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Food Distribution Software


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NetSuite logo
 
As NetSuite has grown, they’ve slowly branched out to industries such as food distribution. Because NetSuite is a SaaS solution, food distributors can monitor product status and location from any device with Internet access.
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As NetSuite has grown, they’ve slowly branched out to industries such as food distribution. Because NetSuite is a SaaS solution, food distributors can monitor product status and location from any device with Internet access.
 
Fishbowl Inventory Distribution logo
 
Fishbowl Inventory contains the functionality to serve distributors, including cycle counting, asset management, customized reporting, and more. Ideal for companies looking to replace their current QuickBooks system.
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Fishbowl Inventory contains the functionality to serve distributors, including cycle counting, asset management, customized reporting, and more. Ideal for companies looking to replace their current QuickBooks system.
 
ADS Solutions - Accolent ERP logo
 
Accolent ERP by ADS Solutions is cloud-based SaaS or on-premise distribution software. It’s a fully integrated suite that includes purchasing, inventory control, shipping and receiving, accounting capabilities and more.
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Accolent ERP by ADS Solutions is cloud-based SaaS or on-premise distribution software. It’s a fully integrated suite that includes purchasing, inventory control, shipping and receiving, accounting capabilities and more.
 
Infor ERP Distribution logo
 
One of the largest vendors, Infor has over 5,700 customers. That being said, the specific needs of distributors are addressed with Infor’s ERP solution. We recommend users with sales over $20 million check out this system.
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One of the largest vendors, Infor has over 5,700 customers. That being said, the specific needs of distributors are addressed with Infor’s ERP solution. We recommend users with sales over $20 million check out this system.
 
Lead Commerce logo
 
Lead Commerce is a full-featured, flexible, and customizable order management solution that offers a powerful suite of applications like Inventory Management, Merchandise Planning, and Customer Relationship Management. The solution... Read More
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Lead Commerce is a full-featured, flexible, and customizable order management solution that offers a powerful suite of applications like Inventory Management, Merchandise Planning, and Customer Relationship Management. The solution... Read More

Call us for a free FastStart Consultation: +35 376 680 1856


 
Entree logo
 
NECS entrée is a specialty distribution package that caters specifically to this particular vertical. For over twenty years, entrée has been the go to choice for distributors looking for an integrated suite.
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NECS entrée is a specialty distribution package that caters specifically to this particular vertical. For over twenty years, entrée has been the go to choice for distributors looking for an integrated suite.
 
SYSPRO logo
 
SYSPRO has been a presence in ERP software for more than three decades. SYSPRO for food distributors includes features for compliance reporting, lot traceability, recall management, catch weight management and more.
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SYSPRO has been a presence in ERP software for more than three decades. SYSPRO for food distributors includes features for compliance reporting, lot traceability, recall management, catch weight management and more.
 
SAP Business One logo
 
SAP is one of the most prominent names in the ERP industry. Their Business One solution is functionally robust and offers great warehouse management with advanced traceability geared toward food distributors in the mid-market.
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SAP is one of the most prominent names in the ERP industry. Their Business One solution is functionally robust and offers great warehouse management with advanced traceability geared toward food distributors in the mid-market.
 
Exact Macola logo
 
Exact is a very popular system among small and mid-sized distributors. Exact Macola supports common features useful to distributors such as catch weight management, delivery management and more.
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Exact is a very popular system among small and mid-sized distributors. Exact Macola supports common features useful to distributors such as catch weight management, delivery management and more.
 
TrueERP logo
 
True ERP is a fully integrated and customizable business management system for organizations of all sizes. Serving thousands of customers worldwide for two decades, True ERP helps reduce company costs and data entry while increasing... Read More
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True ERP is a fully integrated and customizable business management system for organizations of all sizes. Serving thousands of customers worldwide for two decades, True ERP helps reduce company costs and data entry while increasing... Read More

Call us for a free FastStart Consultation: +35 376 680 1856


 
S2K Distribution Management Software logo
 
S2K Enterprise Management Software by VAI is a fully integrated ERP system designed to manage mid-sized and enterprise businesses in the wholesale distribution, manufacturing and speciality retail industries, across many vertical markets... Read More
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S2K Enterprise Management Software by VAI is a fully integrated ERP system designed to manage mid-sized and enterprise businesses in the wholesale distribution, manufacturing and speciality retail industries, across many vertical markets... Read More
 
SAP Anywhere logo
 
SAP Anywhere integrates sales, marketing, e-commerce, and inventory activities into one complete front-office system. With SAP Anywhere users can manage and track inventory, manage orders, manage the procurement process, and more.... Read More
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SAP Anywhere integrates sales, marketing, e-commerce, and inventory activities into one complete front-office system. With SAP Anywhere users can manage and track inventory, manage orders, manage the procurement process, and more.... Read More
 
