Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are being employed more often in the meat process space, as the business operations have become more complex Even though generic ERP applications can be used, they usually do not meet the business requirements of meat processors. This has led to the development of a more specific application, such as meat ERP software. These types of applications are available in different forms and a vendor should consider the unique requirements when selecting one to use for their business. The main aim for the development of ERP applications is to improve compliance, processes, and the profitability of meat processing businesses.
Examples of the key capabilities of the ERP software include:
- Inventory management and accounting
- Capability to measure the scale production, yields, and costs of all products.
- Compatibility with other technologies that enable cooperation, enhanced visibility, and system interoperability.
- Ability to trace and track the meat, ingredients, and any other products through mock calls and product recall.
- Access the effect of shelf life, standard weight and expiry date, and other various characteristics.
- Update the enterprise on the changing rules and regulations regarding quality, safety, consumer standards, and partner demands.
This process-oriented application has configurations that help map the processes involved in meat processing: quality check, instructions, material input and output, and labour requirements. Some of the applications provide an advanced recipe that allows a meat vendor to connect different recipes hence defining the flow of all processes involved in inventory, costing, manufacturing, planning, and inventory points activities. Broad-based applications and recipe-oriented applications both have varying functional capabilities and designs. The recently developed broad-based applications however claim to be able to support billing of materials. The selection of the best ERP applications that suits the needs of a specific vendor requires analysis and comparison of critical factors of the software choices available.
Meat processors have strict industry regulations and compliance is a significant challenge. Having an automated process for handling recalls and issues is vital for a business to survive.
No software is perfect, but ERP systems have come along way.
Challenges faced when using ERP applications:
- Materials tracking and tracing from the supplier receipts to the client.
- Inventory management of standard weights and catchweight.
- Comparison and tracking of standard yields and the actual yields.
- Measurement and comparison of quality results obtained with those of compliance limits.
- Large volume inventory transactions management
ERP applications utilize both routing and multilevel instructions to manages the processes. The file used is one for all the processes hence requires minimum maintenance and ensures instructions are synched hence improved production. Advanced recipe-based applications can run two or more processes side by side. The application also transfers one intermediate inventory from one process to another for adjustments and routing. The meat processing stages also lead to several outputs, products and by-products hence multiple quantities need to be input. Broad-based software is therefore not preferable when there are numerous inputs since they only allow one input. The manufacturing-based software is best for the disassembly of processes and support defining all the processes from the start to the end of the meat processing. Meat processors, therefore, benefit from ERP software to comply and meet consumer demands.