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Digital transformation has been a priority for most businesses for a decade now. However, the perils of the global pandemic have propelled companies across industries to speed up the execution of their digital strategies. The food and manufacturing industry—one of the worst hit by the coronavirus crisis—has accelerated technology adoption necessary to overcome the pandemic's challenges.

In the past year, Columbus has worked with several food and manufacturing companies that were not only looking to mitigate their current risks and challenges but also future-proof their operations with innovative technology. In this blog, we will briefly explain our top four implementations of ERP for the food processing industry:

1. Mrs. Gerry's achieves operational efficiency in its manufacturing process

Established over 50 years back, Mrs. Gerry's was originally a family side dish manufacturer which has today grown into a national industry leader with over 120 products to its name. The company needed a food-specific solution that could integrate with Dynamics 365 NAV and improve the overall visibility of its extensive operations. The company was specifically looking to enhance batch planning, batch reporting and financial visibility. Mrs. Gerry's chose to partner with Columbus to implement a food-specific ERP solution to meet its unique requirements.

"Our goal as a company is to be masters in producing salads and side dishes. We do it very well, and we don't want to be the best developers on Dynamics NAV. We're looking to Columbus to drive the vision that we have for getting our tracking and reporting capabilities brought in and moving us forward by gaining visibility into our business." - Stuart Ness, Mrs. Gerry's Director of Information Technology

Here's how ColumbusFood implementation has eased Mrs. Gerry's critical business processes by helping the company:

  • Streamline inventory management by enabling better overall visibility into existing production activities and equipment
  • Optimize rebates and commissions as the company set up sales and marketing plans to accrue, and pay, amounts to receipts based on sales and purchases activities
  • Better batch planning because of the production setup, planning, and reporting features available in the solution

2. Manzana gains real-time visibility and boosts process productivity

Over a century old, Manzana – the California-based historic apple cannery – was looking for a solution that could give it real-time insights, modernize inventory management, streamline supply chain management processes, and seamlessly integrate with Dynamics NAV.

"Particularly with the pandemic right now, we now always know when we are going to need to harvest data and drill down into the specific challenges to the business— whether it's on margin, specific products, or the different lines. I would say after partnering with Columbus, we have KPIs that are more important than ever to help us navigate through a quickly changing business environment." - Simon Jackson, Information Systems Manager at Manzana

Here are a few vital advantages Manzana observed after deploying ColumbusFood:

  • Better production reporting with the KPIs Columbus helped set up for Manzana. The organization also gained complete visibility into its end-to-end operations
  • With the implementation of the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics ERP and ColumbusFood, Manzana saw a significant increase in ROI
  • By integrating the solution with an external payroll system, the company enable FIFO (First In First Out) principle efficiently to increase transparency in cost and labor data
  • Improved inventory traceability to make inventory management capabilities more efficient

3. Strube achieves operational independence and efficiency

Strube was using an early 1990s legacy system specifically designed for it by its former IT director. When this single resource moved out of the company, the company found itself lacking the necessary technical support to modify or work with the legacy software. The limited functionality of the legacy software didn't allow the organization to scale its technology in tandem with its growth, resulting in a time-consuming lot traceability process, inadequate visibility, and manual management of repacking and freight forwarding process. These operational roadblocks prompted Strube to seek the implementation of an innovative and reliable ERP software for food distributors.

"We knew pretty early on that a Microsoft product was the definite way to go — not only are you well supported, but it also seemed like where the future was. ColumbusFood just seemed like the right fit. We were very comfortable after seeing the system at another facility very similar to ours — how it worked and how happy they were." - Director of Finance, Lisa Strube

Strube was able to reap the following benefits through the deployment of ColumbusFood with suitable customizations:

  • Real-time updates helped improve visibility into critical business operations and enhance customer communications
  • The user-friendly solution interface eased performing tasks for employees, and intelligent tools (of the new system) improved financial reporting substantially
  • Achieved better lot traceability speed — Brought down the time taken to a few minutes from days
  • Enabled operational independence as the new system doesn't require coding to customize or scale up or down

4. Jasper Wyman & Son improves traceability of products from farm to packaging

A family-owned company headquartered in Milbridge, Jasper Wyman & Son is a market leader in the frozen fruits sector. The company's products are sold across three channels — retail, ingredient and food service. As the data entry and management for these channels were managed manually, the company wanted to automate these processes to attain better process efficiency and accuracy.

"Previously, we had no way to track those empty boxes. Through integrating the fresh receiving, we can now assign boxes to people. When the boxes return full, it will subtract the quantity assigned. This is especially useful during the peak time of harvesting, because we have more pounds of wild blueberries than boxes." - Hedberg, Wyman's Director of Information Technology

After the deployment of ColumbusFood, Wyman has enjoyed the following benefits:

  • Automated recording of data helps the company with production order— food safety inspections. This information is transferred and saved in Dynamics NAV for future references
  • Lot management has become streamlined because when a customer requests product information or gets a lot number, Wyman's is able to send the information electronically

Do you relate to any of the challenges these companies were facing? If yes, ColumbusFood can be a viable solution to overcome your issues that are unique to the food and manufacturing business. To understand more about how ColumbusFood, a specialized ERP for food processing industry, can transform food processes, watch our on-demand webinar on the topic.

[Webinar] 3 ways food processors can benefit from ColumbusFood


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Right now, companies in the food and beverage industry have a lot on their plate. A key question how to meet all demands and at the same time reach all your business goals? Unifying your technology platform, business strategy and operations is necessary to stay ahead of your competitors. Companies have to keep up with increasing consumer demand for products that are healthy, ethical and environmentally friendly while at the same time meeting regulatory standards and minimizing food waste. And, of course, they still have to do the usual work of keeping margins high, preparing for emergencies, ensuring product quality, staying innovative and minimizing risk at every stage of production.
Like other industries, food & and beverage companies must initiate strategy planning and change management at the very start of bringing their business systems to the cloud. That’s the best way to avoid additional costs, effort, and business interruption. And the trick is to define value with a people mindset.
If you're a Chief Information Officer, the data says you already get it. You understand the value, rewards and competitive necessity of digital transformation — and the transition to a modern cloud-based ERP.
Sometimes laying the right foundation is everything. That's why when the time comes to choose and implement an ERP solution for your business, the difference between whether you realize its full benefits or not often comes down to a single crucial word: preparation.
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