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A Centric source of traceability

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Centric Software’s Graham Jones and Adam Lowe speaks to Food & Beverage Industry News about how Centric PLM maximises traceability for the industry.

According to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), traceability is important as it enables corrective actions, like product recalls, to be implemented quickly and effectively when something goes wrong. Centric Software is facilitating better traceability for Australian food and beverage businesses through its Centric PLM system.

FSANZ also notes that “an effective traceability system can help isolate and prevent contaminated products from reaching consumers.” Centric PLM does this by providing one centralised digital location that tracks and manages all product-related data across its lifecycle. This ensures that as the product is developed and evolves over time, there is one single source that is continually updated and holds all the relevant information for the manufacturer – including ingredients lists, certifications, expiry dates and so on.

“Centric has a standard out-of-the-box system that doesn’t require any code, you just need to configure it to get the system that you want,” Centric Software sales director for ANZ Graham Jones said.

“The efficiencies that you gain by having the single source of truth spread everywhere, across packaging and ingredients and so on, are vast. Let’s say you need to change an ingredient in a product – if you don’t have this system, you’ve got to dig through all your various recipes and find out where else this ingredient is used.”

Adam Lowe, Food & Beverage pre-sales consultant for Centric Software, said the Centric PLM software can connect all associated records to the product, from initial concept to placement in assortment and merchandise plans, ensuring traceability from end-to-end.

“At the core of food and beverage are the ingredients going into the recipe – but it’s not just ingredients that you throw together, it’s the process as well as what you do with them and how are they processed, from raw material to the finished product. Centric PLM provides an end-to-end coverage process for those products,” he said. 

Centric PLM allows food and beverage customers to:

  • Collaborate to enhance product innovation;
  • Improve product margins with costing control;
  • Speed up the time to market;
  • Optimise product portfolios;
  • Collaborate with suppliers;
  • Boost sustainability, quality and compliance; and
  • Provide a single source of truth to trace ingredients, raw materials and final product information.

The browser-based interface streamlines the entire process and makes it simple to use. Additionally, an agile approach to implementation training enables even better usability for customers.

“Centric takes an agile approach to its implementation training, so you’re getting value faster,” Lowe said. “The iterative agile approach means that you can prototype very quickly, enter a continuous improvement cycle based on that, and perhaps start with the core capabilities before moving on to more sophisticated parts of the system when the customer is ready.”

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As part of the configuration process, Centric Software’s PLM system caters to varying attributes for different clients, according to Jones.

“Every single customer has a slightly different process and they have different attributes they want to store against their products,” he said. “As business consultants, we work with the customer so they can add those attributes using the user interface.”

Centric PLM provides valid master data that holistically supports product recalls. While an ERP system is able to hold some relevant data relating to the product or ingredient, it doesn’t provide an outlook of other products where that ingredient is used. With Centric PLM, everything is available at a glance through a single source of information for product recipes – linking to the ingredient sent to suppliers and the end-products created using that ingredient.

By creating a complete, validated view of all the information, Centric PLM also substantiates certification claims such as halal, vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free. Jones provides an example.

“Prior to finding us, one of our customers got into trouble by claiming that one of their products was vegan,” he said. “Some sleuth out there figured out that it wasn’t vegan and the labelling was wrong, so they had to go through a corrective action on that. If they had had the PLM at the time, they wouldn’t have got into that situation with making claims that they can’t substantiate, because the system will not allow it.

“When you try to put vegan on the label it will say that it can’t, because there’s a non-vegan ingredient in the recipe. Certifications claims, traceability, and regulatory compliance are a lot easier to manage with the Centric PLM than using spreadsheets.”

Having already had a great customer response to the Centric PLM, Centric Software’s challenge now is to market the software as a benchmark for universal digital transformation within businesses that are typically siloed. Enabling this message would foster more collaborative environments by streamlining processes across R&D, product development, testing, marketing and sales.

“There is a certain level of education involved for breaking through those siloed areas and broadening the view of what people might think they need,” Lowe said.

Jones agrees. “And that’s where they’re going to get the real benefits, financially and efficiency-wise, by getting everybody using the same system and collaborating together.”

Centric Software also engages with customers to remain updated on current trends and requirements within the industry. With two to three point releases per year, customer feedback and industry research ensures that the Centric PLM is continuously updated in accordance with the food and beverage sector.

“Centric is profitable, backed strongly by Dassault Systèmes, and we’re growing rapidly.” Jones said. “It means that we can add functionality as the market determines. For example, sustainability is a big thing right now, so we’ve added heaps of functionality around that, proving claims and so forth. Our growth, success and profitability guarantees that Centric PLM is going to stay ahead of our competitors.”

Likewise, food and beverage customers will be able to continually optimise their own products and processes through the one system that can do it all.

“Centric PLM means faster time to market, risk mitigation against all those potentials for legal claims, and efficiency, as it minimises rework via a single system,” Lowe said.

Learn more about Centric PLM for food and beverage here.

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