Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is essential for snack and bakery companies, so that they can organize all of their activities through a single piece of software.

“Today, it’s absolutely vital that bakery and snack companies’ ERP software can help ensure excellent traceability and food safety, says Jack Payne, solution consulting director, food & beverage and process manufacturing, Aptean, Alpharetta, GA.

Snack and bakery manufacturers frequently deal with large quantities of ingredients that are used in their products and must maintain a clear picture of the supply chain while also managing any allergen concerns, says Payne.

“In fact, food safety and traceability was selected as the top focus for risk mitigation in IDC’s Global Food and Beverage Industry Trends and Strategic Insights whitepaper commissioned by Aptean,” he notes.

Consumers and regulatory bodies alike demand nothing but the best in terms of food safety assuredness, and that’s best achieved with technology suited to the purpose, Payne adds.

“ERP solutions that automatically schedule compliance checks and facilitate lot traceability are a must for snack and bakery organizations that want to meet the expectations of their customers and the requirements of government agencies,” he says.

“Another matter of particular importance in the snack and bakery sectors is maintaining healthy profit margins while dealing with rising ingredient costs. An ERP helps you dial in your pricing by turning your data into actionable insights, allowing you to remain competitive without sacrificing your bottom line,” finishes Payne.

Jonathan Dolp, CEO & Founder, Harvest Food Solutions, Vancouver, WA, says that few key issues related to bakery and snack ERP software providers today include building industry specific required functionality in a simplified and effect manner for the end user, and continuous training as customers face unprecedented work force changes.

“[Other issues include] security and regulatory compliance of customer, vendor, employee, and company IP data, while managing visibility of quality, compliance, and traceability throughout the supply chain process,” he says.

Matt Brown, CEO, Wherefour, Petaluma, CA, says that COVID-19 has created some lasting operational changes that have accelerated the need to move to the cloud and to offer ERP users fully mobile functionality.

“The uptick in people working remotely and more cautious face-to-face interaction has encouraged cloud-based solutions. In the workplace, the need to social distance and reduce the number of surfaces being touched by multiple individuals has meant more reliance on individual mobile devices to accomplish tasks,” he expands.

The pandemic has increased interest in online self-service options for wholesale customers, Brown adds.

“This feature also gives field staff in sales or delivery better visibility of in-stock items, what currently is in production, customer orders and other relevant data. Some wholesale bakeries also have added direct-to-consumer e-commerce as sales from their traditional customers declined during the pandemic. These companies are looking for an ERP that can accommodate the added complexity this creates.”

Increased regulation and consumer scrutiny has placed added emphasis on food safety features that facilitate traceability ease and accuracy not just for recalls but to streamline audits and compliance reviews, Brown notes.

Stephen Dombroski, director, consumer products and food & beverage vertical markets, QAD, Santa Barbara, CA, says that bakery and snack manufacturers are facing unprecedented disruptions that are transforming the marketplace.

“Over the last several years, we have seen incredible changes to the industry due to a global pandemic, massive changes in consumers preferences and dietary habits, technological evolutions, and the drive for not just manufacturers, but society as a whole to be 100 percent focused on becoming a sustainable culture,” he says.

“These issues and disruptions are forcing snack food and bakery manufacturers to rethink how they manage their business from both a process and system standpoint. They also need to realize that one of the major disruptions overlaying all others is a disruptive supply chain that, believe it or not, was beginning prior to pandemic. COVID-19 has exposed weaknesses and flaws in the food and beverage supply chain,” he reveals.

Manufacturers need to realize that when you speak about the supply chain, you need to speak about both supply chains; the physical and digital, Dombroski adds.

In addition to meeting major brands’ recyclability and sustainability goals in convenience packaging materials, vendors also must adapt to new pack options that consumer are demanding. “On-the-go packaging includes portion-controlled and single-serve pack types. We continue to see new versions of these packages and machinery evolutions that keep us on our toes in developing seamless, easy-open, resealable and tamper-evident features,” says Heather Chandler, president, Sealstrip Corp., Gilbertsville, PA.

