Streamline Your Food Warehouse Management Systems with Icicle
Food manufacturing is beset with supply chain and warehousing challenges in recent times, and industry leaders are taking advantage of the latest warehouse management technologies to gain an edge. Supply chain management technologies and analytical tools deliver that edge: Deloitte reports that 79% of companies they categorize as “supply chain leaders” achieve revenue growth significantly above average.
Building resilient supply chains is a gigantic task, but its import is increasingly recognized by everyone. Last year, the USDA announced it will “invest more than $4 billion to strengthen the food system, support food production, improve processing, invest in distribution and aggregation, and support market opportunities.” Grant programs to improve logistics, operations, and traceability systems are proliferating and so the bar for data management is moving up rapidly.
For most food businesses, these issues and opportunities are focused on your warehouse and logistics systems. With seamless integration throughout the entire production process – from receiving inventory and warehousing, all the way through to shipping the finished product – Icicle ERP provides the infrastructure food manufacturers need to streamline their food warehouse management system processes, meet regulatory requirements, overcome challenges, and grow your business.
Set Up Seamless (and Safe) Receiving with Food Warehouse Management System Software
Receiving is the first step of the food production journey. Efficient food warehouse management is crucial at this stage; without the correct inventory in stock, cost-effective production is extremely challenging, if not impossible.
Icicle’s smart integration of procurement with receiving streamlines this process to ensure that food manufacturers receive only exactly what they need for production, saving money and time during the receiving process. Purchase orders are issued directly within Icicle from an approved vendor list, with pre-populated, customizable price lists to automate and ensure correct costing.
By the time the shipment arrives at receiving, the receivers already have an automatically generated list connected to outstanding purchase orders. While actually saving labour, warehouse staff can ensure that the order was filled correctly and avoid over or short shipments, which can delay production or increase costs. The items received are added to Icicle’s inventory control system with the necessary information automatically drawn from GS1-compliant barcodes fully supported by Icicle’s WMS software features.
With food safety at its core, Icicle ensures that regulatory requirements are met even before a truck arrives at a facility to guarantee compliance. With Icicle’s clear workflows, receiving staff know exactly where to move items, including to QA hold so food safety and quality standards can be maintained from the moment items arrive at the facility (a crucial task for allergen control).
Once you’ve received the inventory and released it from QA hold, the next challenge is storing it and keeping track of it. With GFSI certification schemes like SQF demanding that food producers be able to account for every gram of product, an intelligent inventory control system is essential for regulatory compliance. Knowing how much product enters, is stored in, and leaves your warehouse also informs purchasing and costing and can help to reduce food waste.
Accelerate Your Warehousing Operations: Blazingly Fast Racking and Picking
Icicle’s advanced racking and picking capabilities boost food warehouse management efficiency. Rather than searching endlessly across multiple inventory locations (even multiple warehouses), staff can use Icicle to easily move products from one location (beginning with the receiving area) and distribute them to many other locations with barcodes and scanners.
This eliminates the need for manual paperwork and data entry, speeding up the process dramatically and reducing the chance of human error. It also helps your bottom line: one Icicle client with high velocity warehouse operations found that the added efficiency reduced the time required to pick each item from inventory by 10 seconds. Multiplied by the hundreds of products picked daily, improvements to their operations using Icicle’s smart food warehouse management system tools saves the company at least $150,000 each year.
Optimize Inventory Warehouse Management for Just-in-Time Production
Icicle’s WMS software features provide food businesses with a complete picture of their inventory using unique identifiers for products, ingredients, materials, packaging, and parts. When it comes to the things you need for production runs, especially perishable items, Icicle enables just-in-time (JIT or lean manufacturing) approaches to inventory and planning so you can ensure that received items can be introduced to the flow of inventory without delay, reducing food waste and maximizing profit.
Your warehouse inventory data is leveraged in multiple ways. Using information from the barcodes scanned at receiving, Icicle automatically assigns best-before dates to all perishable items so you can manage inventory with shelf life in mind. That means that when you are ready to commence production, Icicle directs production staff to stage ingredients in FIFO (first-in-first-out) order for maximum efficiency; you can even use that data to optimize the shelf life of finished products for customers. Data from your sales and existing inventory are used to identify and group together the inventory you need for future production to minimize production costs.
