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Why ERP Software Falls Flat with Food Safety Regulations
Mike Koeris

By: Mike Koeris on November 28th, 2018

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Why ERP Software Falls Flat with Food Safety Regulations

Food Safety Software

As a food safety manager, you probably worry about what does and doesn’t go on when you’re not around. That’s because there’s more on the line than just business output and operations. If the entire plant structure – from your people to your processes – is not focused on meeting food safety regulations and consumer standards, you’re vulnerable to experiencing serious noncompliance penalties, costly recalls, and reputational risk. But if you assume that ERP software is the answer, keep reading.   

At a time when data management and analysis have become so critical for food and beverage manufacturers, ERP software is often a go-to solution. However, unless your software is garnering full visibility across your facilities, departments, and supply chain, as well as supporting your food safety plan with accessibility and ease of use, it’s not what you need to stay compliant with regulations and protect your brand.

Some ERP systems can even impede your efforts with overly complicated protocols that don’t target food safety specifically. To help you make the best decision for your organization, we’re shedding light on some of the most significant areas where ERP software is insufficient for complying with food safety regulations, and what you can do to reduce risk while improving operations.


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Detailed Visibility into Your Floor Plans

An ERP may help automate business management in areas like inventory, logistics, and production, but it doesn’t provide at-a-glance floor plan mapping for assessing the state of your plant(s). In order for food safety teams to be truly effective, they require the kind of visual tools that improve communication and compliance throughout the organization. They need solutions for accelerating reaction time to non-conformances, and for speeding up the path back to production uptime.

The FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has transformed the industry and urged companies to shift their programs based on more preventive approaches. The “modernization” piece has led many organizations to employ a technological solution that fosters deep visibility into their operations. To adopt the necessary preventive measures for monitoring, corrective action, and verification, your team must be able to see the entire facility in a way that clearly illustrates the status of these elements.

Only a solution designed specifically for real-time tracking, organization, and accessibility of food safety data can support the required level of visibility. This is one major area where ERP software misses the mark. Unlike proactive food safety software, ERP systems do not inherently feature the ability to highlight color-coded test points on your plant’s floor so you can visually evaluate the current conditions in one glance.

In ascertaining the state of your food safety program, it can also be helpful to view certain periods of time. A food safety software with a dynamic slider lets you travel to a specific period of time and view only the results during that period. This enables insight before and after certain events, allows comparisons of seasons and may help you track down the harborage source.


Systematized Scheduling of Testing Points

A strong environmental testing program requires the ability to select appropriate sampling points and test them on a regular basis. To accomplish this, it’s essential to construct schedules using your business rules and best practices, focusing on components like zone coverage, randomization, regularity, retesting, timing and sampling order.

An ERP system does not have the capability to generate schedules that support your company's environmental testing plan. ERP software manages a broad range of data functionality for operational efficiency, but only a food safety solution with the means to enable testing schedule randomization can ensure the kind of optimal testing point coverage to meet stringent regulatory standards.

If your goal is to implement a proactive approach to food safety (which is mandated by modern regulations), you must be able to add test points from multiple zones or areas of the plant in a randomized fashion. To make this easier, consider a food safety solution that allows you to build a schedule “scenario” based on your business rules so that it can be used over and over again. Saved scenarios make the process of building recurring schedules much more efficient and effective, an advantage that ERP software doesn’t have the specificity and advanced features to provide.


Full-Circle Management of Corrective Actions

A dynamic and thorough HACCP program is critical to minimizing your manufacturing company’s compliance risk. One of the seven core principles of HACCP is to establish corrective actions. In the event that any predetermined critical limits are exceeded, a robust corrective action process should be in place to ensure that there is no risk to customers and consumers and that the root cause is identified and remediated to prevent future occurrence.

Corrective actions and data points that go undocumented or unseen can cause major food safety complications down the road. Without complete visibility and dynamic management controls, your company is not equipped to meet compliance standards and minimize the risk of food safety liabilities.

Simply put, ERP systems do not set up workflows and automatically notify stakeholders of corrective action events based on your own internal policies. They do not allow for each step in the process to be recorded and time-stamped as a corrective action moves toward completion. Food safety software leverages features that enable this level of transparency and management, removing human error from today’s manual sampling and testing processes for food safety and quality assurance.


Food Safety-Specific Design

Ultimately, ERP systems are not delivered with built-in food safety workflow, performance management, and analytics platforms. Even though ERP software may offer a number of benefits, it does not provide all the features your operation requires to meet heightened food safety regulations.

ERPs are built for general business use and require a significant amount of customization to be adapted to a food safety environment. But customized software could incur millions of dollars in development costs, and it may still lack the kind of industry-specific functionality a food safety and compliance program really needs.

Before breaking your budget on a risky software development project, consider leveraging a purpose-built solution that manages food safety workflow, performance and analytics out of the box. Software that supports visibility, communication, and automation is fundamental to carrying out a compliant food safety plan.

Innovative technology like the CONTROL software comes with all the necessary food safety features to address explicit floor plan and scheduling requirements, as well as successfully manage testing data and corrective actions. Further supporting this solution, the powerful INSIGHTS visualization and reporting module gives you an instant snapshot of the health and performance of your production sites, lending real visibility to trends and hotspots across all of your plants in order to inform your efforts to optimize your food safety program.

Compliance with food safety regulations is a serious obligation, one that could have you worrying about the state of your facilities and the actions of your team on a day-to-day (or minute-to-minute!) basis. ERP software is not designed to ease this concern or shoulder the burden of food safety compliance responsibilities. Save your organization from the risks of noncompliance that relying on an ERP system for food safety management can present, and opt instead for a food safety-specific solution that delivers all of the mind-freeing functionality you need.

For more detailed information about leading-edge food safety software that improves operational efficiency and minimizes compliance risk, download your free guide now.


How Do You Reduce the Risk of Noncompliance?

Discover the food safety software you need right now.

Get My Free Guide

About Mike Koeris

Dr. Koeris is co-founder of Sample6/Corvium and BiotechStart.org, a non-profit in the Biotech / Lifesciences arena. Michael specializes in development and innovation within biotechnology, startups, venture capital, technology transfer, management consulting, and is an avid basketball fan and master of the pick 'n roll.