One benefit of a resealable package is product containment and reduced exposure. “Resealable features do not restore the original package barrier conditions, but they do prevent repackaging of product in the wrong type of film, bag or container, which can cause a faster degradation of taste and texture. Also, baked items can be contained in the original package to minimize exposure to oxygen, which can cause staleness and freezer burn,” Chandler adds.

On the packaging material end, the demand for ready-to-eat, convenience snack foods has prompted a recent surge in polypropylene demand. Benefits of using polypropylene include its light weight, clarity (allowing customers to see through to the product), affordability, sustainability, and resistance to high and low temperature, such as that in a microwave oven or a freezer, while maintaining freshness and durability. 

According to PMMI’s 2020 “Secondary Packaging Trends” report, as e-commerce has grown, consumers have become increasingly accustomed to the convenience of online shopping, with the largest businesses setting trends and establishing expectations of quick and trackable delivery. “As customers have come to expect rapid delivery of their products, many retailers have been pushed toward a direct-to-consumer model, shipping items directly from their own warehouses. This has put a strain on some of the smaller, more niche bakery and snack manufacturers as it leaves less opportunity for them to keep pace,” Riley adds.

“The physical supply chain moves the materials, inventories, products and supplies. The digital supply chain moves the information. These two supply chains need to be in complete synchronization in order for the manufacturer to get the right product to the right place at the right time in the right quantities while maximizing their profitability,” he advises.

“Snack and bakery manufacturers that can do this consistently are what we call Adaptive Manufacturing Enterprises. To accomplish this, these companies need an Adaptive ERP that is secure, cloud based and can be deployed, scaled and extended easily. Snack and bakery manufacturers need an Adaptive ERP solution that is simple to implement, manage, and upgrade, allowing resources to focus on strategic initiatives that the market dictates to maintain a competitive advantage,” Dombroski explains.

“Today’s snack and bakery manufacturers need an ERP on a modern platform that provides a complete easy to understand user experience so food manufacturers can focus on producing quality and safe food that meets the requirements of the consumer of today and tomorrow while meeting the ever evolving regulatory requirements.” 


Company: Aptean

Website: www.aptean.com

Logistics Snapshot: Aptean’s snack and bakery ERP solutions serve as cross-functional platforms for businesses that are ready to start (or accelerate) their digital transformation, says Payne.

“Our teams’ decades of food and beverage industry experience has given us in-depth knowledge of best practices, and we build our systems to help ensure that our clients operate based on those important principles. We also have a wide array of complementary offerings within our larger food and beverage industry solutions ecosystem, including Aptean Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), Aptean Transportation Management System (TMS), Aptean Business Intelligence (BI), Aptean Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Aptean Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Aptean Pay, among others.”

Top Features:

  • Purpose-built tools to manage traceability quality assurance, inventory management, and allergen management, as well as powerful analytics functions that help optimize supply, forecast demand, eliminate inefficiencies and reduce waste

  • Flexible cloud deployments

  • Dedicated IT teams and redundant servers

  • All updates handled remotely and automatically

  • Comprehensive recipe and formula management module allows for fine-tuning of recipes, as well as experimentation with new lines that fit changing consumer demands, including those for gluten-free, sugar-free, organic, and sustainable products

  • Aptean Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) helps successfully launch new offerings in time to capitalize on opportunities while still maintaining excellent product quality

  • All software is built on foundation of Microsoft Dynamics 365, keeping technology on the cutting-edge with latest integrations and upgrades


Company: Wherefour

Website: http://wherefour.com

Logistics Snapshot: Wherefour is a fully mobile, cloud-based ERP with a very clean user interface that is easy and intuitive to use yet offers a comprehensive suite of tools to meet the specific needs of the baking industry, says Brown.

“We constantly look for ways to automate or streamline routine, but important, tasks like lot number tracking and compliance documentation, production, and inventory forecasting, forward and backward traceability, and real-time overhead costing and COGS,” he says.