Purchasing suggestions, a feature suggested by users who found themselves spending 25% of their time manually calculating how much raw materials needed to order from suppliers, automatically gathers data from your planned production runs to ensure you have everything you need to stay on schedule. If you are short, Icicle will suggest how much you should order to meet your production targets. You can also pre-set maximum and minimum inventory levels for different items so you don’t over-order and exceed your storage capacity, or get caught off guard by low stock.
“Anyone who runs a food business knows that one of the toughest parts of the job is to have the right orders at the right time and ensure that they are coming in on time. If you have a delivery of $30,000 on the dock and you can’t print the shipping receipt, it makes perfect sense to have a cloud-based system that can help you side-step the problem all together. If you have 12 people waiting to do the work and they can’t start because one ingredient is missing and they’re waiting for someone to run to the supplier and come back…I weep for the amount of money wasted. It’s totally avoidable. A good food warehouse management solution is able to help us keep track of all of this and Icicle is able to do it for us.”
Paul Tolnai, Former Operations Manager at P&S Frozen Foods
All of this is managed from Icicle’s easy-to-use dashboards that are accessible from any secure, internet-enabled device.
Reduce Equipment Downtime and Track Maintenance Tools
For more stable inventory like parts and equipment, Icicle draws that specific data to feed into maintenance management, ensuring that equipment undergoes scheduled maintenance and monitoring for optimal performance and safety. There is even a tracking system for maintenance tools so you never face delays because of misplaced or understocked tools.
With Icicle’s intelligent maintenance management features, users can schedule maintenance checks in advance, create work orders, and follow up to ensure that they have been completed. When a piece of equipment requires maintenance or needs repairs, Icicle is able to identify which parts you need and where it is located in inventory . Smart solutions like these help food manufacturers to maximize uptime, with the end goal of maximizing revenue and achieving operational excellence.
Icicle user Dean Blignaut, co-founder of TMRW Foods, expounded on the benefits of Icicle’s maintenance infrastructure for growing food manufacturers:
“For the team to have those parts of it be built into the system so it can remind them that, ‘Okay, yeah, we need to do the grease trap,’ or, ‘we need to clean out the hood.’ Stuff like that was awesome.” — Dean Blignaut, Co-Founder and President of TMRW Foods
The ability to easily track and trace items, check inventory received from suppliers, and ship to customers is essential to the smooth running of any food production facility. In most jurisdictions, food manufacturers are legally required to be able to trace items at least one step back and one step forward in the supply chain. An intelligent traceability solution ensures your business is compliant during audits and recalls.
Icicle uses GS1-compliant barcodes to store information, including lot codes, bin locations, serial numbers, important dates (such as the production date), and more to automatically feed necessary information into every part of your warehouse management system. With all of your inventory being tracked in real-time, your traceability chain is easily maintained to help you achieve the highest levels of certification and customer confidence.
You can see that confidence engendered when an auditor witnesses you complete a mock recall, including the mass balance calculation in mere seconds, at any time. And if, heaven forbid, a recall occurs, you will be able to conduct it with pinpoint precision using data-driven decisions.
Ensure Precise and Prompt Shipping with Automation Technology
The final stage in the food production journey is shipping, and Icicle is on hand to make sure your product gets to its destination quickly and safely. Shippers receive purchase orders on their mobile devices as soon as they’re created and immediately get your product ready for distribution.
Food manufacturers are able to track their products throughout the shipping process using smart tools like Icicle’s individual shipping labels feature, which allows you to track individual serial numbers of specific products – even if there are many other items with the same lot code.
Icicle users with multiple facilities can take advantage of the inter-facility shipments feature, which allows for quick and easy shipments between facilities without the need to re-enter the information at the receiving facility. Instead, simply select the shipment from the originating facility and the shipment details will populate automatically.
Icicle allows food manufacturers to ship their product the second it is ready, while ensuring all regulatory requirements are met prior to the loading of the trucks. The digital, automated approach eliminates costly mistakes caused by human error and paper-based systems, creating a faster and more efficient shipping process.
Watch Your Business Grow with Icicle’s Warehouse Management Solution
By streamlining the flow of goods through your facility from receiving all the way through to shipping, Icicle helps food manufacturers to create a fully integrated system that enables them to maximize revenue. Icicle establishments are able to meet regulatory requirements while maintaining a high standard of food safety, which is a prerequisite for sustained growth.
With food safety at its core, Icicle helps businesses maximize revenue by optimizing efficiency. It also reduces costs, ensuring a healthy bottom line.
Icicle’s multi-platform solution shows its value by eliminating the need for expensive, dedicated terminals. The software that can be accessed on any device, anywhere in the world.
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