How ERP helps food manufacturers be sustainable and manage costs

August 9, 2022
By Harvest

Sustainability is a hot-button topic for consumers, and they are paying close attention to where their food is coming from and how it is produced. In addition, consumers are increasingly expecting businesses to step up as well, especially when it comes to issues of climate change and the environment.

Not only do consumers want to make sure that your ingredients are sourced sustainably, they want to make sure that your cardboard and plastic is not just going into the landfill. 46% of consumers willing to pay more for a food product if it was presented in packaging that’s better for the environment than plastic. The additional bonus being not further contributing to landfills – in 2017, food packaging made up 80.1 million tons of municipal solid waste.

Many food manufacturers are aware of these fast evolving consumer trends and are responding accordingly. Recently, Danone North America, Mars, Nestlé USA, and Unilever USA joined forces to tackle environmental issues through a partnership called the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance.

Carbon neutrality is yet another metric food and beverage manufacturers need to add to their growing list to keep track of. Companies like Walmart, Kroeger and Target have had internal measures for sustainability, but they are now expanding the scope and pushing those out to their vendors as well. Walmart has created The Walmart Sustainability Hub for their suppliers to access resources to collaborate with Walmart, join initiatives or review best practices to take the next step of your sustainability journey.



How can ERP software built especially for food manufacturers help in a journey towards being a more sustainable business?


Tracking reusable materials

Packaging is essential for food manufacturers, but there are components that can be repurposed or reused. Tracking plastic baskets, trays, cartons, containers, things of value, reusable pallets helps ensure that there are more such materials still in circulation, instead of getting discarded after a single use. ERP helps with tracking and reporting the waste, and tracking against sustainability matrix KPIs, and provides the ability to consolidate the data into a single data source to analyze and further improve upon.



Expediting the tracking process is vital in a perishable foods business, where speed is key. Automated tracking makes what is a very complicated process smooth and identify the issue in minutes, rather than hours and days, eliminating the need to put all lots of a product on hold. In addition, the lot tracking tools can also generate recall letters for suppliers and customers.



The FEFO (first expiry, first-out) system helps perishable food businesses send out the batch they received first so that it doesn’t expire, and avoid food wastage. If you need to know which batch you received first, lot tracking helps you by keeping a record of the full supply chain. It also provides you with an overview of the full supply chain in real-time. This helps your business stay organized and have traceability on all products.



With an efficient tracking system in place, you are able to print standardized and consistent bar codes for your products – saving both time and money in your production process. Manage inventory control in real-time, configure your warehouses as needed, and accurately track lots through the entire manufacturing process, and stay on top of any changes in FDA regulations or sustainability metrics.



The time for food manufacturers to act is now. With climate concerns at the forefront of political and personal discussions, food producers need to take steps today towards creating a sustainable business to ensure business success in the future.

At Harvest, we want to be able to help your food business stay competitive while helping you achieve your sustainability targets. Our software can help you identify how your business is tracking according to sustainability metrics, and provide the data to pinpoint areas for improvement, helping you run a more efficient and sustainable business model.

Interested in learning more about Harvest Food Solutions and how we can help your bakery business?  Give us a call to see a demo of our perishable foods software and how it can make an impact on your business.


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