“Our bakery customers have the ability to set standing orders and automatically calculate production runs for customers with variable delivery requirements. The software determines if the required inventory is available for current or projected production and calculates recipes for exact quantities needed based on a set of customer and/or e-commerce orders. Wherefour allows recipes to be edited on the fly while maintaining complete traceability. Kitting features permit product bundling into multi-packs or other configurations and simplify the creation of inventory that is assembled as needed.”

Pick and ship and DSD features were designed with snack and bakery customers in mind. Inventory can be selected with bar code scanners or manually, and navigation is easy with next and previous buttons. Changes to delivery route sequencing is simple via drag and drop functionality. Full traceability is maintained whether returned inventory is destroyed, placed back in inventory or processed into a new product, says Brown.

Top Features:

  • Can accommodate a broad range of production strategies, including using recipes or assembly instructions.

  • Real time analytics let users stay on top of current and future production needs

  • Forecasting options and analytics show accurate COGS and profitability in real time

  • Returns are easily accommodated whether destroyed or repurposed.

  • A new disassemble option allows an inventory item to be placed into production and converted to another product, such as bread into croutons

  • The software automatically calculates recipes to produce the exact production quantities needed based on standing orders as well as a combination of customer orders, including e-commerce. Recipes may be changed on the fly during production with full traceability and accurate costing, including waste.

  • Forecast tools identify whether enough inventory is on hand for projected production needs. If there are shortages, the needed raw material quantities are calculated. Wherefour also automatically converts Inventory units of measurement to measurements used in recipes.

  • Material Requirements Planning (MRP) features help forecast future needs from past data, reduce waste, schedule production runs to maximize efficiency and provide insight into cost flows. Machine learning capabilities are planned for the future to enhance projections and profitability.

  • Automatic lot coding for items entered into stock is a new feature

  • Wherefour has a customizable B2B portal where customers can manage orders and view on-hand inventory. Users have customer-specific control over what products may be ordered and pricing.

  • A variety of traceability reports are available at the push of a button with full forward and backward ingredient traceability. Reports can show whether an affected ingredient is quarantined, in production, in warehoused finished goods or shipped to customers. Compliance and other documentation can be uploaded with production runs or shipments and tagged for easy retrieval.

  • Wherefour is cloud-based and mobile. It also is modular and scalable to meet the needs of smaller businesses while providing the tools required by large enterprises.


Company: FlexiBake ERP

Website: www.flexibake.com

Logistics Snapshot: Stephen Lingenfelter, implementation specialist, FlexiBake ERP, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, says that regulations, growth, and labor are some of the largest issues at hand for food manufacturers implementing ERP software. Even with the challenges in today’s market, having the right software system and a knowledgeable implementation team makes scaling up your business or adhering to a new ordinance easier than ever before.

“FlexiBake offers an array of tools to help expedite and control your processes, establish strong SOPs, and feel confident in your production. Our dynamic schedule and enter production tools work for make-to-order, make-to-stock, or any combination thereof,” he says.

“These can further integrate with other tools such as our Online Ordering Portal to add directly to your production planning and our MetriX DSD app to simplify and automate your delivery process. Has something gone awry, no fret! Use FlexiBakes auditing tools to track down the ‘who’ and ‘when.’ Our goal is to provide you a suite of targeted tools to succeed in an ever-changing market.”

Top Features:

  • FlexiBake’s Online Ordering Portal allows manufacturers to grow their wholesale business and automate the ordering process with a simple user interface, but still has the flexibility to follow complex ordering guidelines.

  • The Metrix DSD app connects with routes in FlexiBake to organize and expedite deliveries

    • Use Google Maps to “Map” routes, pulling address information from Customer Profiles and upload it to handhelds for simpler shipments.

  • MetriX DSD has been expanded with increased credit and return functionality, and systems in FlexiBake have been updated to communicate with this. Ensure invoices, payments, credits, and return documentation are consistent in the internal ERP system.

