Maximizing Margins with Icicle’s Expiration Management Features
Why pour money literally down the drain? According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, 10% of ingredients that enter food and beverage processing facilities become avoidable food loss. Icicle ERP’s expiration management features leverage sophisticated automation technology to eliminate waste and facilitate more sustainable manufacturing practices.
The Right Expiration Management Tools are Essential for Sustainability and Food Safety
Before we explain how, two quick notes on why effective expiration management is critical for any food business. First, it’s wasteful to throw out ingredients and materials you have already purchased – for your bottom line and for our planet. Government agencies are seeking to reduce the growing mountain of waste by as much as 70% by 2025. The onus will be on manufacturers to introduce tighter controls to reduce waste in their processing plants – likely through additional regulations to manage alongside HACCP and HARPC requirements.
Second, expiration management isn’t just about sustainability; stale ingredients detract from product quality and, in extreme cases, can even lead to recalls that jeopardize customers and brand reputation. In fact, Food Safety Magazine describes product recalls as “the food industry’s biggest threat to profitability.” Effective expiration date management – when integrated with your food safety program and preventative controls plan – can prevent recalls and help you respond quickly to any problems that may arise.
The key to this panacea is Icicle’s advanced automation technology that gives you access to real-time data across every aspect of production, including automated traceability, inventory management, and expiration management. When these features are integrated in the cloud-based ERP system, you can ensure that all ingredients and materials are used in an optimal timeframe, taking the stress out of production, HACCP and HARPC compliance, and audit prep.
But how does Icicle’s expiration management accomplish all this? Here’s three secrets to our success, and the successes of Icicle users.
Reduce Food Waste and Maximize Product Shelf Life with Automatic Best-Before Dates
Icicle features some exciting new expiration management tools that play a vital role in reducing your costs and eliminating waste of stale ingredients. Your customers will also love the way these features enhance the quality of your product and make them safer and healthier.
Best practices stipulate that food manufacturers operate based on FIFO (First-In-First-Out) order, which helps reduce food waste by managing the flow of inventory. Icicle takes this even further with automatic best-before dates that help you use all ingredients at their optimal freshness – cutting costs and increasing the shelf life of end products.
Since this feature is integrated with Icicle’s extensive inventory management capabilities, Icicle can calculate best-before dates using production date-based lot codes for maximum precision or use preset estimates for cases where the manufacturer has not provided this information.
If you’ve been desperate to find a tool that requires best-before dates at receiving as part of tracking food safety and making quality control more efficient, then you’ll love one of Icicle’s recent features. It’s an optional too exclude products where best-before dates don’t apply, but it’s a great way to ensure that you’re reducing food waste by sending products to the production line within their optimal date range.
Take a Huge Step Forward with Advanced Inventory Management
Since inventory management is linked in Icicle to actual inventory levels and production runs, Best-Before dates and other data are aggregated and displayed easily in our Shelf Life Dashboard. This exciting Icicle feature gives you a clear overview of the remaining shelf life of all your products and ingredients. It’s a straightforward way to eliminate costly food waste. This tool also helps improve quality and product freshness and delivers real warehouse process efficiencies especially at the picking and shipping stages.
Managing multiple product picks even from different warehouse locations is now simply a matter of choosing the destination, scanning the barcode for the products you need and entering the quantity. If you have to manage large warehouses and multiple orders you’ll find it all much easier and save a lot of time with Icicle’s high velocity picking function and a scanner.
You can pick all the product you need for multiple orders at the same time or you can pick by customer order. Using a scanner with our high velocity picking feature provides the perfect backup to a well-ordered FIFO warehousing system. Your pickers simply scan each lot code and Icicle will alert them if they make a mistake and the product isn’t on the order.
This tool eliminates costly human error, ensures your customers are getting the correct orders and will make your warehouse/shipping process much more efficient.
Stay Ahead of Problems with Maximum Inventory Levels and Purchasing Suggestions
Purchasing ingredients for planned production runs and sales orders is a complex balancing act. Order insufficient stock and you’ll face costly delays meeting your sales orders; order too much and you’ll potentially have inadequate storage space and product sitting past its expiry date before it can be used.
Icicle users can set maximum and minimum inventory levels for ingredients, packaging, materials, and parts to ensure that you never fall below the stock levels you need for production. Icicle’s Purchasing Suggestions tool will check through all your planned production runs, collate your existing stock levels and tell you what and how much you need to order to meet those sales orders. Those maximum inventory levels you set up earlier will prevent you from over-ordering and exceeding your storage space.
In addition, purchasing suggestions enables food and cannabis companies to employ a Just-in-Time (JIT) inventory management method. This means the ability to keep lower inventory carrying costs, significantly decreasing potential waste and increasing efficiencies for lean manufacturing. Strategic expiration management also means products are at the peak of freshness when delivered to customers. Icicle’s data-driven systems provide the accurate forecasting required to improve ROI by reducing non-essential costs.
For a company such as P&S Frozen Foods these calculations used to occupy 25% or more of their procurement department’s time before they embraced the Icicle technology advantage. Icicle can reduce the time spent on this laborious process to near zero.
Icicle’s Expiration Management is a Win-Win-Win Solution
Expiration date management features are just some of the many innovative ways that Icicle, as an integral part of good manufacturing practices (GMP), can help you increase profits, save time and money, improve product quality and reduce waste. And, although the concept of expiration management is simple, keeping track of the multilayered complexities of varying expiry dates, lot numbers, and stock levels on a day-to-day practical level can be overwhelming, if not impossible. Icicle’s systematic and automated system manages those challenges with ease, allowing you to focus on optimizing production yields, reducing costs, and delivering the highest levels of customer satisfaction. It’s a win-win-win: for your business, your customers, and the environment.