Food and beverage warehouse managers are shouldering an increasingly heavy burden when it comes to food safety regulations. Those processing perishables - such as fresh food and drinks - have had to up their game significantly. The pressure is coming from multiple directions: regulatory bodies, wholesale customers, and consumers.
Implementing Food Safety Regulations on the Warehouse Floor
While customer and consumer demands are simple enough to understand (e.g. produce that stays fresher for longer), regulations surrounding food storage could make the toughest warehouse manager dream of running away to join the circus.
Keeping up with the specific locations and particular conditions that different food types have to be stored under is a tough call if you’re in the business of wholesale supplying. When a wide variety of produce arrives at the delivery bay all at once, it can turn into a nightmare. Unless each food type is placed on the correct colour pallet right from the start, there’s simply no guarantee that raw meat will be kept from being refrozen, cooked meat stored separately from fresh meat, and each stored at the optimal temperature.
Any warehouse manager worth their salt will tell you that managing this complexity of food safety regulations is about so much more than just adhering to reporting requirements. It’s about designing and implementing warehouse systems that ensure compliance during daily operations.
Managing Compliance with Food Safety Software
If you’re sick and tired of frantically running up and down the warehouse looking for missing food batches, a Warehouse Management System (WMS) should be your first port of call.
Imagine undertaking the intricate thought process of managing stock from intake to ship-out only once, and never again. WMS lets you do just that by giving you a system that’s programmed to automate your entire stock control process: the right storage locations, the required ambient field, the correct storage temperature to maintain the optimum level of freshness, and more.
Food and Beverage-Specific WMS
While providers of WMS systems abound, food and beverage businesses will gain the greatest benefit from a system tailored for their industry. Elements such as batch traceability, shelf life, stock rotation, best before dates, use-by dates, and contract dates, are all features you’ll miss out on by opting for generalist software.
Efficient management of food stock requires a system that can do more than just getting unspoilable goods into storage. A food-specific WMS must be capable of automating all the elements of food safety regulations. It has to think intelligently, taking into account the warehouse’s entire content and layout to guide the warehouse manager on how to store food in the correct manner.
Configuration by Business and Warehouse
Lakeview’s WMS for stock control and warehouse management is a food and beverage specialist system and therefore heavily focussed on the management of perishables. Functions and features include everything from shelf life, best before life, traceability, optimal storage conditions, and managing stock rotation by using the first-in-first-out principle, to optimising slow-moving stock.
Not only is Lakeview’s system industry-tailored, but you can also expect your implementation to be warehouse configured by one of our consultants in food safety regulations before launch. The configuration process is flexible enough to allow you to set up different guidelines for each of your warehouses, based on their functionality, location, and layout. This step takes about a day; during which we map out the layout of your entire warehouse, to ensure that your warehouse staff receives clear and simple instructions. Keeping track of the exact location of each batch of products not only lets you prevent products from passing beyond their best-before date but also helps you to reduce the scurry of forklifts and workers across the warehouse floor.
Is WMS Right for My Business?
WMS software is guaranteed to deliver operational benefits for any food and beverage business with a warehouse where they need to record location and conditions of food.
One of our WMS clients, a manufacturer of organic juices, operates on a three-user software package. The complexities of managing his range of organic fruit juices mean that he’s got to know exactly where every food item is at any moment in time.
Before WMS implementation the owner had to manage his warehouse manually, recording stock intake on pieces of note paper, writing batch numbers on sticky labels and sticking them to food items and logging their location in a paper file. The process was not only time-consuming but also put him at risk of losing all traceability if a single note went missing. If someone puts the wrong date on an item by mistake, he risks being stuck with out of date fruit or vegetables.
It’s been just a few months since he’s added the WMS module onto their core software package, and he declares that he can’t imagine how he ever managed the warehouse without barcode scanning. When fresh produce is delivered to the warehouse nowadays, he simply scans the barcode and logs the best-before date on
The correct batches are retained all the way, which means that he’s retained complete traceability. Anyone buying these juices can see the entire farm-to-fork story behind the product. It saves the owner time because instead of running around searching for bits of paper that got lost somewhere in a filing system, he’s walking around with a scanner. It also saves him money, because he’s been able to reduce stock wastage to a minimum by adjusting his daily recipe to make good use of stock that’s nearing its sell-by date. The WMS system gives him perfect control to implement a first-in-first-out process, which keeps his stock levels more even, saving him more money.
The Benefits of Food Safety Management Software
An industry-specific WMS is an essential tool for any food and beverage company that needs to store or handle perishable goods effectively. It performs a critical role in managing goods, traceability, movement and information exchange between manufacturers, distributors and customers.
While smaller and newer warehouse operators may baulk at investing in a WMS, the efficiencies won through implementation are guaranteed to translate into ROI and fewer sleepless nights.