  • Adjusting effective return date functionality has been added for companies with irregular delivery schedules. This tool allows you to adjust your shelf life for longer lasting products and use the data to effectively forecast while taking into account returns from previous deliveries.

  • From Purchasing to Production, track materials and products from beginning to end. Recall Reports can be generated in seconds using the traceability tools in FlexiBake.

  • FlexiBake’s versioning tools create readable records of past recipes that can be compared against for QA, testing, or reference; keep the paper waste to a minimum and say no to shelves of recipes

  • Instant access to hundreds of reports derived from data, pull reports on revenue or sales, purchasing variance, or even detailed costing and margin analysis

  • The Integrated Label Designer allows utilization of the same information from databases to create production, order, bagging, and packaging labels


Company: Harvest Food Solutions

Website: harvestfoodsolutions.com

Logistics Snapshot: “At Harvest Food Solutions, we love food. It has been part of our DNA for more than a century. This unique first-hand perspective is what makes us experts when it comes to the manufacturing and distribution of perishable foods. And it’s what allows us to provide a host of modern, cloud-based solutions that help the bakery and snack food producers, suppliers, and distributors efficiently manage every aspect of their business. This software solution incorporates all required features, functions, and fanatic support under one roof,” says Dolp.

“Our core flagship products Harvest Accounting and Operations and Harvest DSD (Direct Store Delivery) incorporate features specific to the baking and snack industries. Harvest Accounting and Operations is built upon the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central platform and leverages the power of the Microsoft ecosystem. Harvest DSD real-time industrial platform and mobility app was designed to handle the demanding requirements for perishable food companies and scalable from the smallest to the largest organizations in the world.”

Top Features:

  • Modern application user interfaces, efficient workflows, built upon industrial cloud platforms by Microsoft Dynamics 365

  • Real-time, device independence and OS agnostic for flexibility

  • Fast and cost-effective deployments

  • Work when, where, and how your business and customer’s demand

  • Reduces IT infrastructure/people dependencies and focuses on business processes and efficiencies

  • Simplified reporting and data extractions for enhanced reporting capabilities.

  • Highly visual, touchscreen, and multi-language support

  • Excellent support

  • Built specific to baking and snack industries, includes required features out of the box


Company: QAD

Website: www.qad.com

Logistics Snapshot: QAD’s Food and Beverage solutions for ERP, manufacturing, supply chain, quality and transportation management are designed to enable manufacturers to selectively apply financial, planning, and operations capabilities to adapt in the face of disruption and build a stronger business, says Dombroski. QAD offers a digital ERP for snack food and bakery manufacturers.

Top Features:

  • Manufacturing ERP designed to meet the specific needs of food and beverage manufacturers with features for the expanded sub-vertical segments

  • Fast and dependable implementations with QAD Effective onboarding

  • QAD Adaptive ERP makes it easy to develop and deploy extensions and new applications to support manufacturer-specific processes and data. Developers can extend existing capabilities and build new apps using a low code/no code development environment that, unlike intrusive customizations, does not introduce rigidity that interferes with future upgrades. 

  • QAD Adaptive ERP is designed perfectly to be implemented and deployed in a Snack food and/or Bakery manufacturing environment. It is designed to address changing business conditions. This approach maximizes the return on investment and ongoing investment in ERP and supply chain software.

  • QAD Adaptive ERP provides a comprehensive solution that supports most core business processes and operations in today’s snack food and bakery businesses reducing the number of required add-ons which will lower software costs and total cost of ownership.

  • Designed with today’s food manufacturer in mind with industry process maps, processes, and nomenclature

  • The intuitive web-based user experience, with native mobile access speeds up onboarding and enhances user productivity by providing personalization to address changing roles and user preferences

  • Decision makers have access to real-time insight, helping them make better decisions using embedded analytics

  • QAD internationalization reduces country level tax compliance risk