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How Food Production Planning Software Drives Consistent Success on 3 Key Fronts

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How Food Production Planning Software Drives Consistent Success on 3 Key Fronts

Oct 12, 2022

Jack Payne
Food factory workers consult the via a tablet.

Just as you wouldn’t set out on a road trip without knowing where you’re going and what it will take to get there, you wouldn’t start a day at your food manufacturing facility without a solid plan for the work ahead of you. After all, it takes deliberate forethought and application of best practice knowledge to effectively reduce changeover time, minimize wasted materials and achieve production targets.

As a food and beverage industry professional, you know that you can use both your own experience as well as historical data to inform the creation of your production plans. Still, there are so many factors to account for—from staffing needs and inventory management to quality control and lot traceability—that even the most qualified of individuals can use some assistance in the matter.

That’s where purpose-built business systems, like enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms, come into the picture. By leveraging technology designed to facilitate the production planning process, you can create more comprehensive strategies and realistic goals, keeping your daily operations moving along in a smooth and streamlined fashion while contributing to your company’s mission.

Let’s take a closer look at the features that food production planning software offers across three key fronts and how they can improve efficiency and overall outcomes for your business. We’ll also provide some details on the industry-specific technologies we’ve implemented in our product and explain why Aptean should be at the top of your list of solution providers to consider for your digital transformation needs.

1. Master Production Schedule Planning

As implied by the name, your master production schedule captures the critical components of your plan at a high level and accounts for all resource requirements, including raw ingredients, personnel and equipment. That means it’s vital that you get it right, as all operational areas are affected by it and the specifics for the tasks to be carried out will flow from it.

Solid food production planning software will allow you to optimize the use of your production resources by minimizing both costs and slack time via a strong production scheduling setup. A food production ERP like Aptean Food & Beverage ERP can:

  • Facilitate the calculation of capacity load-per-time period

  • Track overlap and slack times for improvement

  • Offer you the ability to add downtime for maintenance or overtime in periods of high demand

Our system also provides your production planning team with the information they need to balance supply and demand and account for made-to-order items. Furthermore, it will automatically deploy alerts to stakeholders when certain decisions will upset the supply/demand balance so that they remain in-the-know and can take corrective action if necessary.

With real-time insight into resource availability, the option to reserve inventory for planned orders and a simplified production order creation process, Aptean Food & Beverage ERP really shines and puts all the tools necessary for crafting your master production schedule at your fingertips.

2. Batch Management

There are numerous elements that must be considered with each of your production runs, which are most commonly broken down into batches in food and beverage manufacturing operations. This process—batch management—concerns the proper and timely use of raw materials, which helps to ensure your finished goods are entirely safe to consume and will delight customers.

Food production planning software can help you create orders quickly using vendor item catalogues while minimizing the chances that human error will cause an issue. These systems also let you define different production scenarios and assign primary or backup status to each, which can assist your company in overcoming shortages and/or surpluses of supplies.

Furthermore, features like license plating and serial shipping container code (SSCC) tracking give you the ability to easily trace lots across the floor and when they’re in transit from vendors or to customers. By standardizing and digitizing this critical data, a food production ERP eliminates tedious manual data entry while allowing for mixed lots with a single license plate.

Aptean Food & Beverage ERP lets you define expiration timeframes and deploys proactive warnings when products are approaching the end of their range of viability so that you can put them to use before they spoil. Our solution also offers an integrated product specification database to automatically generate bills of materials (BOMs), allergen declarations, ingredient lists and nutritional values for quality control.

3. Bottleneck and Capacity Management

Efficiency is crucial in food and beverage production—you’ve likely got ambitious targets, and that makes bottlenecks and unexpected capacity constraints something to avoid at all costs. What’s more, the industry has historically operated with tight profit margins, so getting the most out of your ingredients, staff and machinery is critical for keeping your business competitive and thriving in a competitive landscape.

The shop floor logistics features of food production planning software allow you to view your inventory across all locations with detailed zoom capabilities so you can scrutinize individual items, bins or lots as necessary. That, in turn, will help your logistics managers schedule activities accordingly so that customer orders can be executed upon in a timely fashion.

Our solution excels on this front, giving you the ability to manage all outstanding warehouse activities from a single overview and obtain insight into expected processing dates and times. With Aptean’s food production ERP on your side, your logistics managers can control what activities need to occur and when, and all inbound and outbound activities are collated together on a single screen.

For even greater visibility, statuses can be color-coded, making it easy to gather with just a glance what processes are scheduled, in progress or ready to be closed. Meanwhile, our system also stores all compliance documents in a single place for easy reference so the vital matter of adherence to regulations can be demonstrated to enforcement agencies.

Finally, Aptean Food & Beverage ERP keeps things moving on the production floor with automatic triggering of status flows (or “workflows”) according to various criteria—including client specifications, product details, in-process orders and more—while also letting you make certain steps mandatory so that they can’t be skipped, even inadvertently. You can also visualize transport needs as goods are being prepared for departure and combine orders where possible to save on distribution costs.

The Extra Advantages of Choosing Aptean

At the outset of this post, we stressed the importance of prudent planning in food and beverage manufacturing settings, and hopefully at this point you can appreciate how production planning software can help you succeed in that vital endeavor. We called particular attention to several of the ways our own ERP excels in this regard, but there are even more reasons to trust us as your provider.

Take, for instance, our dedicated professionals’ collective decades of experience in the food and beverage market and extensive understanding of best practices. We know the challenges you face and “speak your language,” so you can count on us to provide solutions and support tailored to help you overcome any obstacles or barriers in your way.

There’s also the fact that we’ve built our unique, industry-specific technologies on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central platform, affording the system a user-friendly interface. Additionally, we offer Aptean Food & Beverage ERP in the cloud for a flexible deployment that minimizes up-front costs and provides automatic updates.

Lastly, you don’t have to take our word for it—consulting and research firm Frost & Sullivan recently recognized our solution with their 2022 Product Leadership Award in North American ERP Software for the Food and Beverage Industry. That stands as a testament to how we’re true to our slogan, as we’re always getting our clients Ready for What’s Next, Now®.

Ready to hear more about our food production planning software and how Aptean Food & Beverage ERP is the ideal foundation for your business’s digital transformation? Contact us today or request a personalized demo.

You can also read about our Digital Transformation benchmark quiz; the tool is simple to use, and since the process takes just a few minutes to complete, you’ll have actionable insights in no time.

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