Kenandy Cloud ERP logo
 
Kenandy is a comprehensive cloud-based ERP solution created for companies that design, manufacture, or distribute products. It helps businesses manage core processes including order-to-cash, planning and production, procurement, TPM,... Read More
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Kenandy is a comprehensive cloud-based ERP solution created for companies that design, manufacture, or distribute products. It helps businesses manage core processes including order-to-cash, planning and production, procurement, TPM,... Read More
 
Blue Link ERP logo
 
Blue Link is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and has been in wholesale applications for more than 20 years. Blue Link ERP has several inventory features like lot tracking and costing that are helpful to distributors.
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Blue Link is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and has been in wholesale applications for more than 20 years. Blue Link ERP has several inventory features like lot tracking and costing that are helpful to distributors.
 
Enterprise 21 ERP logo
 
Ideal for small and mid-sized manufacturing and distribution companies, Enterprise 21 ERP from TGI offers a fully integrated solution that facilitates industry best practices. This robust ERP system provides a single platform to streamline... Read More
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Ideal for small and mid-sized manufacturing and distribution companies, Enterprise 21 ERP from TGI offers a fully integrated solution that facilitates industry best practices. This robust ERP system provides a single platform to streamline... Read More

Call us for a free FastStart Consultation: +35 376 680 1856


 
VersAccounts Small Business Cloud ERP logo
 
VersAccounts is a web-based accounting and enterprise resource planning (ERP) system designed for growing small and midsized businesses looking to gain real-time financial and operational insights. This Cloud 2.0 system enables businesses... Read More
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VersAccounts is a web-based accounting and enterprise resource planning (ERP) system designed for growing small and midsized businesses looking to gain real-time financial and operational insights. This Cloud 2.0 system enables businesses... Read More
 
Microsoft Dynamics AX logo
 
Microsoft Dynamics AX is an ERP system for mid-size to large enterprises. It is the most robust, scalable, and functionally rich enterprise resource planning system in the Microsoft Dynamics family of products. The system was originally... Read More
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Microsoft Dynamics AX is an ERP system for mid-size to large enterprises. It is the most robust, scalable, and functionally rich enterprise resource planning system in the Microsoft Dynamics family of products. The system was originally... Read More
 
Geneva Business Management Systems (GBMS) logo
 
Geneva is a highly flexible distribution ERP system that is capable of serving most wholesale verticals. The software is built on the .NET platform, which makes it a user-friendly system.
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Geneva is a highly flexible distribution ERP system that is capable of serving most wholesale verticals. The software is built on the .NET platform, which makes it a user-friendly system.
 
bcFood logo
 
bcFood by Beck Consulting is a complete Enterprise Resource Planning system designed specifically to meet the unique needs of food manufacturers, processors, and distributors both small and large. bcFood is built on Microsoft Dynamics... Read More
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bcFood by Beck Consulting is a complete Enterprise Resource Planning system designed specifically to meet the unique needs of food manufacturers, processors, and distributors both small and large. bcFood is built on Microsoft Dynamics... Read More
 
Red Rock Warehouse Manager logo
 
Red Rock WMS from 3PL Central is a cloud-based inventory management system for companies doing retail distribution, e-commerce fulfillment and manufacturing. Red Rock WMS can integrate with QuickBooks, manage multiple warehouses,... Read More
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Red Rock WMS from 3PL Central is a cloud-based inventory management system for companies doing retail distribution, e-commerce fulfillment and manufacturing. Red Rock WMS can integrate with QuickBooks, manage multiple warehouses,... Read More
 

Buyer's Guide

by Daniel Harris,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: April 26, 2017


The wholesale food distribution industry presents a variety of unique challenges, particularly regarding transportation, supply chain traceability and storage requirements. Frozen food distributors face concerns that are entirely different from those encountered by fresh produce or seafood distributors, and full-line food service distributors may face virtually all of those concerns.

For this reason, highly specialized solutions have evolved in this market niche. Software that works for a distributor of snack foods may not work for a distributor of fresh foods. We’ll look at the different types of solutions on the market to help you make an informed decision.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Food Distribution Software?
Common Features of Food Distribution Software
Evaluating Food Distribution Software

What Is Food Distribution Software?

Food distributors don’t just use one type of application in the back office—they use many. As such, the term “food distribution software” isn’t so much a name for a software category as it is for a diverse group of applications that assist with everything from ingredient costing (for food distributors that are also involved in manufacturing) to dynamic expiration date calculations based on data from sensors installed in refrigerated trucks.

