Food manufacturers inevitably encounter the question of whether to add a WMS or deploy more functionality in their existing ERP. It is tempting to opt to deploy the ERP’s functionality as then there remains only one vendor responsible and integration should not be an issue. However, it isn’t as clear cut in practice.
Some ERPs have added warehouse features but cannot provide the depth of functionality available in a stand-alone WMS. These ERP warehousing applications may lack complexity in sales order allocation and release, which can have a big impact on productivity. They usually have limited hand-held device and voice capabilities, and cannot manage lot tracking up and down the supply chain.
In recent years, some ERP suppliers have gobbled up WMS providers and bolted these solutions onto their ERPs. In theory, integration has been completed but this is not always as seamless as advertised. Any modifications that a food manufacturer has already made to their ERP could potentially complicate an out-of-the-box integration.
A common pitfall that food companies encounter when deploying their ERP’s warehousing functionality is addressing functional gaps with custom modifications. Countless food companies across North America have nickel and dimed their way into vastly expensive WMS solutions by building modification on top of modification to their ERP. These expensive, Frankenstein systems are a ticking time bomb in terms of future upgrades.
To avoid that pitfall, treat the WMS question as a new investment regardless of whether it deployed the ERP’s WMS functionality or a stand-alone system. Invite your ERP provider to be part of the selection process.
KEY WMS FUNCTIONALITY FOR A FOOD PRODUCER:
- Quality Control on Raw Materials and Packaging
- Pulling Raw Materials and Packaging for a Work Order
- Consuming Raw Materials in a Work Order
- Returning Raw Material Balances & Determining Yield
- Producing Finished Goods
- Quality Control on Produced Goods
- Storage & Picking of Finished Goods
- Inventory Control
- Lot Tracking & Traceability
- Recall Reporting & Compliance
Interested in learning more? Download LIDD’s eBook An Introduction to the IT Application Park for Food Manufacturers.