Food manufacturers are moving away from heavy ERP customization, largely because of the risks and expense involved. Profit Solutions International published a great article about why ERP customization is losing demand, and we agree. With ERP customizations, companies often run into buggy systems, sprawling timelines, and an inability to grow due to the inflexibility of the customized system.

When deciding between an industry-specific solution, with built-in flexibility, and a heavily customized ERP, here are a few things to consider:

How long do you want this to take and how much money do you want to spend?
Choosing an industry-specific solution from the get go will help you avoid the guesswork involved with the cost of customization. Food-specific solutions like ParityFactory offer fixed-cost implementation and training, taking a lot less time than the customization process would. Instead of years, these solutions can be implemented in months.

Under more traditional time and material models, you are at high risk for projects that never materialize. In those situations, the vendor is ultimately rewarded the longer and more difficult the project becomes.

Many of the larger ERPs with food processing add-ons start well in to six figures and carry implementation timelines of more than a year. And other options such as ill-fitting WMS systems lack the robust features needed to really make a difference in your operation, ultimately robbing the project of any ROI. A food-specific solution best balances both cost and results.

Does your company need flexibility now or in the future?
Best of Breed solutions are built from the ground up with flexibility in mind to create a solution that can adapt to any environment without the need for extensive customizations. Because different configurations are supported, you have flexibility as your business changes over time – systems evolve with you rather than becoming strained under future growth or changes. New customer requirements, new lines, new products, changing regulations, etc. can all become a real challenge with extensive changes of a customized ERP solution.

Would your company benefit from cross industry ideas?
Generic warehousing solutions can’t and don’t provide the deep, built-in capabilities that make the complexities of your industry simple and automatic. With a food-specific choice, you get experts in the intricacies of your field—people who know their stuff and can give you what you need. Quality holds, SQF, GS1, UoM conversions, FEFO, FIFO, yields reporting, and real-time tracing are just a few things you will want your implementation team to understand. More generic ERP systems often don’t provide the flexible workflows, processes, and product definitions (random or even weight, pallets, bins, etc.) that can adapt to the way your factory operates. A Best of Breed solution can help you eliminate the need for side spreadsheets that are all too common with less specialized solutions.

Who chooses Best of Breed over full ERP customization?
Companies who are budget-conscious will love configurable, industry-specific solutions because they eliminate the cost, risk, complexity, and sprawling timelines of ERP customizations without sacrificing food-specific functionality. Even large companies that can afford the cost of extensive customizations choose industry-specific solutions because they value the long-term flexibility in terms of configuration and integration possibilities.

Companies with unique needs will also value a configurable system like ParityFactory because they get the custom feel without the cost, risk, work, and timelines associated with home-built systems. Most processors do not want to go in to the software business and instead prefer to stay focused on food manufacturing which they know best.

Do you need a food-specific solution?
ParityFactory is designed specifically for food processors and built for the factory. If you’re looking to save money, streamline your operations, and run a more efficient shop floor, contact us with your questions or to set up a demo.