrates the true extent of the problem, which, if left unchecked, could reach costs of $1.5 trillion by 2030.

The study looked at the potential for loss at every stage of the food supply chain, including production, handling and storage, processing and packaging, distribution and retail, and consumption. With the exception of consumption, IoT connectivity holds the potential to help combat the food waste crisis at every stage of the food supply chain.

Let’s look at one area that’s particularly problematic: fresh produce. The BCG study reports that among the many perishable food categories affected, fruits and vegetables represent the highest percentage of food waste, with 46 percent of total output lost each year. By employing IoT sensors to provide real-time tracking, monitoring, and analytics of food conditions, producers cab greatly extend perishable shelf life and improve the quality of fresh produce.

And it all starts from the moment of harvest.

The time of day in which produce is harvested can have tremendous impacts on how it should be processed, packaged and transported. For example, when strawberries are picked in the hotter afternoon temperatures, they’re more likely to respirate. IoT sensors can determine the fruit’s internal temperatures,  and this data feeds the analytics that helps a producer make critical decisions, such as selecting a packaging option with adequate ventilation and determining the recommended temperature and humidity conditions for the shipping container.

During transport, additional sensors can track the route location of shipping containers in real-time, continually monitoring produce conditions and making informed decisions about the delivery of perishable goods. For example, a shipment that was picked in the morning will likely not respirate as much and will stay fresher longer. Monitoring this information helps allow the producer to deliver these shipments to more distant locations without compromising food freshness. If these shipments are first routed to a distribution facility, the providers will be prepared to bring these items into inventory in ideal conditions to preserve their longevity.

Bottom line boost

This is just one example of where IoT can connect historically disconnected supply chain providers to make real differences in food quality, freshness, and longevity. And according to the aforementioned BCG study, these technologies have already been identified as one of the means to combat food waste.


Resource Credit | Progressive Grocer 

AR and VR in the food industry

ar and vr

Following the release of Microsoft’s HoloLens 2, it’s not surprising that various industries are testing the waters at incorporating this new technology in their day to day tasks. The introduction of the HoloLens 2 combines an untethered device with apps and solutions that help people across your business learn, communicate, and collaborate more effectively. It’s the culmination of breakthroughs in hardware design, artificial intelligence (AI), and mixed reality development. In this post, we will be looking at how Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are influencing the food processing and manufacturing industry.

How AR and VR will reshape the food industry

As AR and VR are still costly solutions to implement in most businesses, the uptake is on a slow incline. But more and more food and beverage businesses are seeing the value in investing time and resources into this addition. According to Techcrunch there are three focus areas that have seen the best results when adopting AR and VR development – human resources, customer experiences, and food products.

Methodize employee training

We all know the cost, time and energy that goes into training employees. Developing training materials can be a mammoth task, and they are needed for various levels of training, area, store, etc which can be a nightmare for human resources and training managers. Virtual reality allows employees to interact with their work environments safely and provides a detailed visual representation for them to physically and mentally learn the tasks required of them. With AR and VR employees can learn at their own pace, upskill themselves remotely, and have side-by-side training and execution by layering additional learning materials on top of an employee’s direct view. Imagine being able to disassemble and reassemble a machine without being on-site? Maintenance and repair just became a whole lot easier.

Enhancing customer experience

“Experiential marketing” has changed the purpose and construction of food and hospitality-driven events. With consumers always wanting more, businesses need to make sure to stay on top of the experiences they provide to customers. Customers want to immerse themselves in their eating and drinking experience and with AR and VR they can do that. Imagine having a meal and learning about the best combinations of beverages to compliment the food by visual means?

Immerse yourself in products

AR and VR can help bridge the gap between consumer, product and product content. Some companies have begun to use AR to provide additional information, visual stimulus, and interaction on top of specific items, allowing them to combine the digital world with the physical one. Businesses can educate consumers about nutritional information and product composition or even help bland healthy food seem more appealing.

Foodware 365 tests out the HoloLens in the food industry

As AR and VR are still being tested on where the technology can assist the food industry, Foodware 365 decided to put the HoloLens to the test and see what the outcome would be. Dennis van Leeuwen decided to run a hygiene inspection test.

“During the inspection, the HoloLens can guide the task performer through the task by showing the points of interest of the hygiene inspections in their field view,” he said. “The Hololens can then indicate where to look and point out the critical points of the inspection. While looking at an inspection point, the HoloLens is able to automatically make videos or photos and store them directly in a back-end database. This will increase the traceability of the hygiene inspection – which is an important factor in the food industry,” Leeuwen wrote.

With the costs of AR and VR devices on the decrease, soon more businesses will be able to tap into their business intelligence solutions more effectively, ultimately saving them time and money. If you are looking for a business intelligence solution for your food and beverage business contact us to find out more about how it can assist your current and future business needs. Email us on  info@allonline365.com or call  +27 (21) 205 3650 to speak to a consultant.


Resource Credit | Techcrunch, Foodware 365, Microsoft

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