Icicle ERP Food Production Software Improves Daily Manufacturing Operations
A long list of new Icicle ERP food production software features is a goody bag at the end of a long year, and this one has a special focus on what our Training Specialist Katherine calls “quality of life improvements” to boot.
In this installment, we’ll look at our recent food production software upgrades that will please your warehouse staff with Shipping Notices and streamlined printing for new labels. We’d guess that your production team will swoon over our new Production Lines and smart tools for overcoming supply chain shortages. Safety and quality managers may indeed jump for joy to see an exciting revamp to our Training Records as well as a set of new notifications and search features. To round off the list, we have some treats for the Sales team, especially for those members of the Icicle community that use QuickBooks Online.
As always, these improvements come from members of the Icicle community, who are thanked for their wonderful suggestions and feedback at the end of each update.
Inbound and Outbound Shipping Notices
When was it released? September 22, 2022
What does it do? This new feature is laser-focused on extending Icicle’s powerful inventory management tools to help logistics staff plan for incoming and outgoing shipments. When you access a sales or purchase order in Icicle (or from the Sales or Logistics dropdown menus), you can now click on the new little truck icon to create a shipping notice with an expected delivery date. That notice can then be updated by authorized team members to display the time of day a shipment is expected to arrive, confirm whether it’s in transit or delivered, what items are included in the shipment, and so on.
With this information directly in Icicle’s integrated food production software, the shipping department can plan and prioritize certain days/times for deliveries and make sure they have enough staff on hand for busy days – a crucial advantage if you have inventory that needs to be temperature controlled, or if you’re dealing with supply chain disruptions that may be causing confusion and costly delays in your warehouse.
Icicle users loved Shipping Notices so much and provided so many helpful suggestions, that the relatively new feature became a robust tool for warehouse management in a very short amount of time. We’ve also added notifications to alert relevant team members when Shipping Notices are created or updated, allowing you to skip the back-and-forth emails between purchasing, sales, and shipping teams in favour of a centralized, digital record.
Where did the idea come from? We’ve implemented several updates to the new Shipping Notices feature since it launched in September, but we’d like to give a big shout out to Ramiro from Nichirei Sacramento Foods for his astute input!
Print Labels Directly from Inventory Page of Your Food Production Software
When was it released? July 30, 2022
What does it do? Icicle food production software users have many different practices for when and how they like to print their labels, but if, for example, a label gets damaged in transit and your warehouse operations rely on scanners, generating a new one on the spot is often necessary. Before this feature update, Icicle users had to go to the label generator page and locate the item in their inventory before printing a new label. Now you can generate a label for a particular item or lot code directly from the Inventory page – no need to write down a list of labels to print or spend time searching through lists.
Where did the idea come from? Thanks to Sunny from PlantVeda for this handy feature!
Manage Multiple Production Lines with Your Food Production Software
When was it released? July 30, 2022
What does it do? We love to announce new food production software features that pull double duty like this one, which makes it easier for managers to plan production while boosting the level of detail in your traceability systems.
Icicle has long provided the ability to schedule production runs, but previously you couldn’t assign production runs to particular lines. This new feature fills that data gap, enabling you to assign production runs to specific production lines and search for production runs on a specific line.
On top of assisting with production management and reporting, it also helps you ensure that you will have the appropriate inventory available for planned production, and fine-tunes your traceability records so you can investigate any problems with even greater precision.
Where did the idea come from? Thanks to the team at Anita’s Organic Mill for their requests and feedback!
Transform Multiple Items
When was it released? November 4, 2022
What does it do? Here’s another one that is particularly useful for these times of supply chain woes: Icicle users can now transform multiple items with a single button, instead of going through them one-by-one. Transforming inventory (also called Freeform Production in our post from 2021) is not intended for regular use, but instead reserved for variations needed in a production run. For example, you might need to fulfill a special order for a product in a different flavor or size/quantity with a one-off production run. Or maybe the supplier of a spice mix you use is out of stock, and you need to blend the mix yourself during production. In these cases, you don’t necessarily want to set up a whole new formula for the one-off flavor or create a whole production run for mixing turmeric and cumin.
The Transform function allows you to make these kinds of changes to your production while maintaining accurate records for your traceability chain. Now you can perform transformations in bulk, and Icicle ERP’s food production software will update your inventory and production data automatically with a single click.
Where did the idea come from? A big thank you to Sophia from Anita’s Organic Mill for this very useful improvement to Icicle!
Variants During Production Runs
When was it released? August 15 2022
What does it do? Creative solutions to supply chain disruptions continue with this new feature to help manufacturers who have some variations to their formulas during production. Different segments of the food and beverage industry have different standards about variants during production runs, but some degree of flexibility is now a practical necessity in addition to a common practice for some kinds of food products.