Essentially, software applications for food distributors fall into the categories of supply chain management (SCM) software. Food distributors have the option of purchasing standalone applications for different supply chain needs, or investing in an ERP system, which includes various SCM applications along with other standard business applications like CRM and HR modules.

In particular, food distributors should consider investing in a distribution ERP system. ERP vendors have specialized their solutions around a variety of industry verticals, e.g., manufacturing and retail. Distribution ERP systems are pared-down solutions that eliminate modules distributors won’t need while adding flexibility in areas like order management and warehouse management.

Moreover, food distributors in industries dealing with fresh and highly perishable foods should examine ERP systems focusing on supply chain traceability, i.e., tracking inventory as it moves from one link in the supply chain to the next.

These systems ensure that your inventory can be tracked upstream, back to your own suppliers, and downstream to the retailers’ shelves where it ends up. The FDA mandates that you at least be able to track inventory one link up or down in the chain in the case of a recall, but end-to-end traceability can inspire consumer confidence and help with damage control in a devastating recall scenario.

We provide a more thorough explanation of the technological requirements for and benefits of supply chain traceability in our report on lot tracking with distribution ERP systems.

Common Features of Food Distribution Software

The supply chain applications with which food distributors should be particularly concerned are warehouse management, transportation management and order management.

Food distributors should look for these features when evaluating SCM applications or ERP suites:

Lot number tracking A food inventory management system includes lot tracking, which can integrate with barcode scanning or radio frequency identification (RFID) implementations to note when and where certain items were delivered, which will be particularly useful during a recall.
Expiration date tracking Solutions appropriate for food distributors should include the ability to track expiration dates and also to associate expiration dates with lot codes.
FEFO/FIFO “First-expired, first-out” (FEFO) and “First-in, first-out” (FIFO) are two inventory rotation methodologies commonly used in food distribution. FEFO means that products closest to expiration are rotated out of inventory first, and FIFO means that products received first are rotated out first. Both are useful in food service, with FEFO being more accurate on average. Make sure that your warehouse and/or inventory management system supports these methodologies for inventory rotation, since they’re also used for accounting. For instance, a WMS can use FEFO to direct order picking.
Refrigerated zones/bulk storage etc. for warehouse slotting Food warehouses are set up differently from normal warehouses, so you’ll need flexibility when it comes to slotting (i.e., defining where inventory will be stored in your warehouse). In particular, look for features like bulk storage and refrigerated zones.
Catch weight management Since weight and quantities vary tremendously, a food distribution program needs the ability to track the weights of meat and produce throughout the delivery and distributor cycle and tie those to the ordering and accounting systems.
Delivery management Delivery management modules offer intelligent routing procedures that result in faster delivery times. Distributors also need to incorporate special transportation requirements, including refrigeration and handling care.
Ingredient traceability Businesses involved in the manufacturing as well as the distribution of food will need capabilities to track the ingredients that make it into products as well as the finished products themselves. Such systems are still quite specialized, and are largely the province of niche vendors.

As part of a broader enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite, top food distribution software can also oversee the general ledger and accounts receivable, providing real-time reports of order entry, purchasing and pricing levels. As we’ve seen, an ERP system will also be necessary to ensure end-to-end traceability with regard to lot numbers, expiration dates etc.

The FDA is currently at work on defining traceability standards across the food industry, so now is the time to get a jump start on competitors by investing in an ERP system up to the challenge, such as Blue Link.

Evaluating Food Distribution Software

Like most industries, food distribution has been directly affected by globalization and economies of scale, not to mention environmental concerns. So although international exporting and importing in today's advanced systems is easier than it ever has been, a trend toward “locally sourced” operations has encouraged more organizations to shift into these arenas. Food distributor software provides businesses with the advanced functionality needed to manage the specific complications of international distribution networks—as well as more effectively reorganize through decentralization and the growth of regional food hubs.

Regional operations can particularly benefit from the ability of automated systems to help with increasingly complex tasks. Since these systems are expensive and the market is highly competitive, new products are seeking to capture business from smaller sources, offering specific functionality at more affordable prices.

Specific questions to ask when evaluating food distribution ERP software include:

  • Do you need an on-premise client/server deployment, or are you looking for a cloud deployment?
  • Will you need a system that offers reverse logistics for returns management?
  • Can the system manage the unique regulatory compliance for your particular market?
  • If your organization distributes to manufacturers, will the system provide the necessary kitting and assembly functionality?
  • Are you involved in manufacturing as well as distribution? If so, what level of ingredient traceability do you need from your solution?

Free Download:
Distribution ERP Software Feature Checklist

Free Download:
Ten Steps Guide to Selecting Distribution ERP Software

 

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