Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software offers streamlined capabilities for managing a wide range of snack and bakery business operations, including ordering, production logistics, and delivery. A robust ERP system can significantly improve plant efficiency, maximize resources, reduce waste, streamline throughput, and provide full transparency.

“The writing seems to be on the wall with the FDA’s proposed rule requiring additional traceability records for certain foods,” says Matt Brown, CEO, Wherefour, Petaluma, CA. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is also catalyzing a heightened desire for transparency.

Cloud-based, real-time management is often a key benefit of ERP systems. “A fully integrated solution manages inventory levels in real-time, including finished goods and raw ingredients,” says Daniel Erickson, director of product strategy, ProcessPro, St. Cloud, MN. “This is especially beneficial in a marketplace that is dealing with shortages, logistics disruption, and long lead times, and requires the ability to react quickly.” With an ERP solution’s overview of the entire supply chain, accurate and timely information enables the maintenance of a consistent inventory.

“Customers expect freshness, choice, and quality. Therefore, in the highly competitive market of the fresh and frozen wholesale bakery industry, retailers and suppliers are constantly looking for ways to meet changing demands while remaining competitive,” says Cory King, group vice president, Aptean, Alpharetta, GA.

“Logistics planners struggle every day with expedited freight events, poorly utilized transportation resources, excess, slow moving stock, and competing customer priorities,” says Stephen Dombroski, director, consumer markets, QAD Inc., Santa Barbara, CA. The right ERP system can improve all of these operational factors.

“The value chain today has expanded, and consumer preferences have changed and evolved to include more snacking to supplement or replace full meals, forcing manufacturers’ inventory and promotion management needs to match up with the changes to the business,” says Dombroski. Regulations and compliance requirements are also increasing, and field-to-fork traceability is now becoming a necessity. “With the changing consumer demands comes the need to adjust product offerings and an increase in new products that complicates manufacturing, operations, and supply,” he says. These issues all dictate the need for expert asset management.

“Many bakery products have very short shelf lives and lead times,” says Mikael Bengtsson, industry and solution strategy director, food and beverage, Infor, New York. “Advanced capable-to-promise rules check available stock, production lead times, eventual external sourcing options, and transportation routes at order entry to accurately and instantly plan the complete supply chain. This drives all operations—sourcing, production schedule, picking and packing, truck loading, and transportation—down to the minute. Minimum ‘Best if used by’ dates can be customer- and SKU-specific. Strict rotation rules can be enabled to guarantee that products with the correct shelf life are delivered. To increase efficiency, a continuous process is also supported, including demand sensing to adjust the volumes on time and allow for smart grouping of activities.”


Company: Aptean

Website: www.aptean.com

Logistics Snapshot: “Aptean’s Food and Beverage ERP makes it easier for snack and bakery companies to successfully manage tight margins and short industry lead times by empowering them to optimize production scheduling around the allocation of manpower, machinery, and materials,” says King.

Aptean’s ERP system helps maximize shelf life by keeping a careful eye on expiration dates. “At first, it might seem simple to adopt a ‘first expired, first out’ strategy, but when you consider schedule changes and the need to keep track of both intermediates and finished products, manufacturers need a solution specifically designed for the snack and bakery industry that minimizes the guesswork,” says King.

“The software also helps companies stay compliant and safe when ensuring allergen segregation,” says King. Aptean’s ERP allows you to select the optimal time to execute preventative maintenance. The system also identifies inefficiencies throughout the plant and helps companies comply with global food safety standards. “The solution helps customers better manage their bakeries with the help of granular lot tracking, batch management tools, simplified quality and safety audits, and a comprehensive customer relationship management system.

Other features include:

  • Batch processing

  • Production planning

  • Inventory management

  • Daily forecasts

  • Traceability

  • Bills of materials

  • Standing orders

  • Allergen management

  • Warehouse management

  • Yield reporting

  • Recipes and formulation


Company: FlexiBake Ltd.

Website: www.flexibake.com

Logistics Snapshot: FlexiBake ERP offers effective product pricing with live costing and margin analysis tools, nutritional analysis and traceability, sales and order management, and direct store delivery (DSD) with a driver app to allow drivers more visibility and efficient invoice management. It also offers other tools for production, purchases, inventory, accounts receivable, and company analysis.