Now, when an Icicle user inputs the amount of ingredients used during production, Icicle will indicate if the ingredient quantities are out of range with a colour-coded, percentage score. Icicle calculates this number based on (1) the amount dictated in the formula, (2) the batch size of the production run, and (3) the amount of inventory entered by the production team during the production run.
You can leverage this information from your food production software to optimize product quality, detect and investigate unauthorized substitutions or other changes, and maintain accurate inventory records even when you have to make last-minute adjustments to usage.
Where did the idea come from? Thanks to our power user James from Country Prime Meats for this feature request!
Training Records Matrix
When was it released? October 28 2022
What does it do? We’re excited to announce a big upgrade to Icicle’s ability to track and manage employee training – an update that will likely include a few more stages before we’re done with it. In the revamped Training Records List, you can now select or search by trainee, by procedure (that is associated with the training requirement), or by date range and quickly see a list that shows the trainees, the type of training (initial or refresher), the date, approval details, and user status.
We’ve also launched another view that will make our users with many employees and/or many procedures very happy: the new Training Records Matrix, which you can access from the Training Records List, makes managing training even easier by allowing you to access your records in a matrix table that clearly indicates which trainees have been trained on which procedures (or not!) or which procedures a given employee has been trained on (or not).
To put it all together: now when you are onboarding a new employee, Icicle can automatically generate a list of required training for their role as soon as you add them to the Training Matrix. You can then schedule training directly in the app, as well as record any training that the employee completed prior to their employment with you (instead of scheduling a dummy training session to close off the task). The same can be done with refresher training and new requirements for existing employees, giving you a complete set of training records for your entire facility – all in one place.
Where did the idea come from? The credit for this one goes to David at Anita’s Organics!
New Notifications for Destruction Reports and QC Holds
When was it released? July 30 2022
What does it do? Some of our most popular feature upgrades are new notifications; Icicle users appreciate the ways that their daily jobs become easier when certain tasks and information are automated. This set of new notifications is a big boon to Quality Assurance staff, who are often spending valuable time and energy chasing down information from other departments. Users can now turn on notifications to receive an email alert any time a destruction report is created. QA staff can then proceed to verify the information promptly, allowing them to monitor destruction reports as needed rather than having to check in regularly.
This notification really bridges the gap between QA and Production staff – two teams that don’t often work together directly since most QA work is done after production runs are completed. However, too much time delay between QA work and production can introduce avoidable risks and prevent QA staff from reacting quickly to problems before they escalate. That’s why we’ve also added a notification for when an inventory item is transferred to QC hold, so that the QA team can know immediately that they have new inventory that needs to be tested.
Where did the idea come from? Thanks again to James from Country Prime Meats for these great ideas!
Icicle’s Food Production Software Makes it Easy to Search Through QC Checks
When was it released? October 4 2022
What does it do? Another feature upgrade for the QA team is a new search function for QC checks, which enables users to pull up specific quality controls regarding particular items, lot codes, products, or even a work-in-progress product or lot code. Instead of having to search by a specific date (as you had to do in the past), you can now search by any identifier (lot code, part of a name, internal ID). On the other end, you can see everything you need for that QC check in one place, eliminating the need to go through them individually via specific production runs.
Where did the idea come from? Here’s another great food production software idea from James from Country Prime Meats!
Updates to Bills and Invoices for QuickBooks Online
When was it released? November 2 2022
What does it do? Released in June, Icicle’s Bills and Invoices feature deepened the integration between Icicle ERP’s food production software and QuickBooks Online (for our clients who use it for their accounting activities). We recently updated Bills and Invoices so that you create them directly from the purchase or sales order. With just one button, you can generate a Bill or Invoice that is automatically populated with the information from the sales or purchase order – just remember to hit the save button in order to send the bill or invoice over to QuickBooks Online.
Another change to Icicle’s QuickBooks Online integration is useful to raise here as well. It’s not uncommon for a company to buy materials and sell products to the same entity, who is therefore both a supplier (vendor) and customer. QuickBooks Online can’t recognize this complexity, so most QuickBooks users have to assign two unique IDs to the same company as a workaround. Icicle can now provide and track two different ID numbers in QuickBooks that connect to a single company in Icicle. You can use Icicle as normal, and the system will update the correct company in QuickBooks according to the kind of activity performed.
Where did the idea come from? These food production software improvements came from the Icicle development team!
Sales Orders Cloning
When was it released? November 7 2022
What does it do? A simple but oh-so-handy enhancement, if you have a Sales Order that you make on a regular basis, you can now clone it exactly and edit the new Sales Order as needed.
Where did the idea come from? Our thanks to Vic from Plant Veda for this quality of life improvement!