ERP

How a traceability system compliments an ERP system

When speaking to business owners about traceability systems, their usual response is that they already have a traceability system, however, what they are referring to is their ERP system.

Though some ERP systems do offer some traceability functionality, if a food processing business wants true traceability from raw materials to finished products, a dedicated traceability system would be advantageous. What’s more, a system like Stevens, for example, can be integrated with many ERP systems, meaning a win-win for the manufacturer, no duplication of data, and a real-time automated system.

In this article, we explain what an ERP system is, what an ERP system does and then what a traceability system is and what it does, and why a traceability system like Stevens, compliments many ERP systems. In fact, many customers already benefit from the link between their Stevens system and ERP system through our in-house integration service.

What does ERP mean?

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning and is the management of business processes facilitated by software and technology.

Typically, an ERP system works in real-time and collects, stores, manages, and interprets data from various business activities for example purchasing, sales, accounting, and manufacturing. All data uses common databases and is maintained by a database management system.

ERP Solutions

An ERP system can be a great way of streamlining and centralising data within a business, and ERP software providers will group software modules in your system as per your business requirements.

Examples of ERP software modules

Finance Manufacturing Order Processing Project Management
  • General ledger
  • Fixed assets
  • Payables
  • Cash management
  • Consolidation
  • Bill of materials
  • Scheduling
  • Workflow Management
  • Quality Management
  • Inventory
  • Pricing
  • Shipping
  • Sales Analysis / Reporting
  • Project planning
  • Resource planning
  • Billing
  • Activity Management

 This is not an exhaustive list; however, it gives a flavour of how and where ERP software can assist a business.

What is a traceability system? 

So, you may now be wondering why and how a traceability system differs from an ERP system.

As with ERP software, a traceability system collects, records, and manages data throughout the production process. However, what a Stevens Traceability System does is trace ingredients from goods in to finished products and despatch, with the added advantage of providing operators with instructions throughout production, ensuring accurate weighing, reduced human error, and consistent products. See how this works in this short video:

Differences between an ERP system and a Stevens system

The main differences lie in actual real-time production/usage data from the shop floor, where the ERP system would normally assume you are always consuming your set targets for the BOM (Bill of Materials), the Stevens Traceability System knows exactly what has been consumed through its touch screen weighing stations.

For example, if a recipe BOM has an ingredient that requires 5kg to be added, the ERP system would assume exactly 5kg is weighed, and in turn, reduce 5kg from stock. The costings for the product would also assume 5kg worth of this ingredient was used.

True, Accurate figures

The Stevens Traceability can accurately record true usage figures. This data can then be sent to the ERP system in real-time, the stock is accurately reduced, and true cost figures are calculated. This true figure is achieved through weighing with a Stevens Traceability system.

 

bakery-stock

Actual Values not Assumed Targets

The real-time accurate data from Stevens is invaluable, instantly available to the ERP system, actual weighed values rather than assumed targets.

It could be that this ingredient is always slightly overweighed (still within tolerance), although this would not affect product consistency, without the Stevens data the ERP system would not have accurate stock figures. It could be too late with physical stock running out before the ERP system/management is aware. The ‘overweighing’ of this ingredient may also need to be investigated; tolerances tightened? Again, without accurate shop floor data, management would not have this data available for analysis. What’s more, all tolerances within the ingredient weighing process are managed/changed by your management team giving you total flexibility and control of all recipes.

Additionally, a Stevens Traceability System can integrate into all areas of your ERP system, from Purchase Orders to Sales Orders. Do you raise Purchase Orders on your ERP system? Have this instantly sent to the Stevens System. Allowing the Stevens Goods In terminal to receive the Purchase Order when it arrives, accurately recording quantities, lot numbers, answering goods in questions, quality checks, etc, and then integrating back to the ERP system to let it know the PO has arrived.

Traceability Systems

Accurate Stock

Keep stock accurate within both systems, by integrating transactions. Stock has been withdrawn due to wastage? Record this on a Stevens System and feed this back into your ERP system for real-time data reporting.

Production planning through your ERP system? Send your requirement of finished products down to Stevens and have Stevens automatically auto-schedule all your requirements, by calculating all the mixes required to produce the required amount of finished product.

If you would like to find out more, or discuss integrating a Stevens traceability system with an ERP system, call one of our experts today on 01254 685200 or email: info@stevenstraceability.com