New Features: Request Forum and Automation Enhancements

New Feature Request Forum and Automation Enhancements

The last installment of New Features in 2020 looks at our newly launched Feature Request Forum, where Icicle users can submit and vote on new feature requests, enhanced automation for sensor data collection and weight loss calculations, and improved ability to have multiple receivers and scanners working on the floor at the same time.

A Feature Request Forum!

When was it released? December 16 2020

What does it do? If you read these New Feature updates, you know that Icicle is a user-driven food ERP system and we benefit from a ton of great feedback and wonderful suggestions from our users. In fact, we get so many great ideas from the Icicle community that we are revising the way we process and prioritize these requests.

With the new Feature Request Forum, authenticated Icicle users can add their feature requests with a description and other users can see those requests and vote for them. Popularity of feature requests will be considered as a major factor in setting development priorities.

Worried about privacy? Simply navigate to the administration section under User Accounts and add a nickname to your profile. Your nickname will be used for any Forum posts and no identifying information will be displayed to other Icicle users.

Where did the idea come from? This is an internal idea from the Icicle team and we hope you like it!

Expanded Automatic Data Collection for Sensors

When was it released? December 12 2020

What does it do? While Icicle previously integrated with some kinds of sensors, we have now expanded this capability so that you can automatically collect sensor data in Icicle from a wider variety of sensor providers.

To make the process even more intuitive, we’ve also redesigned the way that sensors are associated with production runs. So let’s back up: say you track a product specification like roasting temperature. Your roaster already has a sensor that collects data automatically, but for many of our clients, you still had to have an employee manually collect that data and enter it into Icicle. 

With this redesign, you can navigate to the Production Run Detail interface and see a new, dedicated pane where you can choose the appropriate sensor(s), associate it with the correct product specification (in this case, roasting temperature), and set a start and end time. That means that even if the sensor is used in multiple production runs, you can see the sensor readings for the particular run in that start and end time. If you forget to set the sensor in advance, you can now go back and edit the start and end time retroactively.

Once the sensor is assigned to the correct production run and specification, all the data is processed and integrated into Icicle’s Quality Control interface. Product specifications that are flagged for inclusion in Certificates of Analysis are automatically calculated and averaged for easy, quick, and accurate Certificate of Analysis generation.

Where did the idea come from? Steve came up with this improvement while working on an integration.

Production Weight Loss Reports

When was it released? November 11 2020

What does it do? Product weight loss is an important economic metric for some food manufacturers to track, especially if you are making products that change weight during processing (for example, smoked products like jerky) and products that are sold by weight (for example, 40g of beef jerky). With this new feature, Icicle can now automatically track weight loss due to processing and report on that loss.

To make that process as automated as possible, Icicle now calculates tare weights of materials and equipment as well. Say you are weighing buns before and after baking. Icicle automatically calculates the weight of the product, the weight of the trays the buns are on (materials), and the weight of the rack that the trays are on (equipment) – and subtracts the tare weight to give you the net unbaked and net baked weight.

With the net uncooked (green) weight and the net cooked weight, Icicle determines the loss as an absolute factor (e.g. 1kg) and as a percentage (e.g. 10%). If you have a production run that suddenly has 20% loss, you can conduct a root cause analysis or other kind of investigation to maximize your weight and improve production efficiency. 

When you indicate you want to track weight loss for a particular product during production, all these functionalities appear in the Production Run interface in the item weight pane. In that pane, you can identify equipment and materials associated with that product and the system will automatically calculate net weight and loss for you. To review that data, simply generate a Weight Loss Report and view losses across different production runs, giving you the best picture of your production process.

Where did the idea come from? Big thanks to Marcus and James from Country Prime Meats!

Sales Fulfilment Report

When was it released? October 9 2020

What does it do? Want to have a better snapshot of where you are at in terms of fulfilling orders that have been placed? You can now find Sales Fulfilment Reports under the Sales menu item, which will display items that have been ordered, items that have been shipped, and outstanding balances.

Where did the idea come from? Thanks again to Mia from Made-Rite Meats for this new feature!

Receiving Input Interface

When was it released? October 18 2020 

What does it do? This new feature is a boon for our larger Icicle clients. If you have a very large order coming in and multiple receivers, previously they could override each other’s changes if they were working simultaneously. To solve this problem, we have created a new Receiving Input Interface. Now multiple receivers working at the same time will have their combined inputs update the master receiving record, giving you a crystal clear, real-time picture of what’s going on.

The new interface is also fully integrated with scanners so you can have multiple scanners on the floor as well, and use all the smart scanning features too (like automatic best-before date calculations and lot code substitutions when the supplier doesn’t provide a lot code).

Where did the idea come from? Another great feature idea from Neil from Snow Cap

Lab Tests Export

When was it released? December 10 2020

What does it do? If you want to do even more work on your tab test data than Icicle’s capabilities currently allow, you can now export lab test result data into Excel and conduct whatever analyses or trending you desire!

Where did the idea come from? Thanks to Peter from Longhorn Barbeque for this idea!

Keep up-to-date with the latest Icicle features by signing up for our newsletter! Icicle users can also check for updates in real-time in the Icicle Change Log. If you have a feature request or question, submit a request and our team will get back to you quickly.

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