SYSPRO’s association with process manufacturers is long standing, and we continue to enjoy significant growth in our food and beverage customer base. I tend to think that we attract food and beverage customers with our industry-specific functionalities, our service, and the modular, cost-effective nature of our offering. SYSPRO’s enviable track record of retaining customers through periods of growth I credit to the scalability of our solutions, and to the dedication of our service representatives.
In my last blog, I discussed ways that food and beverage companies use SYSPRO to optimize traceability and trade promotions. Today I’m going to move on to cost control and inventory optimization, and finish up with a short discussion of the Cloud.
It’s easy for costs to skyrocket, and the reasons are not always obvious. SYSPRO, integrated across an entire food and beverage company, provides 360-degree visibility into every facet of accounting, distribution and operations, unveiling important insights into metrics such as job cost performance, margins and pricing. Process manufacturers often utilize LEAN methodologies, and SYSPRO’s 360-degree visibility gives manufacturers the power to go LEAN, further their LEAN aspirations, or simply streamline and optimize their value chain.
End-to-end costing analysis allows manufacturers to assign more accurate production and overhead costs, and creates opportunities to eliminate redundancies, initiate improvement plans, and minimize non-value-add activities. SYSPRO can also facilitate the automation of processes that used to eat up surprising amounts of time, labor and resources, such as reconciliations, communications, paper-based documentation, etc. With an accurate picture of costs, it becomes easier to maximize profitability, even in a low margin environment.
SYSPRO’s bill of materials (BOM) provides detailed costing and an expected cost at each level of a production run. The Work in Progress (WIP) module, used in conjunction with the BOM, allows for the comparison of expected versus actual costs, often revealing realistic targets for cost savings.
One of my favorite SYSPRO tools is the Executive Dashboard. Dashboards are highly configurable, and give executives an ‘at-a-glance’ summary of complex information. In the office, at home, or on the road, dashboards allow managers to monitor key performance indicators (KPI) in real time. In addition, our ‘what-if’ costing features make it easy to compare the cost effects of different raw materials, production routes and labor rates. In a business environment as fast-paced and constantly changing as food and beverage, dashboards can quickly resolve food and beverage manufacturing challenges by shortening reaction time and decision-making, heightening agility and giving the company a competitive edge.
One of the biggest balancing acts in manufacturing is inventory management, with some companies carrying as much as 50% of their capital in inventory. Those making proper use of SYSPRO, however, are usually able to minimize their inventory investment, while still maintaining appropriate levels of stock for demand management capability.
The inventory managers I know appreciate the fact that SYSPRO helps to determine optimum levels for basic, seasonal and safety stock, by factoring in metrics such as target service levels, depletion rate, order lead-time and standard demand deviation. By connecting the inventory system to Order Entry, book inventory becomes an exact image of real inventory, providing unprecedented control over inventory and its associated costs. In addition, SYSPRO is an enormous help in enforcing a FIFO (first in-first-out) methodology, and in tracking expired product.
SYSPRO Inventory Forecasting predicts future sales based on historic demand. With Forecasting, managers can identify important products based on factors such as sales value, gross profit, quantity sold and cost of sales. In my experience, Pareto analysis – the famous 80/20 rule – can really help clear the cobwebs from an outmoded view of a company’s inventory management.
Transformation on the Cloud
By now, you are probably aware that the Cloud can save money on capital expenditures. Not needing a server room, servers, and a high-paid IT department can be a major relief to the old P&L. There is also no doubt that the Cloud provides food and beverage companies with efficiencies that help them to scale. Efficiency and cost reduction, however, are only part of the picture when it comes to Cloud services.
We’ve all read articles, some of them verging on science fiction, about the oncoming ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’. Whether you buy into the vision or not, there’s absolutely no doubt that manufacturing is changing to embrace new technologies, including automation, artificial intelligence, robots, blockchain (or blockchain-type technologies) and the Internet of Things. It is time, I think, to talk about the Cloud as an enabler of business transformation.
In the last few decades of the 20th century, companies made the choice to stick with their old, manual methodologies, or to join the IT revolution. Those that chose to transform were more likely to thrive. Of those companies that chose not to transform, very few are still around. In my opinion, we are now sailing similar seas – most companies cannot afford to ignore the advantages that accrue on the Cloud. Fortunately, SYSPRO ERP Cloud Services has been designed to provide a seamless, painless and profitable transition into the new manufacturing paradigm.