The Food Industry is Hungry for xTuple

In the food industry, not just any ERP software will do.

The regulatory and operational needs of food manufacturers and distributors mean that only a sophisticated, flexible, cost-effective ERP application such as xTuple can provide a viable solution.

We'd like to highlight the features that make xTuple a "natural" fit for food and describe our plans to serve this marketplace even better in 2013 and beyond.

Here are some things that should make food producers hungry for xTuple —

  1. If you process food, traceability of ingredients and lot tracking of item sources is an absolute inflexible requirement. When the FDA comes calling, you need to be able to know where everything came from, what went into what, and where it ultimately was shipped, instantly and accurately. xTuple does sophisticated lot/serial tracking.

  2. If you buy and sell food products, you probably deal with items where you buy and sell by weight, but where there is no fixed weight per case. You need to capture the actual weight when products are received or shipped, and set prices accordingly. This is often referred to as “catch weight.” xTuple does catch weight.

  3. If you sell to national grocery chains, you need to be able to automate your ordering/invoicing processes to comply with a variety of EDI formats and requirements. You'll need to receive orders electronically, process them quickly, and send your acknowledgement and your invoice in the required format to receive your payment quickly. xTuple does data interchange in multiple formats, over multiple transport mechanisms.

Some of the most successful implementations of xTuple are in food manufacturing and distribution. We offer the features mentioned above — traceability, catch weight, electronic order-processing integration with large chains — plus proven implementation and consulting services to help relieve each specific business's pain points.

Cedarlane Natural Foods, a producer of prepared and frozen foods (their Low Fat Beans, Rice & Cheese Style Burrito, pictured above, was named a Grand Prize Winner by Cooking Light Magazine in 2011), has been using xTuple to manage operations and accounting since 2004.

"When we added the xTuple inventory control module, we weren't just adding a system, but changing the company culture and creating new procedures," said Daniel Baroco, IT manager at Cedarlane. Some of those procedures are specific to food manufacturers. "Traceability is absolutely required in the food industry," Baroco says. "A lot of the ingredients we use can get converted in the finished product and becomes a different lot. You have to trace across those lots. xTuple does that for us very well."

Another customer, a large wholesale meat distributor, recently sponsored the catch weight feature. The company orders meat by the case, but they pay by the pound because meat — among many other natural food products — is not a consistent "one size fits all" item. They sell the same way, so this functionality was critical to their business. xTuple captures the actual weight per case at the receiving dock and the shipping dock, so the customer can voucher and invoice the proper amounts. Other food industry customers will adopt this important feature soon.

Nordic Naturals, a leading processor of omega-3 oils, distributes to many large chains, including Whole Foods. To maintain their vendor relationship, they needed to tie their xTuple system to the Whole Foods electronic ordering system. Using the xml import/export capabilities of xTuple, and the scheduling features of xTuple Connect, they automated the order process to pick up the orders from the Whole Foods ftp site and import them into xTuple. From there they could pick and ship the items and electronically post the invoices back to the Whole Foods site. They were able to meet the requirements to stay in the Whole Foods supplier network and retain a critical customer for their products.

Why all this talk about food? Because food is a big deal. Grow Your World® is our motto, and the food industry is one of the fastest-growing economic sectors in the world. The dietary supplement market is projected to be the fastest growing market segment in the global industry over the next five years, and it also the largest market segment of the nutraceutical industry in the US. The global organic food market is expected to grow from US$ 57.5 billion in 2010 to US$ 104.7 billion in 2015 at an estimated CAGR of 12.9%. *

 *  Organic Food Market — Global Industry Size, Market Share, Trends, Analysis and Forecasts 2012–2018” SBWire (10/3/2012)

xTuple has already helped companies in the food industry to grow their business, and we plan to drive even further into this sector in the coming months and years. Food producers, particularly boutique and organic food producers as well as companies in the nutraceutical sector, will see benefits, including traceability, cost-savings and growth, from implementing xTuple software. We've delivered key features that make us valuable to food producers and distributors, and we plan to further uncover unmet needs and develop solutions. And we'll use our familiar open source methods to do it at a lower cost than our competition.

We are looking for professional food product managers and technical resources to help serve this market from a sales, product management and implementation standpoint. If you're a food industry ERP veteran looking for an exciting new challenge, call us. We'd love to talk. And of course, if your company is in the food industry, and you'd like to Grow Your World®, we'd love to talk, too.

Photo credit: Flickr member

BC Wilson

Director Cloud Services at xTuple, October 2008 – January 2018

With the explosive movement of cloud strategies, BC was promoted to director of cloud services in 2014. Previously, he oversaw operations and hiring of managers for critical lines of business for the Product Management Group, driving return on investment (ROI) for all xTuple products and managed ongoing engineering and development of the xTuple Classic GUI product, including all customer-sponsored enhancements, as well as the xTuple Web Portal product. Prior to xTuple, BC was a senior product manager for Trader Electronic Media, where he directed the development of websites for the classified advertising market. He has also worked as a partner in a web design agency, and a content producer for the Road Runner and Starband broadband service providers. BC began his career as a writer and editor for the Ziff Davis computer magazines.

He holds a B.A. in Theology from Georgetown University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Old Dominion University. In 2012, BC was appointed as a commissioner of Bicycle and Pedestrian Trails in Norfolk, Virginia.