Warehouse software is important for snack and bakery companies, in order to keep track of the comings and goings of products inside their warehouses.
“There are more challenges than ever today in the warehousing market, from volatility in the transportation market to limited availability of warehouse labor to an increase in customer expectations. These challenges create a massive need to drive operational excellence inside distribution centers. Yet, processes inside the warehouse are highly fragmented, with operational decisions made by manual planners leveraging tribal knowledge,” says Keith Moore, chief product officer, AutoScheduler.AI, Austin, TX.
“To effectively manage a site, the era has arrived. It is imperative that companies automate all operational warehouse decision-making in a capacity-considerate way, freeing up people to fight the fires that pop up. This autopilot planning system leads to indirect labor savings, increased fill rate, increased load on time, and productivity improvements across direct labor by optimizing the work historically released and executed by warehouse operators,” he says.
Matt Heerey, president of manufacturing division, ECI Software Solutions, Fort Worth, TX, says that warehouse software solutions are imperative for snack and bakery companies, which need complete transparency and strict process control in order to keep up with regulatory compliance and traceability challenges.
“Software solutions that provide snack and bakery companies with an end-to-end view of their business and real-time data are best suited to help protect businesses against the “costs of being wrong”—that is, the expenses associated with mistakes,” he explains.
“With quality control ‘holds’ throughout production, Deacom ERP helps food manufacturers manage quality, identify ingredient issues, and catch errors early so that necessary adjustments can be made on the spot—before the product ships out the door. By preventing production and quality control steps from ever being bypassed, manufacturers can keep costly risks—including legal claims, recalls, low customer satisfaction, and removal from preferred supplier lists—in check,” Heerey adds.
Warehouse and ERP systems that lack flexibility can really hold businesses back, especially in today’s world, he notes.
“Bergin Fruit and Nut Company learned this firsthand during the pandemic, a period in which the company's business was turned upside down. Two-fifths (40%) of Bergin’s sales were in bulk—the rest were in packaged goods. As you can imagine, it was very difficult to sell bulk items while we were dealing with social distancing and stay-at-home orders. Instead of selling to restaurants that weren't open or were limited to take-out operations, Bergin needed to pivot quickly,” Heerey shares.
“With Deacom ERP, Bergin was able to adjust its product mix from 60% packaged items to 90% packaged items. Almost half of its bulk business was then moved to other product lines, and Bergin introduced new labeling and packaging strategies to satisfy its customers without sacrificing shelf life and quality requirements. Deacom ERP’s native Warehouse Management System (WMS) proved to be a vital solution that ensured Bergin’s rigorous quality control standards were met even as the company ramped up small-batch manufacturing products as a result of customer demand changes,” he finishes.
Brent Forden, vice president, product management, Körber Supply Chain Software, Minneapolis, MI, says that in bakery, FIFO and code dating/best by/expiry is essential to maintaining freshness and consistent consumer expectations.
“Warehouse software can help facilities optimize the fulfilment of the goods they have on hand with FIFO while also utilizing interleaving logic to keep their associates moving product in an intentionally optimized manner. Warehouse software has the ability to stage SKUs in proximity based on frequency of access and demand, as well as to anticipate crossdocking opportunities to keep inventory levels low and turn rates high,” he says.
“These are all components that lend themselves to increased customer satisfaction in the food and beverage space where freshness and time to market/shelf is paramount.”
Moore says that one of the biggest challenges inside of a distribution center is getting the level of visibility necessary to identify where you are potentially at risk.
“Software tools such as Longbow Advantage's Rebus platform help with that, integrating with numerous different types of systems like warehouse management systems to present all warehousing data in real time so that decisions can be made to ensure compliance. With these visibility systems, you also have complete traceability of your inventory and up to date knowledge of every item in the building,” he adds.
Nathan Brown, CEO, EVS LLC, Westminster, CO, agrees. He says: “Real-time inventory visibility is fundamental to operational improvements. You need to know exactly what inventory you have, right now, and where it is. Once you have that, software can automate pick paths, organize work, and direct users to increase efficiency.”
“Any time spent walking around and looking for stock is wasted time. Real-time warehouse software also eliminates errors at the point of work. The software gives your workers guardrails and helps them do the right thing quickly.”
Logistics Snapshot: AutoScheduler.AI is a supply chain analytics company focused on distribution center optimization that accelerates existing WMS capabilities with Intelligent Warehouse Orchestration. AutoScheduler's powerful yet intuitive platform helps streamline operations across facilities by seamlessly integrating with existing WMS and ERP systems.
The company says that customers gain a combined planning and execution system capable of integrating with any WMS, allowing the warehouse site to go on “autopilot.” With the use of advanced digital twin and artificial intelligence technology found in AutoScheduler.AI, users' locations become more efficient through automated decision-making based on constraints within the warehouse environment.
