A Rabbi, a Food Scientist and a Supply Chain Manager Walk Into a Bar…
Sounds like a joke, right? For Rabbi Ephrayim Baskin of Australia’s largest Kosher certification authority, food traceability is a deadly serious proposition.
“Many people have the mistaken belief that Kosher means that the food was blessed by a Rabbi. That could hardly be further from the truth. Jewish law has incredibly intricate and strict stipulations regarding what can and cannot be used in food that is appropriate for our consumption,” Rabbi Baskin, also a trained food scientist, explains. “These ancient laws have always been taken extremely seriously, and for centuries, people like me have been scrupulously tracing every single ingredient back to its ultimate source to ensure that each food product is completely free of anything forbidden according to our laws.”
While Rabbi Baskin may be answering to a Higher Authority, traceability is most certainly no laughing matter in the Food and Beverage Industry. The extraordinary complexity of the modern international supply chain poses stiff challenges for suppliers and manufacturers looking to ensure the safety of the products that they provide to consumers. We do not have to look too far to find examples in Australia and abroad of companies that waited until it was too late to take control of their supply chain and paid a hefty price.
For suppliers, that price may include harsh regulatory penalties, astronomical costs of implementing a product recall, civil law suits in case of serious illness or death of consumers, not to mention the impact on their brand from negative public exposure. For many companies, particularly SMEs, a single adverse event could spell disaster and financial ruin.
Playing by the Rules
As if this were not complicated enough, players in the Food and Beverage Industry face additional challenges on numerous fronts. Firstly, the regulatory landscape is a veritable maze of rules and regulations enforced by multiple levels of government and industry bodies. To make matters worse, these regulations are frequently changed and updated, making it almost impossible for many companies to stay up-to-date.
Food fraud is another growing concern in a complicated landscape. Evolving consumer behaviours mean that food products claiming to be organic, fair trade or allergen free must pass similar levels of scrutiny. Consumer protection and fair trading bodies are growing ever more vigilant of suppliers making false claims on packaging. Even unwitting errors could land you in hot water if you are not constantly on top of every aspect of your supply chain.
Planning for Success
If you’re confused by now, you’re not alone. For many businesses, making sense of all these complications is a logistical nightmare and a financial headache. Many simply don’t have the expertise or resources to ensure full compliance. This is where a strong ERP system comes into its own. The core functionalities of most ERP systems are inventory and location control. Tracking product movements by lot number as they move in and out of the warehouse, and through the production process is a key extension of these capabilities and precisely what is required to take control of traceability in your supply chain. In addition, robust ERP systems can incorporate complex sets of rules, such as those governing food safety.
Counting the Cost
With all this in mind, it would seem like a no brainer for every organisation operating in the Food and Beverage space to implement an ERP system to assist them in running their operations and managing their supply chain effectively. Unfortunately, this is far from the case. The most common reason that we hear for failing to incorporate this critical piece into the IT Systems puzzle is the cost of implementation. There is no question that a quality ERP comes with a price tag. For companies operating in a highly competitive industry with thin margins, this can seem prohibitive. However, these expenses need to be weighed against the very real costs of not running ERP software. If you’re committed to staying up-to-date and compliant, the likelihood is that you are spending significant resources on doing so. Aggregated over time, these costs are almost certainly far greater than those associated with an ERP system. On the other hand, If it’s all a bit too much and you’re letting things slide, then the costs of a failure in the system are unthinkably high.
Endeavour Solutions ERP for Food & Beverage Industry
The final critical cog in the ERP wheel is a provider with the expertise, experience and outstanding service that can work together with you to understand your business. Endeavour Solutions have been working with firms just like yours for decades. Our team understands the challenges you face and devotes the time and energy to ensuring that what you get is not an out of the box solution, but one that is carefully tailored to meet your unique needs. Our customised Greentree ERP will lift the veil of complexity from your supply chain and empower you to manage traceability efficiently and effectively.
With so many clients already benefiting from Endeavour Solutions know-how in the Food and Beverage Industry, the only real questions remaining is whether you can afford to not give us a call?