How Sage helps food manufacturers expertly juggle labour, resources and schedules
This post explores how Sage X3/Enterprise Management improves the planning and work that happens behind the scenes when bringing food and drinks to market.
Everybody needs nourishment, and a growing population means more ‘bodies’ that need to be fed. Additionally, Aussies now think differently about food: they’re more interested in cooking, taste, health benefits, and unique experiences when eating out.
It’s no wonder food and beverage production represents the largest sector in the Australian manufacturing industry. The sector is worth in excess of $130 billion to the local economy and accounts for almost 40 percent of Australian manufacturing jobs.
Many of Australia’s most successful food and beverage companies are involved in the production of meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables, seafood, wine, and baked goods. Of course, many other kinds of products are also made locally, including soft drinks, frozen meals, and packaged goods like sauces, breakfast cereals, and biscuits.
What does it take to bring food and drinks to market?
The work involved in processing food varies depending on the end product. There’s a significant difference between an agribusiness that harvests and grades nuts for sale compared to the process for a major bread manufacturer who follows recipes and steps including mixing, fermenting, baking and cooling bread.
But there are common requirements when it comes to managing labour, resources and production schedules, which are essential for running a cost-effective operation and the timely delivery of goods to customers.
All food and beverage manufacturers need to:
- stay on top of orders and demand;
- purchase the right amount of inputs or ingredients at the right time;
- coordinate people and equipment to match processes;
- and operate efficiently with minimal downtime.
That highlights the importance of integrated business systems. An enterprise-wide solution that savvy food processors will benefit from is Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management (a.k.a. Sage X3).
MRP for better visibility of what to purchase and when
A comprehensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, Sage X3/Enterprise Management creates a centralised repository of data about your business, and improves automation and workflows across different parts of your operation.
It cleverly enables food processors to reliably forecast demand, and then quickly see exactly what’s needed to make enough products to satisfy customers.
So for example, let’s say a company needs to produce ‘X number’ of jars of mayonnaise. Using Sage X3/Enterprise Management’s Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) tool you can:
- Explode the Bill of Materials into the ingredients/components required and the system can determine the quantities of different materials that should be purchased.
- Accurately time your purchasing: based on expected sales in July and a two month lead time, the system will alert you in May that purchasing should occur to ensure supplies arrive in time.
Forward visibility not only helps you execute smart purchasing to avoid shortfalls that hold up production, but it also ensures you can reduce the cost of inventory and inputs. When you’re more confident about aligning purchasing and demand, you don’t need to sink money into raw materials that will sit idly on your shelves for many months.
Capacity planning and more control over production schedules
Sage X3/Enterprise Management makes it easier to perfectly plan and orchestrate production processes while overcoming capacity constraints.
In the case of our hypothetical mayonnaise manufacturer, the production line might include mixing ingredients in large vats before transferring the liquid to a filling line to be bottled, and then another line or facility where jars are packaged into cartons.
Each ‘work centre’ can be identified and managed within the Sage ERP, vastly improving your ability to juggle work and people to make things more effectively.
For instance, the system can show that it takes 20 minutes to mix ingredients in the vat and you’ll need two people to operate the machinery, and then a 10 minute waiting time to let the mixture cool. The second ‘work station’—filling jars—might require three people and take at least 5 minutes per 100 jars.
Instead of rolling out a whiteboard and trying to manually schedule tasks and personnel, you can use Sage X3/Enterprise Management Production Scheduler feature to see all the information at a glance, reorganise and plan work with ease. Your current work orders appear on the screen in a sequence based on delivery dates and work centres that are at risk of being over capacity are highlighted so you can’t miss them.
A spike in urgent mayonnaise orders might mean more time is needed on the vats than you have the capacity to schedule—Sage X3/Enterprise Management alerts you so you can make decisions about whether to run overtime, sub-contract some work, or maybe run some excess through a different facility that takes a bit longer, or delay production (usually a last resort).
You can use the interface to drag and drop jobs and resources to meet your needs. The system will rearrange the associated production dates and orders in line with the changes you make.
Improve every day with more information and oversight
Food and beverage manufacturers need to understand how effective and profitable their processes are, so they can continue to refine and improve. Working from a single database with connected data flows in Sage X3/Enterprise Management gives business leaders the insights they need.
The solution is configured to your unique processes and parameters. When a critical value slips below the required benchmark, your team is alerted so corrections can be made. You can generate reports that compare actuals to the planned production routes and timings in the system, that can help you adjust your recipes or procedures to increase efficiency.
Aussies (and export markets alike) are hungry for Australian-made fresh produce, and nutritious, tasty and high-quality products. Satisfy appetites—and your business goals—by adopting Sage X3/Enterprise Management for more precise resourcing and work planning.
Leverage Technologies is an experienced and highly successful Sage X3 implementation partner. Contact us to discover more.
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