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8 key criteria for choosing an ERP-System for the food industry

The ERP system is the nervous system of a company. The advancing digitization adds to the importance of the ERP in the future. Businesses in the food & beverages sector should consider the most important criteria for the selection of an ERP system. By implementing over 1,200 systems in the food & beverages industry we have learned which criteria really matter.

1. An ERP system that is specifically designed for the industry

 If the software has been created for food industries, the implementation will be more successful. Manufacturers of bread & bakery products face different challenges than dairy producers. Meat is different from fruit, and delicatessen makers have other requirements than manufacturers of convenience foods. Specialized ERP systems for the food & beverages industries have incorporated the experiences from other businesses, and best practices are in place. Decision makers can therefore be sure of a smooth ERP introduction. What is even more important, introducing the ERP system also enhances your processes. A good example for this is traceability. An ERP system that is suitable for the food industry incorporates all traceability requirements. The traceability solution implemented at Wolf demonstrates how this works in the field.

2. Functional scope of the ERP system

As a central tool for business management, it is vital that the ERP system cover many areas and provides a wide range of functions. Otherwise, stand-alone solutions outside of the ERP system have to be supplemented permanently, resulting in countless interfaces and double master data management. Further development of IT and processes will require more effort, too. A good example here is Naabtaler Milchwerke. The medium-size dairy business counts on an IT strategy of 100 percent integration - from asset accounting to time management, and from lab integration to maintenance: ERP in use at Naabtaler Milchwerke.

3. Extensibility of the ERP software

 Requirements for the enterprise are constantly changing. The ERP system can be extended in a flexible and modular manner - without adding to the stand-alone solutions. Rischart´s Backhaus, for example, has gradually extended its ERP system and integrated new packaging lines and cash registers.

4. International usability of the industry-specific software

Currently international usability is increasingly important. This also applies more and more for medium-size businesses with growth potential. Can the ERP system be used worldwide? Is it available in many languages? Are consultant teams in place on other continents? This is a big plus for a globally available ERP in terms of being future-proof.


5. Stability & releasability of the software

High availability and easy updates of the ERP system are absolute must-haves. You can further relieve your IT if your ERP system can be outsourced easily and economically to the cloud. This saves valuable IT resources. Cutting investments in IT frees up resources for optimization. With a web-based business software, you can also establish a network of various production, logistics and trading facilities within a short period of time. For example, Lutz Fleischwaren GmbH has eliminated all of its stand-alone solutions within just six months’ time, replacing them with a central could solution for 15 locations.

6. ERP with MES

 The higher the level of integration of production in the ERP, the better. A FACTORY ERP links the two, offering the benefits of both ERP and MES. Of course, integrated MES is not an issue for holding companies and service companies. But even more so for production facilities. For more information about FACTORY ERP, please refer to: CSB FACTORY ERP

7. Automation support from the ERP

Even outside production, automation eliminates the need for manual data input and process control while controlling and thus increasing the performance of the processes in the ERP system. This is why the ERP system should also support the automation of your intralogistics - in particular with regard to the demands for freshness in the food industry. Automating intralogistics not only saves costs, but it also establishes the basis for Industry 4.0 and the Smart Food Factory. For example, at the Dutch company Promessa: By using a tailor-made logistics solution as well as robot technology in the warehouse, the company doubled its performance - at a delivery performance of over 99 percent. Intralogistics solution at Promessa

8. Industry 4.0 ready

The degree of automation will continue to grow with the Internet of Things, and so will the amount of data to be processed. According to the experts, in the future the entire food & beverage supply chain will be much more interconnected than today so that for example consumer data is available to producers in real time for their production planning. The Smart FOOD Factory starts with a suitable ERP system designed for this aim.

In our study, we have compiled detailed information and best practice tips for the selection of ERP systems in the food and beverage industry. You can download it free of charge: ERP Selection Study

For further information about the ERP system by CSB, please refer to Industry-specific software for the food & beverage sector

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