ERP (enterprise resource planning) software can help snack and bakery businesses see the “big picture” while constantly improving. While many ERP software choices are available, they’re constantly being improved and changing, too.


Current solutions

Wherefour, Petaluma, CA, helps snack producers and bakeries flexibly manage production, says Matt Brown, founder and CEO. “For example, operators can choose to produce specific quantities of finished goods for inventory, or they can build goods from finished inventory with a product assembly option, or do a combination of both.”

Producers with large customers frequently need to enter recurring orders quickly, and Wherefour’s standing order feature creates daily customer orders automatically based on standing order quantities while tracking prices and calculating production lead times, says Brown. Simple navigation lets users select specific lot codes and customize orders, he explains.

Wherefour can also produce traceability reports with the push of a button, which can be accessed from a mobile device anywhere, at any time. “Reports can be generated to trace an ingredient from inventory to specific customers or, in reverse, from customers back to the ingredient supplier,” notes Brown.

ProcessPro, Shakopee, MN, offers an integrated ERP solution that has been developed to meet the needs of commercial and wholesale bakeries, as well as proprietary and private label snack food manufacturers, says Kate Orbeck, marketing manager. “We understand the dynamic needs of the baking industry and have developed an ERP solution that manages the core business functions of manufacturing, quality, inventory, financials, sales and reporting, while also offering the industry-focused features of warehouse management, food safety compliance, product development, costing, POS and DSD.”

Deacom, Chesterbrook, PA, delivers a full ERP suite specifically catered to those in food manufacturing, says Scott Deakins, COO. Whether you are a private label producer or create your own, branded product, the platform encompasses all critical manufacturing needs. “This includes capabilities that go beyond the basic functionality of traditional ERP software to include quality control, custom order creation, lot traceability, warehouse management, e-commerce and EDI capabilities, to name a few.”

Infor, New York, offers its CloudSuite ERP software to bakeries and snack food producers. “The core of the solution is Infor M3, our comprehensive ERP solution designed to help food and beverage companies respond to changes in customer demands, manage their global supply chains, plan for seasonality and reduce waste,” explains Mike Edgett, product and industry strategy, food and beverage.

While M3 is available on-premise and in the cloud, most market-leading food companies are moving their ERP to the cloud—and Infor continues to invest heavily in the cloud, says Edgett. “Today, Infor CloudSuites deliver a single version software that avoids the need for major upgrades and provides quick and easy access to new functionality.”

Mountain Stream, New York, offers a complete, cloud-based ERP software system that connects a wholesale producer’s team and customers working together in one application, says Axel Bergstrom, CEO. “Empowering customers with online ordering is a quantum leap in customer service.” This lets customers see how they are spending their money, fine-tune their orders and even order new products they might not have been exposed to via a phone call, he explains.

QAD, Santa Barbara, CA, offers a unique solution for bakeries and snack manufacturers, beginning with a complete service ERP offered in the cloud and on-premise, that helps manage supply chains, inventories and promotions, while also synchronizing production and meet compliance requirements and meeting changing demand, says Stephen Dombroski, senior manager, consumer products, food and beverage vertical markets. “Key capabilities of the QAD solution include supply-chain planning and execution, global financials, material and product traceability, serialization, sales and operations planning, quality management, promotions management and warehouse and transportation management.”

These capabilities give manufacturers of snack and bakery products the ability to control risk, continually improve operations and align operations and sales with business strategy, Dombroski says.


Software features

“DEACOM ERP delivers end-to-end functionality for companies to achieve business goals in the simplest manner possible,” says Deakins. Some examples include formulation, warehouse management, inventory control, MRO, serialization, integrated financials, CMS, direct-store-delivery, POS and mobile applications. “We are seeing a growing interest in DSD functionality in both the bakery and snack food industries. With DEACOM ERP, these business can not only streamline their distribution process with real-time route management, but also use it as an opportunity to drive customer service and sales.” Drivers can complete customer payments, returns and order payments, as well as place new orders, while on the road.

