Read all the educational material you can, starting with this Food Processing Special Report, sponsored by Sage.
An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is integral to running any food or beverage processing facility, especially for processors with multiple plants. ERP systems no longer are optional; it's a matter of which ERP system, where it's housed and what company assets you most want to manage.
Should your ERP system be in the cloud or on your own company's computers? What KPIs are most important to you? How do the available systems interact with your other company software systems, such as warehouse management systems, quality systems, track and trace solutions and manufacturing execution systems?
What about recalls? Is your ERP system a key enabler of a recall or a hindrance?
Mapping the flow and format of data into ERP is not the onerous integration challenge it once was, although by no means is it a simple matter. Increasingly, the data is not just yours; it, too, has become "farm to fork," integrating information from your suppliers and their suppliers, all the way back to the farm; and all the way forward in the supply chain to your distributors, retailers and even ultimately to the consumer. Along the way, include demands from government regulators and third-party quality certifiers.
Even if the Industrial Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are not considerations for you right now, factor them in, because you almost assuredly will be dealing with them in your future.
Whether this is your first ERP system or a replacement for one that no longer meets your needs, tread carefully into this project.