Managing inventory in real-time is just one of the key features of Unleashed software, which is a cloud-based platform that is well suited to manufacturers within the food and beverage industry.
Marrying the costs of raw materials and the final products can be time-consuming. Unleashed has made it easier.
“Unleashed is an inventory management system that not only tracks products coming in from purchase orders for food manufacturers and for sales, but it also captures the average costs so we can give real-time margins and profits to customers,” said Unleashed’s New Zealand country manager, Danielle Dadello. “With the manufacturing piece sitting in the middle, we know the purchase price and the average landed price of the product and therefore, each of the components or ingredients going into the finished product.”
Unleashed can calculate how much a finished product is going to cost. It can also include things like labour costs and any additional costs in the manufacturing of products. If an item is manufactured externally by another company the software will add in the costs in real time.
Unleashed also has the ability to be integrated into the accounting software package Xero, which Dadello said is popular with its customer base. Any financial movements from purchase orders to sales orders, credits and other financial transactions can be passed from one platform to the other.
“Another highlight of Unleashed that is quite popular at the moment is B2B done in-house, where a customer can use the software to set up a B2B portal,” said Dadello. “It is possible to set up the portal to be invite-only, or it can have guest customers, so users don’t have to be logged in. But you do have to send the link of the website to the customer – it is not something you can just Google. The customer can go in and see a catalogue that is suited to them. It has a list of all the products they have purchased, with the purchase price, so they can set up pricing in the background.
“Wastage is a bugbear of many food and beverage processing factories. It is inevitable that with various batches, there will be waste of the raw ingredients or as a by-product of the final merchandise. Unleashed has a way of streamlining this process, and allows users to set up parameters such as expiry dates so the manufacturer can make sure a product is used before its use-by date arrives.
“For food and beverage manufacturing, it is really critical to have serial and batch tracking so you can see the batches coming in from the supplier and their expiry dates,” said Dadello.
“During the manufacturing process, users can track the sales orders going out the door. This means that at any given time, if there happens to be a product recall, you can manage that. You can also manage all of the stock you currently have on hand such as what is going to expire soon so you can quickly get it out the door, or use it, or manage it in a way that you’re not wasting it.”
It takes the guess work out of whether a raw material or batch is no longer fit to be put on a supermarket shelf. Unleashed will also give users prompts if a batch is about to expire.
“On the dashboard, by default, it says there is going to be a number of batches expiring in the next couple of weeks or days. It is on the dashboard, so it’s the first thing you see when you log in,” said Dadello. “They will turn red if it is going to be soon. Anything that has
already expired will also be in red.”
Unleashed also has a stock-taking feature, which is critical to keep up to date especially if a manufacturer is using multiple warehouses.
“I see a trend in food and beverage manufacturing whereby if you are not warehousing product yourself it is quite common to have a third party doing it,” said Dadello.
Users often don’t touch the stock, or maybe they only capture the finished product. Unleashed often sees businesses get into trouble when they purchase stock, which they send to a third party, but they have no idea what the stock levels actually are. They assume there is a certain amount and they get into trouble because when they find that amount is wrong it can often cause friction between the business and the third party. Unleashed fixes this by having real-time information on stock levels.
“You would still keep the manufacturing relationship you have with the third-party manufacturer. But just being able to track what you have given them, in terms of raw ingredients, and what they’ve said in terms of the sales side. If you’ve made 10 kegs of beer, being able to say, ‘I can sell 10 kegs of beer, because that is what my third party has just manufactured for me’, then you can make arrangements to sell it. However, if you only have five, then you have a problem. So, it is being able to have that traceability with that third party that can be a problem.”
Dadello said the payment model is subscription based, depending on individual needs. She said that back-up service is one of the main planks of the business and Unleashed has several different aspects to that part of its organisation.
The company has free email support for all users of Unleashed. People don’t have to be a user; they can be a prospect or a partner. The company is not going to turn anybody away. With every new medium subscription or above, it has a free four-hour onboarding resource.
It helps guide users through the tasks they need to do to help them get up and running. That is the nature of incorporating a new system – users need to know how their current business fits into the new system. And And it’s not something that can easily be documented. Every business is slightly different.