Food trends come and go, but people will always expect freshness: this post delves into the shelf life management functionality of Sage X3/Enterprise Management. 

Knowing the freshness and viability of raw ingredients and finished products is essential across the entire food production value chain. 

Shelf life has a huge impact on wastage and therefore costs. It also adds to the complexity of production, inventory management, and sales for food and beverage manufacturers, importers, and distributors.

Meeting the needs of your customers and end-consumers hinges on food safety—which requires optimising first-in-first-out (FIFO) management strategies, expiry dates and effective stock rotation practices to ensure you optimize shelf life for you and your customers. 

Underpinning these efforts are business systems that enable you to monitor and manage shelf life and product quality. Sage X3/Enterprise Management is made with food manufacturers and distributors in mind which means shelf life management is a core aspect of the solution’s make-up.

Fool-proof shelf life management throughout the supply chain with Sage

 3 Ways to transform the shelf life for food and beverage productionDate marking responsibility starts with manufacturers but how effectively you store and move perishable and processed goods is a concern at every stage of the supply chain. 

Why? Because consumers expect fresh food. Research out of the UK shows that best-before dates contribute to consumers’ confidence and trust in the quality of goods, and guide purchasing decisions. 

Shelf life management is a standard feature of Sage X3/Enterprise Management because it’s an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution tailored to the food processing and food distribution industry

Here are three key ways Sage Enterprise Management supports you to expertly manage shelf life and the movement of stock:

1. Manage and re-test ingredients more effectively: 

The shelf life of raw materials used to produce food and beverages is a key concern for manufacturers. Some items (frozen goods for example) might remain in your storage area for months before they’re issued to a production run. Sage X3/Enterprise Management allows you to monitor the validity and quality of ingredients/materials from the moment they’re receipted. 

When you create the item in the system you can nominate to check it at regular intervals, and the system will alert you when testing is due. You can also define testing protocols so it’s simpler to manage critical control points. You might want to test the pH, viscosity, temperature and other parameters. Sage X3/Enterprise Management allows you to set the types of response or record required, e.g., a yes/no question, a range between 7-14. 

2. Manage best before requirements by customer and categories:

As soon as production processes are complete, depending on the length of shelf life you entered for the item in the product master record, the system will calculate the remaining shelf life of the finished goods. 

When Sage X3/Enterprise Management is implemented and configured for your unique business workflows, you can create a range of rules and alerts to help you manage and monitor inventory based on shelf life across all of your warehouses. You can create a rule template for product categories, allowing you to quickly apply the same shelf life conditions for new products you add of the same nature.

You can refine customer-based rules. For instance, you might deal with a large retailer that demands at least 20 days of shelf life for a particular product. Sage X3 /Enterprise Management will select the relevant lots you can dispatch to meet the customer’s requirements. 

3. Proactively monitor and move expiring stock: 

Using the rules-based control that Sage X3 /Enterprise Management offers, you can ensure that inventory expiry dates don’t cost you money through dead stock that can’t be sold. The system can be set-up to alert you when the remaining shelf life of stock falls below certain thresholds. If you have a large volume or variety of products, a systematic approach is essential to keep on top of the multitude of dates involved. 

If a product hasn’t sold as well as it usually does, you might not notice that its shelf life is running out until too late. When you use Sage X3 /Enterprise Management you’ll know in advance and can easily implement sales and promotional tactics to move products well before expiry dates and make a profit, or at least recoup costs. 

Stock traceability is one of the key cornerstones of HACCP management. If there is a stock recall you will be required to manage multiple components of the product recall:

  • Who was the product sold to?
  • What other customers might be effected?
  • Is there any chance of cross continuation to other products?
  • Was the product used as a raw material or sub-assembly in any other products?
  • Where and when were the raw materials purchased and have those raw materials been used to manufacture any other products 

To this point, “where used” reports are critical to help identify areas of risk. 

Bringing multiple areas of information together – quality assurance, shelf life management, ingredient management and HACCP reporting for traceability will be made easier with a complete ERP solution form Sage.

Sage X3 /Enterprise Management helps you manage shelf life throughout your whole enterprise. Whether you’re interested in the freshness of stock at the point of production, warehousing, fulfilment, or sales—the solution enables you to meet customer demand for high quality, unspoilt food and beverages. 

Unify your systems to take control of shelf life management with the Sage X3/Enterprise Management ERP. Phone us on 1300 045 046 or email

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