You probably can relate to this: The dairy products in your refrigerator are always stamped with terms like Sell By, Use Before, Use By, Fresh Before, Best if Used By and Best if Sold By, right?
This label indicates the peak quality of the product. However, most consumers think that this date is associated with the quality expiration of the product.
This can be the reason why retailers prioritize on receiving products with what they consider to be an acceptable shelf life based on their receipt date. This concern can often turn into a requirement upon receipt.
Because of this requirement from customers and retailers, dairy producers must integrate shelf life into their distribution process.
The correct ERP system for dairy producers should allow for the configuration of lot preference conditions. This configuration identifies the conditions where a dairy item’s lot can be used to meet the customer shelf life receipt requirement.
This important lot preference configuration is set at the customer level and by item or item grouping. Lot preference requirements for dairy producer can be considered at any one of these three key levels.
- Lot age or age category (example: mild, sharp, extra sharp)
- Lot specifications (example: moisture range)
- Lot freshness (example: days to fresh/ required shelf life)
Dairy producers who need to take lot preferences into consideration during the distribution process should rely on their ERP system to efficiently administer this process. When a user is assigning or picking an item for a sales order line and the user doesn’t select a lot that meets the customer’s lot preference, the correct ERP system will warn or stop that pick from continuing.
In recent years there has been some changes at the state and federal levels to provide uniform date label information. This should help clarify the dates for the end consumer and ultimately lower unnecessary food waste.
With that being said, the importance of lot preference within product distribution for dairy producers will remain high and with the right ERP system, your business can tackle this challenge.
Next up, watch our demo on lot attributes in the dairy industry.