“The WMS is not the problem, but a WMS doesn’t do everything that companies need to keep up with today’s market,” said Moore. “There is too much going on within operations for any one planner to keep up. The only way a business will ever meet its customer schedules and requirements are to invest fully in digitizing and automating operations.”
- Dynamic dock scheduling, level loading labor
- Balances inventory overflow
- Proactively cross-docking
- Eliminates redundant workforce allocation
- Adds prescription analytics and drive efficiencies
- New update: AutoPilot
- WMS reduces planning time by 97%
- Increases productivity per headcount by 16%
- Reduces inventory waste by 13%
- Reduces intra-campus transportation costs by 31%
- Double cross-docking utilization
Company: FlexiBake ERP
Logistics Snapshot: Erin Conick, senior implementation specialist, says FlexiBake’s warehousing module offers an organized and efficient way to manage raw material and product inventory between multiple storage facilities and warehouses. Customers can receive their raw materials to any remote warehouse, or transfer between warehouses as necessary. Inventory transfers also allow for your Products to be stored at the ideal location for when it comes time to ship. Lastly, FlexiBake’s in depth reporting abilities are quick and accurate, providing customers with real-time data on all inventory levels.
- Lot tracking and product traceability
- Raw material to finished product movement can be easily tracked at multiple facilities.
- Each step from start to finish can be tracked, in case of an audit or recall
- Warehousing module can easily store and transfer inventory at multiple locations, eliminating the need to manually track on spreadsheets
Company: Deacom Inc.
Logistics Snapshot: Heerey says it is vital for manufacturers to meet compliance and traceability regulatory requirements, so [they] designed Deacom ERP’s track and trace lot control capabilities to fulfill that very need. “We also wanted to ensure that it is flexible enough to quickly support new regulations as they're introduced, allowing manufacturers to continue driving their businesses forward without skipping a beat,” he says.
Deacom ERP allows manufacturers to react quickly and precisely to immediately rectify crises, such as recalls, with forward and backwards traceability (between supplier and customer). Better still, manufacturers can identify specific products and customers affected by a lot quality issue and take corrective action today, not days, weeks, or months from now. The ERP delivers valuable and reliable information to retailers and consumers by leveraging data (quality, transactions, batches, nutrition facts, etc.) that travels with the product throughout the supply.
“We make it easy to manage quality, identify ingredient issues, and catch errors early so necessary adjustments can be made on the spot—before the product ships out the door,” he says.
- Real-time information, strict process controls
- Native quality control provides manufacturers with the ability to leverage a structured approach to maintain quality and food safety data by setting up QC measures and comparing them with actual QC results
- Reduces prep time for audits by providing audit reports based on operational production data
- Can provide data such as farming feed, medication, laboratory time, or temperature measurements
Company: EVS LLC
Logistics Snapshot: Nathan Brown, CEO, EVS LLC, Westminster, CO, says that in addition to mobe3 WMS, EVS now offers unprecedented industrial indoor visibility with mobe3 Live. mobe3 Live provides a real-time map view of the warehouse that can show worker locations, equipment location, and events- all on an Apple map. mobe3 Live leverages Apple’s Indoor Positioning technology, meaning users can access accurate real-time indoor location with their existing Wi-Fi infrastructure.
- Real-time visibility and full accountability for each transaction, supplying radical traceability down to the lot and pallet level
- This visibility allows businesses to central control of QC holds and administration
- Full multi-level forwards and backwards inventory trace capability, from materials to shipments or from shipments to materials
Logistics Snapshot: Forden says that its warehouse offering releases new functionality a couple times a year.
“Most recently we’ve added additional labor functionality to help organizations do more with staff and coach them on best practices in productivity. We’ve also added in putwall functionality to base and picking to Totes. This is for those addressing parcel level distribution needs who may not have automation readily available in their facility yet,” he notes.
“Every item has an associated lot or batch, and serial number. Each transaction is maintained so if an organization needed to seek out a particular case or pallet, it can be quickly identified and isolated. Additionally, our Hold/Recall functionality is [family-structured]. We can link relationships like a raw ingredient from a particular batch or lot that is in a formulated item—such as cheese that might be in a facility in both raw format as well as part of a pizza, pasta, or other item. If there’s a need to trace back that particular raw ingredient, items that were formulated using it can be identified and isolated as needed,” Forden adds
- Additional labor functionality and putwall functionality
- Individual lot/batch/serial number for each item
- Hold/Recall functionality
- Combines warehouse management software with solutions for DSD
- Options for full lot/batch tracking at the point of delivery at the last mile, or from warehouse onto delivery truck, for any tiem market with a Lot Code
- Items can be placed in “retrieval” mode, at which time the user can record retrieval of products and offer a credit to the customer