All capabilities live within the core system. “A great example of this benefit is when a new order is placed by sales,” Deakins says. “Those who work within the accounting, MRP, production and inventory functions of the software will be automatically notified of the change so that actions can be taken to fulfill the order efficiently.”

ProcessPro’s four main features and functionality includes recipe and formulation management, R&D, POS and DSD. “With over 30 years serving this industry, ProcessPro discerns the complexities that today’s bakery and snack food manufacturers face to remain compliant, cost-efficient and scalable to marketplace changes,” says Orbeck. “We have developed, and continue to enhance, our bakery management software with features and functionality that integrate operations, manufacturing and the consumer.”

ERPs integrate business systems from the initial order through invoicing, with a high degree of process automation, says Brown. “Having one system manage everything from inventory control through production and billing allows everyone to work on the same platform with the same data. That, in turn, provides a single source of truth, which is the Holy Grail of information system design, and with modern cloud-based ERP systems, the risk of data loss due to fire or other hazards is reduced.”

Mountain Stream’s ERP software features self-service ordering, online invoicing, supply chain traceability, inventory management, recipe cards and all production reports, says Bergstrom. “The distribution module offers GPS tracking—paperless, instant proof of delivery.” There are also administrator and customer interfaces. The admin interface includes inventory management, recipe and costing center, production planning, and distribution management, among other features. The customer interface includes self-service ordering, a personalized item catalogue, by customer (bespoke pricing and show/hide items), unlimited users, and unlimited addresses.

QAD Cloud ERP and QAD Enterprise Applications (on-premise) cover all necessary functionality requirements for manufacturers of snack and bakery products. This allows them to effectively address needs, introduce new products quickly to meet customer demand and optimize processes across manufacturing, to name a few, says Dombroski. It can support global growth, expansion and margins improvement; access and analyze processes and data; deploy in the cloud or on-premise, using implementation and migration services; and operate sites simultaneously in the cloud and on-premise with a single view of transactions and information across all business entities, he adds.


New capabilities

Wherefour’s newest feature is an inventory forecasting capability that is particularly helpful for bakeries, especially those with variable customer orders, says Brown. “This new tool will compare inventory on hand with production needs for standing orders and purchase orders to provide a yes or no answer regarding whether enough material is available to meet upcoming production demands. Wherefour will also alert users about the lead times required to replenish inventory.”

In September 2018, Wherefour was certified to interface with Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance (Metrc), which is a regulatory seed-to-sale cannabis inventory accounting software. This is important for those developing legal cannabis edibles, Brown notes. “The certification means cannabis licensees using the Wherefore ERP can track plants through the entire process—from the field into inventory, production, finished goods and shipment to specific customers—and get the data to Metrc.”

ProcessPro’s latest offering, the Preventative Controls Plan and Food Safety Toolkit, which was announced in November 2018, provides user-friendly FDA-audited and -approved templates for HACCP and preventative control plans for thermal and ambient processing and organic compliance, says Orbeck. “Development of this templated product was driven by customer input to enable food and beverage manufacturers to maintain regulatory-compliant food safety plans. The formatted templates bring familiarity to FDA auditors during compliance checks, include enhanced guidance for ease-of-use, and have been successfully vetted by food and beverage corporations.”

Infor continues to add new capabilities to its food and beverage offerings to meet new business requirements, says Edgett. “Recently, a number of enhancements have been made in the planning and quality management solutions. Some of our most-exciting new features, though, are part of our cloud operating platform, Infor OS.”

Edgett says these include advanced business intelligence, including predictive analytics, to help forecast demand and opportunities. This includes artificial intelligence. “Infor Coleman is a science-driven, intelligent, industry-aware digital advisor. It automates repetitive tasks and provides instant access to information via voice. It anticipates, advises and derives insights from business data, to enable people to work smarter.”

Through ongoing R&D efforts and partnerships with customers and key industry associations and groups, QAD continuously enhances the products and services it offers to new and existing customers, says Dombroski. “QAD introduces new features and capabilities multiple times each year and is in the mode of continued development to provide the best possible ERP solutions to manufacturers to enable them to become agile, effective enterprises.”