John Flavin Executive Vice President, Manufacturing & Distribution Solutions
Consumer buying trends aren’t the only variable to consider in the Food and Beverages (F&B) industry. Challenges abound in quality and compliance regulations, food recalls, food safety, and government regulations tending to vary by both geography and micro-vertical. “The best way for organizations to differentiate themselves from competitors is to have tools in place to balance materials procurement, customer demand, regulatory compliance and operational efficiency,” says John Flavin, EVP, Manufacturing and Distribution Solutions, Infor. The key is in implementing a more accurate system for forecasting product demand as well as optimizing daily production schedules.
Infor’s dedicated team of business analysts, product engineers and user experience advisors who are intimately familiar with the food manufacturing industry, help guide their customers to uncover the right solution—a complete enterprise resource planning (ERP) system or a best-in-breed point application.
Infor M3, the leading ERP solution is the firm’s answer to meet the precise needs of companies in the F&B sector to optimize their business. The solution takes into account industry unique requirements such as shelf-life, catch weight, co-products and bi-products, lot management, track and trace capabilities, attribute management and reverse bills of material just to name a few.
Infor’s suite of solutions for Food & Beverage is not limited to ERP solutions alone. “Our product lifecycle management (PLM) solution for process manufacturers, known as Optiva, can also help organizations manage their proprietary recipes, while ensuring labels and specification sheets match the formula,” explains Flavin. Additionally, Infor has some very advanced supply chain planning tools to help organizations deal with the complexities of seasonality or procurement of ingredients and finished goods. The firms’s Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) suite is specifically designed to help minimize downtime, improve efficiency as well as extend the life of capital equipment in an asset intensive food plant.
Scheduling in Brewery organizations, having a limited number of tanks or a select few having unique characteristics such as maturation times, variable in-flow and out-flow rates and blended batches, can be a nightmare. “Our advanced scheduling application is a tool that helps manage the challenges associated with tank usage, which is why five out of the top six brewery companies in the world use our solution,” states Flavin.
Infor’s operational excellence is highlighted at Coca-Cola Enterprises Norway, which adopted a preventative maintenance strategy throughout its production processes to achieve world-class maintenance standards. This new technology has led to higher productivity and lower costs across production, maintenance and energy consumption. The factory now achieves 93 percent of production efficiency as compared to 46 percent in 2009—becoming one of Coca Cola's best production facilities in Europe, while still achieving lower production, maintenance and energy costs.
One major differentiator and source of tremendous pride is Infor’s internal creative lab, known as Hook & Loop. Here a team comprised of graphic artists, composers, animators, and creative designers take an out of the box approach to software development, pairing their creativity with Infor’s product development team. “We are creating a user experience that people love–bringing beauty, simplicity and ease of use to enterprise software which is as essential as functionality,” remarks Flavin.
At Infor, the focus is on continuously fostering innovation. The recently announced Infor Xi, enterprise technology platform builds upon the current 10x platform to deliver a major step forward for the firm’s vision of cloud applications, while pairing it with a responsive design to process big data analytics. “We are rolling out a unique cloud strategy and have recently announced the Infor Cloud Suite series of solutions, which is focused on the specific needs of our customers in the Food & Beverage manufacturing industry,” says Flavin.