3 Ways to Modernize your Organization for a Modern World

In our latest series of blogs, we’ve discussed the latest trends and technologies that are going to transform the food distribution industry – including everything from delivery robots to government regulations. Before we discuss any more future predictions and industry insights, let’s stop and consider some of the modern features that SMB food distribution companies need to invest in today to keep operations at pace with competitors. Here are 3 technologies that every food distributor must take advantage of in the coming years or risk falling behind:

Online ordering – Build your own web store with online ordering. This is a no-brainer. Clients are expecting to work with companies that make their lives as easy and efficient as possible. Online ordering isn’t just an addition to your business; it’s a necessity in today’s modern world and offers customers maximum flexibility.

Barcoding – Better keep track of inventory and reduce damage to items due to errors or miscalculations in manual shipping time tracking. With enhanced barcoding systems, companies can prevent missing inventory and shipping errors with built-in alerts, and workers can be better informed with accurate product information, including quantities and weights. Enhanced picking, packing, and truck loading are also major benefits of barcoding systems, and can significantly improve the productiveness of an entire warehouse.

Mobility – A Cisco study recently showed that around 95% of organizations permit employee-owned devices in the workforce, and the average number of devices per worker is expected to reach 3.3 by the end of 2014. The fact is that companies need to harness the power of mobility in their organizations to empower workers and clients, increase sales, and gain better efficiencies in and out of the warehouse. Portable devise apps, for instance, allow warehouse workers to enter orders from anywhere – even the freezer. Mobility offers improved interoperability for organizations – from imputing orders to picking, staging, invoicing, and shipping.

All of the above technologies are designed to increase the operational efficiency of food distributors and make the jobs of employees and clients that much easier. SR²Software understands the needs of SMB food wholesalers and has built a unique solution to help address these challenges. We keep it simple and leave out the unnecessary bells and whistles that drive the high prices of competitors. By leaving out the robots, drones, and costly equipment, we have developed an effective solution that’s designed to be easy to use and affordable.

To learn more about our innovative solutions and how to propel your company into the modern age of manufacturing and distribution, contact a SR²Software expert today at 866.245.6216!

How to Keep Up with FDA Lot Traceability Regulations

In March of this past year, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) released a report that stated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had recently launched 2 test pilots to improve product tracing. These pilots were aimed to help better regulate foodborne illness and quarantine outbreaks faster.

FDA testing has shown that improved product tracing has the potential to reduce up to 55 percent of total foodborne illnesses, as well as the reduction of economic impact of outbreaks by as much as $14 million dollars per incident. As a result, new food regulation programs for distributors are expected to be more stringent in coming years. Additional recordkeeping for “high-risk foods,” for example, is a likely possibility.

As it stands, the FDA mandates that almost every food product – especially meat, seafood, dairy, and eggs –has to have a marked lot number and GS1 label on the item before shipping. This number details where the item has been. It also gives the FDA batch information and a means to trace the product back to the warehouse it was distributed from. The FDA is looking for better methods, and is encouraging companies to turn to technology to implement more efficient tracking solutions.

Food distributors are struggling to keep pace with ever-changing regulations, but what many don’t realize is that recall issues stem from the use of multiple systems and software, as well as manual management processes prior to the product ever entering the distribution channel. Too many systems and procedures that lack interoperability is a recipe for disaster, especially when valuable time is wasted tracking a potentially contaminated shipment.

With recent food recalls, the FDA is getting ready to crack down on product traceability. Many food distributors are pushing to upgrade their lot traceability software to prepare for the rise in regulations and government monitoring, though the strain may be felt most by SMBs who do not share the robust budgets of enterprise-grade competitors.

There is an answer for SMBs, however. SR²Software specializes in providing affordable solutions for SMB food distributors that rival competing software that is almost 10 times the price. Discover how to keep up with government lot traceability regulations in a relatively affordable way and talk to one of our SR²Software experts today at 866.245.6216!