“Within the production modules, FlexiBake offers detailed calculations for dough requirements, raw material forecasts, step-by-step production tracking for traceability, and live inventory updates as production is added,” says Nicole Ortner, general manager, FlexiBake Ltd., Vancouver, British Columbia. “All of this can be managed and analyzed at multiple production facilities for manufacturers with more than one location.”

FlexiBake streamlines logistics for businesses delivering their own products, as well as those using third-party carriers. “FlexiBake’s DSD driver app allows drivers to preloaded their route and delivery information on their phone or tablet,” says Ortner. “During their route, drivers can update delivered quantities, shorts, returns, and payments taken, as well as create credit notes.” This information automatically populates into FlexiBake’s core ERP system for visibility team-wide. The system allocates specific lot numbers to pallets and assigns their space in the warehouse.

Other features include:

  • Online Ordering Portal where clients can log in and place or manage their own orders

  • Production Reporting to instantly group and display important order information, including forecasts, schedules for daily production, and desired return percentages

  • Traceability management


Company: Infor

Website: www.infor.com

Logistics Snapshot: Infor CloudSuite Food & Beverage is a cloud-based ERP solution with out-of-the-box functionality specific to snack and bakery production. The solution serves as a future-proof platform for transformation and can integrate with Infor and/or third-party software. “Predictive demand forecasting and promotion planning, together with a supply chain planning optimization engine, help to meet customer demand with the lowest overall supply chain costs,” says Bengtsson. “Inventory costs, production overtime costs, and transportation costs are considered in the planning. Advanced production scheduling creates the optimal sequenced schedule that reflects production line and workers’ capabilities, silo capacities, sequencing and cleaning rules, and scheduled raw material supply.” Infor CloudSuite Food & Beverage can be extended with Infor’s enterprise asset management to maximize equipment effectiveness, secure regulatory compliance regarding food safety, and to provide a safe working environment. Infor can support faster time to market, cost savings with blend and formula optimization, and label compliance.

Other features include:

  • Warehouse management functionality

  • Transportation cost management

  • Detailed activity-based cost accounting and analytics

  • Raw material supply, costs, quality, and compliance

  • Lot/sub-lot track and trace

  • Advanced forecasting and planning

  • Advanced sequencing considering allergens and packaging types

  • Compliance with food safety procedures

  • Recipe and formula optimization

  • Returnable pallet and crate management


Company: ProcessPro

Website: www.processproerp.com

Logistics Snapshot: ProcessPro by Aptean’s ERP solution helps food manufacturers streamline processes, gain control, and make informed business decisions with integrated functionality to manage key manufacturing areas like quality control, lot traceability, recipes, regulatory compliance, inventory, financials, sales, and more. “In this unprecedented year, control, visibility, reliable data, and accurate reporting has become a must for process manufacturers to be successful,” says Erickson. “With a solution that monitors the inventory and production cycle through the supply chain, from ingredient sourcing to shipping, the food and beverage industry has been able to accommodate supply shortages and shipping delays, mandated business closures and automation, mobile and remote accessibility, and staffing levels.”

Supplier information is stored within the ERP solution, including materials available for purchase, applicable certifications, quality-control results, and risk assessments. It vets and ranks qualified alternate vendors should a primary supplier’s materials become unavailable. Recipe tracking, revision control functionality, and allergen tracking capabilities enable manufacturers to switch out comparable ingredients due to shortages.

Other features include:

  • Tools and supporting features to manage cGMP and food safety, auditing and recall preparedness, and inventory and supplier management

  • Manageable and centralized regulatory information

  • Audit trails throughout the production process, including forward and backward lot traceability from raw ingredients through production to finished goods

  • Management and handling of product attributes and allergens, including assistance with supporting certifications such as SQF, GMO, gluten-free, kosher, halal, and organic

  • Real-time barcode scanning of raw ingredients and products throughout the supply chain

  • Mock recall functionality

  • Proper planning and reordering of materials to avoid lags in production

  • Material requirements planning to factor supply, demand, and forecasted requirements to plan production and purchasing


Company: QAD Inc.

