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How Software for Food Manufacturers and Distributors Helps Businesses Confront the Challenges of Today

How Software for Food Manufacturers and Distributors Helps Businesses Confront the Challenges of Today

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How Software for Food Manufacturers and Distributors Helps Businesses Confront the Challenges of Today

Sep 6, 2022

Jack Payne
Two food facility workers use business software on a tablet.

Whether your food and beverage business specializes in the manufacture or distribution of products—or conducts both of these activities—current market conditions present a number of challenges. Between the rising cost of doing business and ongoing supply shortages to increasingly frequent supply chain disruptions, developments outside of your control can have a significant impact on your effectiveness.

And the hurdles to clear don’t stop there. Today’s consumers are as demanding as ever, expecting the brands they support to demonstrate serious commitment to sustainability while also producing items that align with their dietary needs and health goals. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies around the world are ramping up their requirements for traceability and food safety.

All these factors together might make it seem like your company is fighting an uphill battle to meet your efficiency and profitability goals. The good news is, you don’t have to go it alone—to maximize your chances of success, it’s best to call in the reinforcements by partnering with a solution provider that can equip your organization with the tools and features needed to navigate the modern landscape.

If you’re wondering how, exactly, a new system can alleviate the pressures you’re facing from external forces, we’re here to explain. Read on to learn how food software for distributors and manufacturers can help you mitigate and overcome the challenges of today’s industry.

Software for Food Manufacturers

The most important solution for food manufacturers is the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. These cross-functional, organization-wide platforms act as a “single source of truth” that keeps all employees of your company on the same page and facilitates confident, informed decision-making on the fly.

As the central, unified database for all departments, purpose-built food ERP software eliminates data siloes, facilitates collaboration and enhances visibility of critical information for key stakeholders across the full spectrum of roles and functions. An advanced, industry-specific solution like our own Aptean Food & Beverage ERP also comes with intelligently designed features to help where it matters the most.

  • Bidirectional traceability—The legal requirements for traceability in food and beverage supply chains are becoming more stringent, especially in the U.S., where the Proposed Rule for Food Traceability will include an expanded list of high-risk ingredients and enforce the collection of Key Data Elements (KDEs) and Critical Tracking Events (CTEs). The right food and beverage ERP will include advanced lot management features and the ability to deeply define lot profiles so you can track every product end-to-end from raw materials to end product.

  • Food safety—Closely related to the topic above, food safety is of utmost importance considering the $10 million average cost of a product recall and the potential of additional fines and penalties for non-compliance. A good ERP solution built for the food and beverage industry will come with features dedicated to allergen management, which is essential for protecting sensitive consumers, as well as automated alerts to help confirm that compliance and safety checks are always completed properly and on time.

  • Quality assurance—Today’s shoppers are discerning and demanding, expecting an excellent customer experience each and every time they purchase a food or beverage product. You need a way of ensuring your products are consistently of the highest quality using features like inspection statuses, periodic inventory spot checks, defined quality triggers and regulatory document tracking.

  • Inventory management—To ensure freshness of your products and get the most out of the raw materials you purchase, you need to record and track expiration dates for your perishable ingredients and goods. The inventory management tools that a well-designed ERP system can provide not only help facilitate a first-expiry, first-out (FEFO) picking order so that you can minimize waste and reinforce your sustainability efforts—but also monitor stock levels to balance supply and demand by automatically ordering replenishments when necessary.

These are just a few of the areas in which an ERP built for food and beverage businesses can help you address your major pain points and thrive despite the trying circumstances. Aptean Food & Beverage ERP also includes features to facilitate scenarios only encountered by food and beverage manufacturers—like the ability to use hierarchal pricing and discounting schemes beyond simple unit calculations, plus enhanced trade management tools to calculate rebates, royalties, billbacks and payables directly or via accruals.

Software for Food Distributors

Because food and beverage distributors deal with many of the same product-related challenges that manufacturers do, an ERP solution can be just as important for their operations—after all, traceability is vital at every step in the supply chain, food safety must be maintained at all times and inventory is something that every consumer goods business must track with precision.

When it comes to obstacles that are unique to distribution, though, the software you need is a transportation management system (TMS). Specifically, Aptean Routing & Scheduling Paragon Edition can help improve results on a number of fronts, which is all the more valuable in an era of constant change and persistent uncertainties.

  • Route optimization—Our software is designed to quickly create optimized routes for your drivers that minimize fuel consumption and maximize profits while meeting client expectations. You’re able to account for details like delivery quantities, customer addresses, time windows, vehicle fleet sizes and driver shifts for every route calculation. This flexibility is especially critical in this period of elevated gas prices and inflationary patterns.

  • Meet customer requirements—Food and beverage distributors often serve a wide range of customers, from small “mom-and-pop” restaurants to large retail outlets. Each has their own preferences and specifications in terms of what kind of trucks they can receive, what time of day they want their orders delivered and their preferred communication methods, so our system allows you to capture all that information and then verify that expectations are met via user-defined feasibility checks (our “rules wizard”).

  • Stay on schedule—Prevent bottlenecks and strains in your supply chain by proactively identifying changing conditions and automatically re-allocating loads among your fleet vehicles. Using our Dynamic Tripping module, you can ensure drivers who are late won’t completely upset your schedule by leveraging the solution’s advanced algorithms to flexibly accommodate any setbacks that may arise.

What’s more, the beneficial features of our route optimization software don’t stop there. For example, we developed our route planning technology to integrate with your telematics and GPS systems to collect data on driver behaviors—such as harsh acceleration and braking—and also quickly identify deviations from planned routes, so that managers can address issues and a continuous improvement plan can be put in place.

Why Aptean Is the Name to Trust for Software

It’s not a particularly easy time to be a food manufacturer or distributor, but we know you’re dedicated and determined to prevail and realize the goals of your company. Aptean has your back with a full suite of business systems tailored to the food and beverage industry, and we hope you’ll consider us as your partner as you engage in the critically important initiative of digital transformation.

We’re proud to act as a guide during the implementation phase and beyond for all of our clients, providing best practices advice and using our expertise to help users get the most out of the systems we offer. Our decades of collective experience in the food and beverage space have helped us to understand the unique challenges that you face, so we “speak your language” and are ready to assist how we can so that you can tackle even the toughest tasks.

Consider also that Aptean Food & Beverage ERP was recently recognized with Frost and Sullivan’s 2022 Product Leadership Award in North American ERP Software for the Food Industry—further proof that our systems are a cut above in terms of quality and innovation. Plus, we built our industry-specific technology on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central platform, which lends the interface a sense of familiarity and assures an excellent user experience.

Now, if you’re ready to hear more about our purpose-built software for food manufacturers and distributors, including Aptean Food & Beverage ERP, Aptean Routing & Scheduling and more, reach out to us today. You can also request a personalized demo.

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