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Microsoft Dynamics® AX ‘ready-to-eat’ solutions

Building on years of success working with manufacturers in the food and beverage (F&B) industry and its key component industry segments, RSM offers processors of ready-to-eat products an unmatched combination of deep industry knowledge alongside certified technical experience in Dynamics AX.

Operating at the highest levels of partnership with Microsoft, and home to perhaps the most comprehensive Dynamics AX practice in the United States, RSM boasts a consulting team uniquely qualified to help processors of ready-to-eat products drive the safety, visibility, analytics capability, growth and profitability they require, all while minimizing cost and risk. With the flexibility, strength and industry-specific functionality of RSM’s Dynamics AX-based ERP solution suite for ready-to-eat manufacturers—RSM clients are prepared and ready to do just that. 

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Chris Jones
Principal,
Food and Beverage

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Vertical focus and technical depth drive RSM’s consulting credentials in the ready-to-eat industry

With a market worth well over $30 billion annually and growth rates nearing double digits, the ready-to-eat segment within the larger food and beverage industry is enormous and expected only to grow moving toward the future. Hectic, mobile lifestyles; less dedicated time to prepare meals; more disposable income in urban areas wielded by students, busy professionals, and single parents; and greater selection and availability of convenient, fully prepared food options are just a few of the trends converging to drive today’s burgeoning demand for ready-to-eat products—defined as foods created for ease of “as is” consumption, without requirements for additional cooking or preparation.

Responding to additional growth in overall consumer demand for health-conscious, organic and ethnic foods, specialty ready-to-eat products are also making their way into the growing convenience food marketplace at a rapid clip. And perhaps most surprising for the ready-to-eat grocery market, data reveals many pre-recession consumers of fast-food or quick-serve restaurants (QSR) have responded to incremental post-recession boosts in disposable income not by returning to these establishments, but by continuing more cost-conscious recession strategies that replaced fast food meals with their ready-to-eat counterparts—generally available more cheaply at the grocery store and perceived to be (relatively) healthier than foods from QSR sources.

Yet manufacturing challenges and concerns in this industry continue unabated, with additional growth and variety in the market only adding to complexities and driving industry demands for software solutions that enable:

  • Greater single-platform connection and real-time visibility across the enterprise
  • More efficient and accurate production planning and inventory management
  • Lower production costs while continuing to deliver on customer contracts and commitments
  • Management and control over supply uncertainties and variability associated with the availability of raw materials (especially highly perishable raw materials)
  • Compliance with robust safety and quality mandates and requirements

More difficult still, however, the very nature of ready-to-eat product manufacturing—in which consumables are often built from numerous and varied component elements, each created in a separate processing operation with its own risk of contamination, and each bringing that risk to the final production process—means that these manufacturers inherently operate in an environment so challenging as to make its far-reaching safety and contamination concerns a near-Herculean task—or at least the task of a master of both the industry and its technology tools. RSM’s experienced, certified Dynamics AX consultants help optimize business processes for ready-to-eat manufacturers who provide products for all classes of trade, including mass merchandising, convenience, and club and specialty stores.

RSM understands ready-to-eat industry business drivers

Bringing with them a wealth of industry experience gained from years of work with ready-to-eat clients of all sizes, RSM consultants blend their knowledge of ready-to-eat manufacturing with the highest level Microsoft Dynamics AX certifications to deliver the benefits of RSM’s powerful, proven ERP solution, built upon the Dynamics AX platform—designed specifically to help ready-to-eat manufacturers achieve many of this dynamic industry’s most common business and operational goals, including requirements to: 

  • Gain real-time visibility into business-critical operating metrics like productivity, margin and profitability while also boosting safety and regulatory compliance with advanced traceability—forward and backward—with the clear view into end-to-end ready-to-eat manufacturing operations provided by RSM. Using powerful, proven business intelligence and analytics capabilities, ready-to-eat clients are also able to leverage the powerful data gleaned from greater enterprise-wide integration and visibility to transform big data into actionable business insights and safer manufacturing operations.
  • Streamline and connect cross-enterprise operations such as purchasing, production, sales, cost management and accounting into a single, fully integrated platform that reduces the error, inefficiencies and time delays that typically result when paper-based or spreadsheet processes are used to track critical areas such as inventory, orders and costs. Free from the inefficiencies that characterize these types of disconnected legacy processes and systems, ready-to-eat industry clients are able to scale and act quickly to meet regulatory requirements, consumer demands and corporate goals for profit and growth.
  • Enable quick and nimble responses to changing food and consumer trends, commodity costs, disruptions (including recalls) and innovations, as well as other dynamic industry factors with a solution that easily adapts to industry-specific processes for ready-to-eat manufacturers and includes pre-defined templates to ensure clients are able to be live—up and running—quickly, and without costly delays.
  • Increase top-line revenue using advanced business reporting metrics that identify top performers, and enjoy inventory visibility that captures the value that demanding customers have for products they purchase. At the same time, reduce costs and target new tastes for higher margins and profitability through these same reporting metrics, process and system automation, operational improvements and effective management of areas such as forecasting, inventory control and accounting.
  • Use powerful business intelligence and analytic capabilities to capitalize on the potential big data offers to enable more agile operations and faster, improved business decision-making, using data to hone competitive advantage in a dynamic industry witnessing unprecedented innovation, change and disruption.

