The experts are moving away from Software Answers to a new home

After several years of relaying advice to manufacturers and distributors from the Microsoft Dynamics NAV & Dynamics 365/CRM experts at Technology Management… the end is here.

Usually, the definitive end of a platform represents some form of closure, disaster or lack of content. However, we’re delighted to announce that we are transitioning the Software Answers blog to our brand-new Technology Management website.

What will you do with the content here?

We will be moving some of our very best content onto our new website. We have selected a two-part series, that detail ‘the challenges of Zoning and Cross-docking’ and ‘the demands for Traceability & Shelf-life’ in the Food and Beverage Industry.

For those of you with a vested interest in the Consumer Goods Industry, we are transferring a handful of our ‘8 reasons to change your business systems in the Consumer Goods sector’ across.

You may know that we’ve developed a range of Dynamics Additions to enhance your Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP business solution without the need for costly ground-up development. You will be able to read all about our newest Dynamics Addition: Sales Documents, which will help you to ‘streamline your sales process by managing Cases in one system.’

What can I expect on the new blog?

We will be relaying to you the latest updates on the benefits that new Dynamics Additions can provide your business. You can anticipate content specifically targeted to address software issues commonly faced in the: Building Materials, Consumer Goods, Distribution, Food & Beverage and Manufacturing industries.

Additionally, we will be producing content from a range of Dynamics NAV & Dynamics 365/CRM experts from Technology Management. Within the company, there are a host of people that specialise in different industries and areas. Each person will be able to add a varied perspective of how Dynamics NAV or Dynamics 365/CRM impacts their role.

Although these are the last words ever to be written on this platform, they represent an exciting new chapter that we hope you will form a vital part of. We aim to cater our blog to your preference, so we will hopefully see you on the other side!

Address the demands for Traceability & Shelf-life in the Food & Beverage Industry

In food warehouses, it’s essential to move quickly, or things can start to go bad… literally. Challenges like Zoning and Cross-docking (that we covered in part 1 of this blog series) added to the need for farm-to-fork traceability and close management of shelf lives only adds to the already demanding requirements of warehousing and distribution in today’s food industry.

Challenge 3: Traceability

Full traceability is key from a food safety perspective. In the event of a recall, companies need to be able to quickly locate what products are contaminated and where they were sent. Then you also need to quickly identify the various ingredients to determine how/where the contamination occurred – and stop it in its tracks.

We recognise you often have to deal with various different quality systems, including when and how products leave the warehouse, often through third party logistics (3PL) companies. If this process isn’t integrated with your business systems, checks can be missed and traceability for items once they leave the warehouse becomes an uphill battle and in event of an emergency it causes additional, unnecessary downtime and panic.

Food manufacturers produce in high volume and have rapid inventory turnover, making it virtually impossible to track information by paper. Traditionally, businesses have kept paper invoices and shipping documents that could take days or weeks to sort through during a recall. However, in today’s just-in-time supply chain, a company is expected to take action within hours when food safety is at stake.

With a food industry ERP system in place, information about raw ingredients and finished products is collected into a single database. In the event of a recall you will be able to react more effectively and keep any damage to a minimum.

Simply put, manual data entry from paper usually results in error rates that are too high for reliable traceability. Automated data collection tools are designed to help employees quickly capture the data needed. They walk employees through each step of the process for in-house materials transfers, intra-plant transfers, putting away finished products, picking products for shipment and creating shipments.

Using wireless and mobile devices/barcode scanning devices in the warehouse, also means information about lot numbers is captured in seconds and transferred automatically to your core ERP solution.

In an industry plagued with product recalls, a food production firm needs to be able to demonstrate that it can track its product and the ingredients therein both upstream and downstream – from raw ingredients to the finished goods and vice versa. To do this, data from every point in the supply chain must be recorded to provide an audit trail. This is why many food and beverage firms choose to implement specialist ERP system, like Dynamics Food, to provide a centralised system to manage all this data.

Challenge 4: Shelf-life

In the supply of perishable food products, large losses can be incurred between farm and fork if shelf life is not correctly tracked.

