Food Traceability Software

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Buyers Guide

Last Updated: November 23, 2022

Whether you're challenged by growing pressure to meet demands from your supply chain partners, rising product recall requirements or the effort to meet FDA Food Safety regulations, food traceability software can help you remain competitive in the food distribution business.

Because there are several food traceability systems available with varying levels of functionality, it can be overwhelming to select the right solution on your own, especially if you're researching food traceability software for the first time. That's why we've created this Buyer's Guide to go over everything you need to know before making a final purchase decision.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Food Traceability Software?
Common Features of Food Traceability Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Benefits of Food Traceability Software
Market Trends to Understand
Key Considerations

What Is Food Traceability Software?

Food traceability software allows users to research, track, manage and store information related to the makeup of various food products. Businesses generally use the software to maintain documented records of all their food orders along with each shipment's origins and details.

One of the most essential functions of food traceability software is enabling users to meet food safety requirements. But, in addition, most food traceability systems also offer tools to optimize food order spending and budgeting, create allergy warnings and get in touch with sellers.

The software makes it easy and simple to connect inventory and origin data as well as track product ingredients and their origins.

Lot traceability in SYSPRO for food distributors

Lot traceability in SYSPRO for food distributors helps users stay compliant with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and Safe Quality Food (SQF) standards

Lot traceability in SYSPRO for food distributors helps users stay compliant with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and Safe Quality Food (SQF) standards

Common Features of Food Traceability Software

Vendors offer a variety of functional breadth and depth in their food traceability software. Here are some of the most common capabilities:

Order management Enables you to use various sales order entry options efficiently to improve your profit margins. Telephone orders can be taken quickly from the main order entry screen. Users can view in-stock and due-in inventory data by item, as well as customers' purchase histories.
Traceability Enables complete lot/serial tracking, including the receipt of inbound supplier ingredients, component lots consumed in the manufacturing process and the final product shipped to customers.
Traceforward and traceback Traceforward, or forward traceability, refers to lot traceability starting from supplier ingredients to manufactured lots and finally to customer shipments. Traceback, or backward traceability, refers to lot traceability from customer shipments to supplier ingredients.
Recall management Allows you to plan and simulate future recall events in advance using functionalities such as serial number tracking, mock recall testing, creating recall-specific contacts, storing of predefined documents and ability to email documents directly to intended recipients.
Recipe management Enables you to manage and order ingredients and quantities that are required to produce a semifinished or finished product.
Quality control Allows you to configure quality control tests for specific suppliers, customers and products. Enables quality control personnel to capture photographs and attach documents related to quality tests and send emails of failed quality test results to concerned parties.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Before you start evaluating different food traceability software, you'll want to know what buyer category you belong to. Most food traceability software buyers fall into one of these three categories:

Small business buyers. They usually have minimal inventory, few suppliers and a small, but growing base of customers. They are likely using paper-based systems for their current tracking processes. These buyers either work for other distributors or have their own small distribution component as one part of their business. They should be looking for basic features such as order management and traceability.

Departmental buyers. These buyers usually have their own internal distribution network. They may only sell to their own outlets, but they deal with multiple suppliers and a fairly large volume of customers. These buyers should evaluate software that can support multiple departments and should look for features such as order management, traceability and recall management.

Large operations. These buyers have a large number of suppliers and customers and are looking for seamless integration of data and processes with their existing systems such as accounting, ERP and supply chain management systems. These buyers are looking for complete food distribution and traceability software suites with added features such as quality control and recipe management.

Benefits of Food Traceability Software

Some of the benefits of food traceability software include:

Optimized supply chain efficiency. Users can meet business goals for supplier ingredients and raw material sourcing. In addition, users can purchase food items more strategically, keeping seasonality demand in mind. This results in enhanced forecast accuracy for just-in-time production of food products to maximize their shelf life and reduce waste.

Compliance with food industry standards for safety. Food traceability software helps meet various compliances and standards such as Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and Safe Quality Food (SQF) standards with fully integrated processes based on raw materials receiving, manufacturing, packaging and shipping.

Market Trends to Understand

You will likely come across some of the following market trends as you begin your search for food traceability software:

Preference for cloud-based software. Most food traceability software buyers prefer cloud-based software, as easy and quick accessibility is critical for them. Buyers are looking to transfer their data to the cloud to provide data access to suppliers.

Availability of mobile apps. Food traceability software is also available in the form of mobile apps, and several vendors in the market are already offering mobile integrations. The portability and convenience of mobile devices allows users to operate on the move.

Key Considerations

Here are some important factors to think about before you implement food traceability software:

  • System integration. You must consider food traceability software options that integrate well with your existing technology, if any, such as supply chain or ERP software. Seamless integration makes it easy to share existing data with the new system.  
  • Mobile support. If you are among those software buyers who prefer to access software on the move, check whether the vendor offers a mobile app, as well. Mobile apps enable you and your suppliers to access data from any location.
  • Cloud or on-premise deployment. You must be clear on your deployment preference, so check in advance with vendors regarding the deployment options they offer. Many small businesses prefer cloud-based deployment due to low upfront costs and easy accessibility of data by all stakeholders, but some may consider an on-premise option based on budget and unique requirements.