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We’ve put together a list of questions and considerations for owners and managers of food and beverage manufacturing businesses who are looking to buy new ERP software for their business. If nothing more, the list will save buyers time and effort otherwise spent investigating the software market and may help avoid selecting a software system that isn’t suitable or is over-priced for its intended use. The list of questions and considerations may simply act to validate your already formed position regarding new ERP software for your business.

So, what should food & beverage manufacturers look for when buying new ERP software.

General Product capabilities & characteristics

Of course, putting preferences to one side regarding licensing and deployment models, and channel supported software versus developer supported software, there are some matters which we believe you should treat as non-negotiables. The software you select needs to be well supported, in your time zone, by people who understand the system back to front. The disconnect between sales and consulting for many firms is enormous and never ends well for buyers. Also, in a rush to be the cheapest supplier, software vendors and implementers are offering remotely delivered ERP projects which makes sense in many respects; however, from experience, one or more face-to-face in-person meetings between the project teams is invaluable. The selected software should have market share in the main country where you intend using the software. Your core ERP system should be fully localized by the developer of the system.

Consideration of where the product sits in its product lifecycle requires both a look back in history and a look forward at the vendors’ product roadmap. Buying last century’s software with a pretty front end isn’t the same as investing in modern software built using modern technologies. Think mobility, Web clients, and screen re-sizing by device real-estate. Technical capacity to scale to your size or expected size is also a key purchase consideration. User numbers and data volume considerations cannot be ignored.

Functional Product Fit

Is the ERP system you’re considering designed specifically for process manufacturers, in general, and your particular industry vertical in particular? Should it differ in some way to your general process manufacturing industry business system needs?

Is the software you’re considering:

  1. Designed to manage recipes & formulas as a unique part of a bill of material.
  2. Supports the assignment of a quarantine status on raw, intermediate, and finished goods.
  3. Account for wastage,
  4. Account for re-work,
  5. Account for allergens,
  6. Account for constant and variable loss factors,
  7. Supports revisions & effective dates.
  8. Includes flexible quality control measures.
  9. Includes Master Production Scheduling functionality.
  10. Includes Material Requirements Planning functionality.
  11. Supports lot tracking and recall capabilities.
  12. Produces ingredient statements and reports.
  13. Supports fractional quantities.
  14. Measures non-conformance and Corrective Action Preventive Action (CAPA)
  15. Inspection Planning and Inspection Scheduling
  16. Adverse Event and Complaint Reporting
  17. Calculates Material and Package Costing

Reports (Custom)

Supports ad hoc creation of custom reports and dashboards. Supplies expected operational and financial reports as a part of the software license fee. Supports creation or modification of business forms


An ERP product’s ability to seamlessly share data with other systems is paramount in today’s interconnected world. It’s an area non-technical people often try to avoid; however, it’s a vital area to understand as, in layman’s terms, there are interfaces, and then there are interfaces! There is a high degree of likelihood that your ERP system will need to integrate with more than one of these systems:

  • Weighbridge
  • Weigh scales
  • External testing systems (LIMS)
  • Cold Chain
  • EDI
  • 3PL
  • Freight forwarders
  • eCommerce B2C or B2B
  • WMS