Further complications are added with different retailers accepting different minimum number of days remaining until the “display by” or “use by” date.

Huge value can be added by optimising your warehouse management, by taking into account the remaining shelf life of a product, and matching it to the requirements of the subsequent part of the handling chain.

With system-directed picks/put-aways from ERP, supported with integrated handheld devices, you can ensure the products with the earliest used-by dates are selected for dispatch to the right retailers to prevent spoiled stock. The routing for multiple picks can also be optimised – saving time and reducing wear and tear on your equipment and your teams!

And it’s not just about how much space you have in the warehouse that can make shelf-life difficult to manage; it’s about optimising the space to avoid unnecessary labour. Keeping fast-moving and short use-by inventory near the front of the facility so truck-lift drivers aren’t constantly traveling to the farthest reaches of the warehouse is just one solution that can help radically optimise the warehouse.

Visibility and accuracy mean less work, and more profit.

Information is power, so having a ERP/business software solution specifically developed for the needs of food processors and distributors is fundamental to maximising warehouse efficiency, minimising stock and boosting order and shipment accuracy.

Having ERP in place will help you manage every step of the manufacturing and supply process: from order processing to ingredients/goods in through to final delivery to store/RDC (regional delivery centre).

Much like consumers who purchase food several times a week to provision themselves for meals that they eat several times a day, food and beverage manufacturers must maintain and turn over their inventory more quickly and frequently than other warehouses.

Be prepared to fulfil demands quickly and easily from the start of your manufacturing process right through to goods out with integrated ERP for the food industry such as Dynamics Food.

Attend our complimentary briefing: Boost performance with a single business software solution with Dynamics Food on either Tuesday 20th March from 10:00am-12:30pm in Wolverhampton, or alternatively Wednesday 9th May from 10:00am-12:30pm at Microsoft London.

Tackle the challenges of Zoning and Cross-docking in the Food & Beverage Industry

In food warehouses, it’s essential to move quickly, or things can start to go bad… literally.

Getting product through the supply chain accurately and safely is crucial – or you will be haemorrhaging cash before products even leave the warehouse.

It’s more important than ever before to have sophisticated warehouse management in place to help regulate food safety, prevent cross-contamination and to manage shelf life and traceability.

In this two part blog series, we wanted to examine how companies can go the extra mile in Warehouse Management in the Food & Beverage Industry. If you want to learn more about the demands of Traceability and Shelf-life in the Food & Beverage sector make sure that you read Part 2 of our blog series. 

An end-to-end ERP business application, like Dynamics Food, can help manage every step products take through the warehouse and alleviate the many issues food manufacturers face in the warehouse…

Challenge 1: Zoning

Allergens and non-allergens, and even “smelly” products like fish and cheese, need to be kept apart to prevent cross-contamination.

This isn’t always the easiest thing to plan for in a warehouse, especially for food manufacturers where you could be storing a host of different produce at any one time.

Therefore, your warehouse needs to implement strict zones and procedures to control allergens in your storage facilities and make it easy for your team to stock the warehouse. Optimised bays, clear labelling and directed put-away sequences, automatically generated from your ERP system and provided directly to handheld devices, means products can be scanned and put-away quickly and safely.

Challenge 2: Cross-docking

If you are a food distributor, importer or exporter, you may receive perishable goods into the warehouse which need to be shipped, or part-shipped, straight back out of the door to retailers.

On one hand, this is great as it means that you don’t have to put away products to be picked again later, the customer will get the produce faster and there is minimal requirement for warehouse space.

However, this is does mean that you need to have “look ahead windows” i.e. visibility of what products, and when, need to be shipped back out again so you can control where products land in the warehouse to allow fast quality checks and ensure the least possible manual intervention.

An ERP system designed for the food industry can help you co-ordinate all the warehouse movements for inbound products from different vendors into a mixed pallet, which can then be delivered to the customer once the final item is received – and all in the most efficient way possible!

Attend our complimentary briefing: Boost performance with a single business software solution with Dynamics Food on either Tuesday 20th March from 10:00am-12:30pm in Wolverhampton, or alternatively Wednesday 9th May from 10:00am-12:30pm at Microsoft London.