What companies need to know about food processing ERP systems

Companies should look for the food enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that provides the best process visibility.


The US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requires food companies to implement the appropriate processes to not only manage recalls, but also to implement tools that support an effective food safety plan.

Image courtesy: Bob Vavra, CFE MediaElements of an effective food safety plan

Elements of an effective food safety plan include verification that preventative controls are up-to-date, and that necessary records are being kept throughout the processing operation. Other requirements that can be addressed with food processing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems include establishing a mechanism to track:

  • Product implicated
  • Purchase location
  • Product identifying code
  • Other key data.

Food processing ERP software

When our team partners with companies for a food processing ERP project, it's evident that food industry-specific enterprise systems can help make a difference in complying with FSMA mandates, including managing a recall or alert.

As processors face more complex mandates, including the global food safety initiative, hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) and other regulations, those saddled with outdated ERP or manual methods will find it difficult to meet mandates.

As an example, FSMA record keeping and lot-tracking requirements mandate that processors rapidly identify and track every single ingredient in their products, from receipt through shipment, to the exact customer location.

A company can't afford bottlenecks or manual processes in this area. The ERP system should help a company quickly respond to recalls, notifying customers, vendors, and government agencies in the least amount of time as possible.

In terms of meeting HACCP requirements with food processing ERP, the food safety plan and all related documents must be made available to FDA during inspections. As part of this, the ERP system can help document:

  • Sanitation procedures
  • A recall plan
  • A food allergen control program
  • Supplier verification activities
  • Environmental sampling testing.

Features and functions for food processing ERP

Food and beverage manufacturers evaluating ERP need to gain a high level of traceability to better manage their overall operations.

Companies should look for the food ERP system that provides the best process visibility - which will enable them to meet their stringent requirements and avoid delays during product recalls.

In addition to integrated financials, supply chain, quality, and other areas, specific features to look for include:

  • Electronic document management
  • Recall management
  • Bill of materials (BOM) or formulas
  • Traceability audit trails
  • Recipe management.

The ability to manage production quality is critical to food and beverage manufacturers. Companies are wise to evaluate systems offering detailed historical information related to supply chain, production, inspection, genealogy and usage.

Food processors must have an ERP system that supports a comprehensive food safety management plan.

George Trudell, Ultra Consultants. This article originally appeared on Ultra Consultants' website. Ultra Consultants is a CFE content partner. Edited by Hannah Cox, content specialist, CFE Media, hcox@cfemedia.com.

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