By Bryan Ball
Vice President and Group Director
Supply Chain and Global Supply Management Practices
Managing FSMA compliance requirements, while ensuring quality and improving performance, are critical priorities for all Food and Beverage (F&B) manufacturers. Ensuring FSMA compliance without sacrificing performance or product quality requires:
- Standardized processes across the enterprise for consistency and control
- Visibility into quality data at every operation and traceability from suppliers to the end customer.
- A central repository of relevant compliance laws and regulations to stay current with changes in requirements, making sure it is accessible to employees, regulators and partners.
- Ensuring that enterprise systems like ERP, QMS, CRM, SCM, MOM/MES, WMS, and TMS are integrated and interoperable.
To meet these requirements, Leaders are proactive and attentive to compliance requirements in virtually all aspects of their operations, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Critical Process Capabilities for Food and Beverage Manufacturers
To minimize, and ideally, eliminate any unknown variables that could affect compliance, Leaders have standardized their processes across their organization. With a 94% adoption rate, they are 62% more likely than Followers to have standardization in place, giving them a significant competitive advantage. Standardization breeds consistency across the organization — it leads to automation opportunities once processes are documented and standardized and greatly reduces the likelihood of errors.
Having full visibility into all quality data provides an early warning of any possible deviations or out-of-tolerance conditions at the equipment or product level that could potentially lead to an issue. However, this real-time visibility requires system integration between all enterprise applications.
Traceability in F&B is an essential requirement. The challenge it presents however, is incorporating it into all the existing processes so that the systems can provide the traceability data, rather than having an offline process that relies on highly inefficient and error-prone manual spreadsheets. Integration between and across enterprise systems is needed to breakdown the silos of information and eliminate manual tracking by providing the tracking and tracing within the ERP system of record.
In addition to integration and interoperability between applications, there is a need to have a centralized repository of compliance laws, regulations, and amendments with rigid controls that define compliance and reporting requirements, along with any exception management processes. This repository should be accessible across the organization to all employees involved in compliance, along with suppliers, customers, and regulators who are constantly seeking data and documentation for compliance purposes. Without a centralized repository, additional resources must be dedicated to maintaining the data, managing the changes, and providing information to all parties involved. Any manual or decentralized process opens the door for disconnects and miscommunications that lead to breakdowns in quality and compliance.
Leaders Have Integrated
Having manufacturing operations closely integrated with key process and solution components such as order management, supply chain, warehouse, and transportation greatly improves the tracking and traceability through all operations and functions of an enterprise and is what most manufacturing companies strive for, as opposed to some external tracking system that is typically manual or spreadsheet driven. Table 1 shows the greater adoption levels of integration for Users compared to Non-Users for major enterprise solution components.
Table 1: Integration Adoption by Maturity Level
Whether part of the baseline ERP or an extension of the baseline ERP, the solutions identified above cover the processes from the supplier to the customer for F&B manufacturers, representing an end-to-end process coverage. The connectivity and interoperability of these solutions provide the formal tracking and traceability of the product from beginning to end, starting at the supplier all the way to the customer.
The food and beverage industry has undergone many changes, and there are critical capabilities that a F&B company’s ERP system should provide. With compliance being a requirement, the key elements to enable compliance are visibility and traceability across the enterprise for quality and processes. To establish this level of visibility and traceability, integration and interoperability across and between all enterprise applications are a critical technology foundation that must be in place to provide fundamental connectivity. Falling behind on the latest technology or current release may mean that the level of integration slips, causing visibility and/or traceability to suffer. F&B businesses must constantly stay in compliance and remain vigilant to maintain a highly-integrated technology environment, providing visibility and compliance that is essential to F&B companies.