Food Distribution Software: What to Look For

June 22, 2015

food-distribution-wholesale-softwareThis post outlines specific functionality that one should reasonably expect from Food Distribution Software.

The food distribution industry is very unique in a number of different ways. With numerous standards and regulations set by governing bodies in place, as well as an overall level of quality that must be upheld to customers, it is important to employ a software system designed specifically for food wholesalers and distributors. Most software packages have similar standard inventory and accounting functionality that users have come to expect in a true ERP software system. However, it is the additional food industry specific features such as lot tracking, landed cost tracking, multiple units of measure, and flexible pricing that make a system optimized for the food industry.

Key Features:

  • Lot Tracking
  • Landed Cost Tracking
  • Multiple Units of Measurement
  • Flexible Pricing

Lot Tracking

This facilitates robust product traceability functionality in order to keep records of which customers received specific groups of items or shipments. The supplier and the date that items were purchased are also referenced, allowing managers to track an individual group of products throughout the supply chain, ultimately from supplier to end customer. This functionality is especially important to food distributors as it is a key competency in achieving FDA/ISO/CFIA compliance. Many companies in the food distribution industry rely on lot tracking to track internal and external lot numbers, manage best before and expiry dates, as well as simplify product recalls and warnings in case of an emergency.

Landed Cost Tracking

Landed cost tracking allows a food distribution company to account for all the costs associated with getting inventory from a supplier to their warehouse. This allows a company to arrive at its ‘true inventory costs’, which may include duty, brokerage, freight, insurance, and storage, in addition to the cost of the inventory itself. Landed cost tracking provides important information to business owners and decision makers when making purchasing and pricing decisions, as well as aids in maintaining target gross margins by accounting for the total inventory cost, and not just a sub-section of it.

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Moving Checklist: Office Move

June 5, 2015

Guest Post by: Samantha Hornbymoving-checklist

Blue Link ERP recently moved office locations and for anyone else who has ever moved locations, I think you will agree that it is not an easy exercise. Luckily for us, we were only moving a couple of clicks down the road, and didn’t have to deal with the added complexity of moving further.  As part of the moving committee I was heavily involved in the entire process, and learnt quite a few tips and tricks that I wanted to pass along.  I have also included the moving check-list that my team and I put together, which is a great starting point for getting organized.

Tip #1 – Create a Moving Committee

One of the first things you will want to do when preparing for a move is to create a moving committee. This team should be comprised of a handful of people from different departments who volunteer to take on the added responsibility of the move.  Make sure those involved in the committee will be able to manage the added work without neglecting their regular responsibilities. Having people from different departments makes it easier to ensure nothing important is missed and leaves room for flexibility when it comes to scheduling work.  It is also important that someone with decision making authority is involved with the committee in order to approve expenses and major decisions.

Tip #2 – Create Documentation to Organize the Move

In order to stay organized throughout the entire move process it is important to keep track of responsibilities, contacts and dates.  You will see in Blue Link’s moving check-list that specific to-do items have been categorized based on whether they affect the old office or the new, whether they are administrative in nature, or if they apply to the actual move date.  Each item on the list should be assigned to an employee on the moving committee, given a date of required completion and assigned a priority level if necessary. Certain tasks, although important, can be addressed after the actual move itself.  Another tip is to keep a list of move contacts all in one place for easy access. This may include the moving company, new building manager, service contacts for any installations or renovations, phone and internet contact etc.  We scheduled meetings with several contractors and companies for the same day, and having a list of contacts made on-going communication much simpler.

Tip #3 – Do Not Overwhelm Yourself with Too Many Choices

When it came to Blue Link’s office move, some of the more minor decisions ended up taking the most amount of time.  When it comes to decisions such as fabric colors for new office furniture, although this is important, having too many options can drag the decision making process into something that is longer than necessary. Just like we preach to our clients the dangers of evaluating too many software vendors, too many color options are unnecessary in order to make a decision.  Define a budget and ask for a couple of recommended options based on quality and design, instead of sorting through all available choices.  For certain businesses, interior decorating may be of higher importance, but for most businesses you will be able to choose the best option without sorting through every available design.

Tip #4 – Throw a Party!

Moving office locations can be stressful, but no matter the reason, it should also be treated as an exciting opportunity. Get staff involved in the process and excited for a change of scenery by keeping them updated throughout the move process and providing information on things to do and places to eat in the area around the new office. Celebrate with a party once you’re settled into the new office, inviting friends and family as well as close customers.  Moves can be expensive, so the party does not have to be lavish, but it will help employees adjust to their new surroundings and deal with the stress associated with a move.

Download the Ultimate Office Moving Checklist!

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