Uniquely positioned to help manufacturers of ready-to-eat products grow and scale their businesses; simplify and speed processes; and make smarter, faster, better-informed decisions, RSM consultants specialize in addressing just these types of industry challenges, delivering measurable improvements and efficiencies to critical business operations.

RSM delivers leading Dynamics AX solutions, designed for ready-to-eat manufacturers

Built on the Dynamics AX platform and designed to give ready-to-eat manufacturers the flexibility, visibility and scalability they need to drive revenue and support sustainable growth, RSM’s ready-to-eat solution is a true single-platform, end-to-end ERP solution that addresses the industry’s complex operational requirements—including those around safety, quality and regulatory management—through functionality such as:

  • Advanced lot trace: Streamlining food safety and similar compliance efforts while enabling rapid responses to critical scenarios, ready-to-eat manufacturers enjoy complete visibility—forward and backward—into raw materials, intermediates and finished products through all stages of the supply chain, using automated, electronic processes to manage critical control points (CCP) in their supply chain, develop food safety and recall plans and manage traceability. RSM’s easy-to use Lot Trace Wizard provides a user-friendly way to execute traces through a series of intuitive questions that allow users to pinpoint bad lots—this Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI)compliant solution accommodates GTIN, GDSN Field Names, County of Origin, Unit of Measure Codes, bar code formatting, and packaging type codes.
  • Cost control and performance: Integrating processes across departments and streamlining cross-enterprise operations such as purchasing, production, sales, cost management and accounting, users are equipped with comprehensive functionality around all areas of cost control, leveraging the tools and visibility they need to manage performance of all key ready-to-eat manufacturing operations. Easy-to-use features allow for straightforward calculations around margin-critical areas—including promotions, rebates, pricing and accounting—on all commodities at key points in the supply chain. (See also “Trade Promotions Management” below.)
  • Direct store delivery and perfect order fulfillment: Delivering perfect orders every time and simplifying the end-to-end route accounting process, users tasked with on-time delivery of consumable or perishable products for distribution improved efficiency, delivery productivity, and margin with this delivery route accounting and management tool that supports static and ad hoc routes, load sequencing, delivery calendars, route optimization, vendor-managed inventory and delivery via distribution centers.
  • Mobile traceability: Extending product source and safety information all the way to the customer’s fingertips via mobile devices, consumers are enabled to easily trace items they intend to purchase via tablets or smartphones—either at the point of purchase or from the convenience of their home—providing both peace of mind for consumers and the ability for growers, producers, shippers and manufacturers to provide those same consumers with value-added information such as recall notices, nutritional information and recipes, while also strengthening consumer connectivity, feedback and brand reputation.
  • Product quality control: Supporting critical initiatives around ensuring the quality of often highly perishable products such as produce, users gain flexible control of date-sensitive inventory with a quality control solution that supports sample testing and is tightly integrated with inventory functionality—a solution able to enact automatic quality assurance (QA) holds if tested specifications are not met, generate Pending Lot Expiration reports, and provide the first expired, first out (FEFO) stock controls so critical for companies dealing in perishable goods.
  • Production scheduling: Optimizing seasonal and variable raw materials to maximize yields while also reducing the error, inefficiency and workload associated with manual production scheduling, ready-to-eat manufacturers are able to improve the quality and efficiency of production schedules to ensure they are able to quickly and seamlessly respond to schedule changes throughout the day, get the highest yields from available raw materials and production capabilities, and schedule production in the most efficient, economical way possible, minimizing downtime—all within the production constraints specified for each piece of equipment. Also enabling ready-to-eat manufacturers to easily manage high-volume, last-minute orders and “make to order” processing with real-time visibility into production, allocations and logistics, this solution is a critical component of the value-added processing operations used by many of today’s ready-to-eat manufacturers.
  • Warehouse and inventory management: Enabling the accurate, real-time inventory and warehouse management capabilities needed to comply with customer contracts, ready-to-eat clients are able to decrease on-hand inventory and packaging, ensure fresher inventory for customers, minimize loss and waste, and achieve the highest yields from raw materials and production capabilities—also charging premium prices for new and high-demand products—all with an accurate, easy-to-use tool that optimizes processes, simplifies reporting, and manages inventory and order data in real time.
  • Version control: Effectively managing time-sensitive packaging, processors are able to control different versions of products tied to the packaging so that the product, UPCs and SKUs do not change, but the actual product packaging does. Allowing for version controls on actual packaging documents allows processors to use the same SKUs and UPCs while internally tracking different component inputs. 

Such complex capabilities and requirements are precisely what a true industry-specific solution like Microsoft Dynamics AX is designed and built for. Adding applicable process manufacturing industry accelerators from RSM to enhance out-of-the-box functionality from day one also speeds and simplifies the ways in which RSM’s ready-to-eat clients are able to successfully meet many of these industry-specific challenges

Certifications

Microsoft has recognized RSM with a gold Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) competency in the Microsoft Partner Network as well as a Global Independent Software Vendor (GISV) status. RSM has also been awarded some of Microsoft’s most prestigious awards in vertical-specific areas. 

  • Inner Circle for Microsoft Dynamics
  • Certified for Microsoft Dynamics AX (CfMD)
  • Global Development Localization Partner Advisory Board
  • RFID Partner Advisory Council
  • Dynamics AX X++ Development I
  • Dynamics AX X++ Development II
  • Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal Development I
  • Dynamics AX Advanced Administration
  • Reporting and Business Analysis for Dynamics AX

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