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Aptean Food & Beverage ERP Case Study: Madrona Specialty Foods

Aptean Food & Beverage ERP Case Study: Madrona Specialty Foods

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Aptean Food & Beverage ERP Case Study: Madrona Specialty Foods

Mar 12, 2021

Founded in 1989 as a small deli serving traditional Italian bread throughout Seattle, Madrona Specialty Foods has become a leading producer of artisanal crackers and cookies.

Today, Madrona’s operations have grown to support two production plants and a corporate headquarters. The company is still family-run and has managed to maintain its small-company values. Its commitment to its employees and to creating delicious, artisan-crafted products has been key to its success and its plans for future growth.

The Challenge

Before partnering with Aptean, Madrona Specialty Foods used separate accounting and manufacturing systems to run its business. Because these tools operated independently of each other, the systems had to push and pull data to meet regulatory requirements. Some of the crucial food manufacturing functionalities that Madrona required, like lot coding, had to be traced and reviewed outside the software, resulting in a lack of end-to-end visibility.

The key challenges Madrona Specialty Foods was facing were:

  • Multiple independent platforms for business processes and data

  • Lack of cohesion between departments

Another issue Madrona was experiencing was the lack of food-specific functionality in its existing systems. Processes like lot coding, expiration date management and quality control were extremely manual or required pulling multiple reports from different systems.

Realizing it couldn’t maintain its growth on its current platforms, Madrona began searching for a single enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that included the food-specific functionality it required to manage its operations.

“We wanted a system that would be a single source of information for us. That way, we wouldn’t have to go through three systems to try to figure out how to get the data we needed - we wanted one single solution.

Chris PerrottSupply Chain DirectorMadrona Specialty Foods

The Solution

Madrona chose Aptean’s food ERP because of its capability to connect departments, data and processes. Aptean Food & Beverage ERP software was implemented in only six months, and Madrona’s go-live success stemmed from the team’s decision to focus on implementing Aptean’s finance, quality, warehouse, sales and manufacturing features first.

“Because of the platform Aptean Food & Beverage ERP is built on, the system allows you to handle both finance and manufacturing. Having these core features in place helps us understand the relationship between these departments and address cross-functional issues,” says Chris Perrott, Madrona Specialty Foods’ Supply Chain Director.

“What the system does really well,” says Perrott, “is track changes, which was always an issue for us. Now our team can go in and make the necessary corrections to lot codes, and the system registers and transmits those changes throughout the entire system. Previously, we couldn’t do that. We had to run two or more reports to trace the changes made to the system.”

In addition, before implementing Aptean’s solution, Madrona had no clear insight into expiration date and shelf life tracking, which turned out to be a big issue for proper inventory management and KPI tracking. During the shipping process, each sales order had to have the ship date and the expiration date reviewed to ensure that the correct shelf life requirements were met for the customer.

Now, because that data lives in one system and is accessible to all departments, Madrona’s finance team has better visibility into the direct impact of manufacturing and KPI variances. The company’s warehouse team is also able to utilize the ERP system to manage expiry dates using the FEFO method on all orders directly through controls set up during customer creation.

“Aptean has helped us solve a number of data issues and has ultimately helped us move forward as an organization.” Chris Perrott, Supply Chain Director, Madrona

“Being able to look at our data in one location and know that it is accurate allows us to determine if we are on track with our costs, expenses and profitability, helping us make better decisions.

Chris PerrottSupply Chain DirectorMadrona Specialty Foods

The Results

With Aptean Food & Beverage ERP, Madrona Specialty Foods was able to achieve:

  • A six-month implementation with minimal disruption

  • Increased departmental transparency and connectivity

  • One integrated platform with all data in one location

In terms of its warehousing processes, Madrona has utilized Aptean’s Floor module, a device-based warehouse management feature, to receive inventory into its warehouse and directly into the system in real time, eliminating input errors and data inaccuracies. Perrott and his team are also able to separate out customer pickups from late-shipment reports (since the company accounts for pickups and shipments differently), ensuring a more accurate view into its warehouse lifecycle.

“It’s simply better with Aptean,” Perrott says of the improvements in Madrona’s lot code integrity. Unlike Madrona’s previous manufacturing system, Aptean Food & Beverage ERP automatically provides each item a lot code and tracks that code throughout the entire production process. “In our previous system, we had to hand-type all of these things,” says Perrott. “Whenever you key something in manually after the fact, there’s always a higher risk for error.”

With the use of Aptean’s Plant module, Madrona has improved its production scheduling and increased its consumption accuracy. The introduction of mobile handhelds on the production floor allows workers to see schedules in real time, record against the schedule, report on consumption and ensure better input accuracy and efficiency.

Moreover, with all the company’s data in Aptean Food & Beverage ERP, the team at Madrona can easily pull reports to evaluate the breakdown of sales by dimensions, which is extremely helpful to Madrona’s finance team. Employees can look at costs and balance sheets with actual manufacturing output numbers to get real insight into variances. These comparisons are crucial for Madrona’s standard costing practices.

Ready To Streamline Your Operations With Aptean Food and Beverage Software?

With so many challenges facing food and beverage manufacturers—from food safety and regulatory compliance to rising costs and supply chain disruption—ensuring your operational processes are optimized helps you improve agility and drive profitability when your competitors may flounder.

That’s why you need purpose-built food and beverage software to automate processes, provide accurate, real-time data and streamline end-to-end operations. Aptean’s food ERP system offers food-specific functionality as standard to help you:

Get in touch with our in-house food and beverage experts today to find out how Aptean can help you achieve all of these benefits and more. Or request a free demo of our proven food and beverage ERP solution to see this functionality in action.

Ready for tasty technological solutions?

With Aptean’s ERP for confectionery businesses, you’ll be ready to accomplish the goals you crave.

Chocolate Cake