Website: www.qad.com

Logistics Snapshot: QAD offers a full-service cloud ERP solution for snack and bakery manufacturers. “QAD Adaptive ERP manages and synchronizes complex supply chains typically associated with the snack food and bakery industries,” says Dombroski. QAD Adaptive ERP features supply-chain planning and execution, global financials, material and product traceability, serialization, sales and operations planning, quality management, trade and promotions management, and warehouse and transportation management. “These capabilities help manufacturers of snack and bakery products to control risk, align operations and sales with business strategy, and continually improve margins,” he says.

QAD DynaSys Distribution Planning adopts a high visibility approach that graphically and intuitively provides planners with an informative workbench to support decision-making and event simulation by understanding that logistics environments are complex and dynamic. “Planners struggle to manage real-time events, such as shipping delays and opportunistic shipping capacity,” says Dombroski. Distribution Planning excels in this environment due to end-to-end visibility via an intuitive geo-visualization of the entire supply network. Time-phased planning supports variable time intervals simultaneously combining daily, weekly, and monthly material flows into a single view. The visualization also supports various units of measure and currencies.

Other features include:

  • Digital Manufacturing leverages digital and advanced technologies to better communicate, as well as analyze and use real-time information to meet cost and quality objectives

  • Complete Customer Management delivers an outstanding customer experience that builds the company’s brand and helps acquire, sell to, and retain customers with less effort and expense

  • Integrated Supplier Management improves supplier collaboration and supply-chain visibility allowing for faster response to changes in supply and demand

  • Connected Supply Chain helps manufacturers collaborate with supply chain partners and address the challenges associated with managing complex global supply chains


Company: Wherefour

Website: https://wherefour.com

Logistics Snapshot: Wherefour has the flexibility to accommodate a broad range of production needs and preferences, including processing using recipes or assembly instructions when creating packaging units or case quantities from finished goods. “Our ERP also provides a toolkit that keeps real-time analytics at your fingertips, which makes it easy to stay on top of current and future production needs,” says Brown. “Users have a variety of forecasting options and new business intelligence tools with customizable graphics that provide insight into key production data, precise cost of goods sold (COGS), and profitability at a glance.”

The software lets you set standing orders for accounts with variable delivery requirements. It also automatically calculates recipes to produce the exact quantities needed for production runs based on a set of customer orders. “Wherefour readily handles complicated multi-step production processes and even allows you to edit recipes on the fly during production with full traceability,” says Brown. “All changes are tracked both for traceability and accurate costing, including waste.” It automatically converts inventory purchased in one unit of measurement to a different unit of measurement for use in recipes.

One way Wherefour supports efficiency is by improving the speed and accuracy of data entry. “Our platform is designed for how users already use technology,” says Brown. “We have a tablet or phone-sized barcode scanning system that enables users to access all the features of the platform, not just a subset. Warehouse personnel and delivery drivers can use the cameras in mobile devices to scan inventory or manage deliveries.” Options are available with laser scanners that remain highly accurate in widely ranging temperatures or environments with wet and particulate ingredients.

Wherefour helps users by tracking inventory levels and automatically sending email alerts when ingredient supplies drop to preset levels. It also factors in purchasing or production lead times. Users can create purchase orders automatically or with one click.

Pick and ship and DSD features in the software streamline customer inventory selection and creation of delivery routes. Users can manually select specific lot codes for individual customers, or with barcode scanners. Delivery routes can be reordered as needed with drag-and-drop functionality. For companies that produce cannabis edibles, Wherefour DSD functions include driver and vehicle information, licenses, driving instructions, and other data.

Wherefour recently added features to make inventory management more efficient between producers and copackers by allowing them to view each other’s inventory online. The feature is fully mobile.

Other features include:

  • Open and connectable with many other systems

  • Fully integrates commonly used accounting platforms like Sage Intact and Quickbooks

  • Integrates with more than 2,000 online applications through Zapier, including e-commerce platforms ranging from Handshake to Shopify

  • Data imports and exports automatically between Wherefour and other apps

  • Full forward and backward ingredient tracing or recall reports with one click

  • Modular and scalable, so smaller businesses get the same tools used by large enterprises