4 Things QuickBooks Doesn’t Do that SMB Food Distributors Need

There is no question that QuickBooks is a great accounting software for small to medium food distribution businesses, but what do you do when your company’s needs start to pull a little at the seams, when your operations start to become more robust? The answer may not be scrapping QuickBooks and starting all over again with a whole new solution, but instead bringing in complimentary software to draw more functionality from your systems.

When searching through seas of software, it’s important to be wary of cookie cutter solutions that pledge the world by saying they can fit into a variety of industries when, in reality, they leave little to be desired. For those hunting down software that will improve operations in the food distribution industry while simultaneously filling some of the holes that QuickBooks can leave behind, it is important to find a multi-faceted solution that offers the following:

Automatic Truck Routing – Avoid the manual, time-consuming processes that come with old-school methods of logistics. Mapping out routes and creating time-tables after manually putting orders into sequences can be a task of the past.  With automatic truck routing integrated into IT systems, organizations can save time, reduce errors, and improve the efficiency of their shipping and distribution.

Product Tracking – This technology is monumental for food manufacturers. Being able to track shipments that have potential contaminants quickly and efficiently has become a necessity. With the latest line of produce fiascos, the US Food and Drug Association (FDA) have made a considerable number of new policies to ensure that food distributors have this ability.

Pick Lists – With more organized pick lists that don’t require multiple reports, companies can increase the efficiency of warehouse workers, avoid duplicate item pulls, and decrease the number of times workers have to flounce in and out of freezer and refrigerator zones. Enhanced integration also allows mangers to see inventory quantities, out of stock information, order history guides, and more.

Catch Weights – Being able to input the exact weight of food products bought from various locations has a couple major benefits for food distributors. First, there is an added layer of traceability. Very few meat orders measure the same, after all. Second, when catch-weights are stored, the prices of items can be better tracked. After all, seafood and livestock prices fluctuate daily. Now, workers no longer have to manually change amounts to keep up.

Overall, organizations need reliable software that not only integrates with existing solutions, like QuickBooks, but also meets the needs of the food distribution industry. SR²Food from SR²Software is a competitive solution that offers traceability and enhanced functionality to improve the efficiency of your workers and overall operations. Explore what SR²Food can offer your business. Contact one of our SR²Software experts today at 866.245.6216!

How Robots are Transforming the Future of Distribution

Take a moment and allow me to introduce you to the future of distribution: robots. If you’re imagining a scene from Terminator, or if you’re just a fan of the soon-to-be old school methods of packing and shipping, then here’s something to consider. On average, the typical warehouse worker spends 75-90% of all their time searching warehouses for items to fill orders.

For companies like Amazon that have around 150 million items that they organize, manage, and sell in their warehouses, it’s easy to see how workers can actually get lost searching for products. There are billions upon billions of possible order combinations, each of which require individual attention. So, how are robots going to help? Welcome to the world of delivery drones, where workers can instruct programmable robots to retrieve objects for them. It’s like playing fetch with the smartest dog in the world.

How do they work? From each picking station, workers send out 4×4 square foot robots that measure around 12 inches in height. These little buggers keep track of the exact location of items, drive right under the shelves that the needed items rest on, and lift them. They then carry the requested shelf to the waiting personnel working to fill orders. When they’re done, these robots drop the shelves off and then move on to the next item or order. With these delivery drones, distributors can almost double the efficiency of their shipping departments.

Of course, not every company is Amazon; not every company can afford million dollar robot delivery systems whizzing around their warehouses. However, all is not lost for smaller food distributors. Companies like SR²Software are designing solutions that enhance warehouse efficiency for a price tag that’s around 10 times less expensive than any other system out on the marketplace today.

SR²Food Software, designed for food distributors, helps companies optimize the performance of their employees by increasing distribution center efficiencies. These new technologies are budget-friendly and fulfill client needs while providing some of the technological perks that customers in today’s competitive marketplace expect. These systems give your company the brain of a robot without the exorbitant costs.

To discover how these systems can boost your food distributing prowess, contact a SR²Software expert today at 866.245.6216!