ERP for Food Distributors: Key Functionality

As a food distributor selecting ERP for food industries – whether that’s broadline serving foodservice and local retailers, or you’re importing product for national retailers, or as a food brokerage managing inventory – your business processes require a breadth of functionality within your ERP system unlike other food companies. For that reason, you should consider tailored ERP for food distributors, versus food processing, or process manufacturing ERP software in general.

ERP Vendor Checklist

Because your business operates on razor-thin margins, and you face extra pressures such as rebate programs, freight costs and inventory turns, you need the right ERP system to keep your business – literally – moving. Here are some key functionalities which, as a food distributor, you should consider for your ERP vendor checklist:

ERP for food distributors requires accurate inventory management and visibility to quickly and easily correct inventory levels, so you can maximize cash flow and profitability. Web-based order taking for real-time, device-agnostic order taking by customer service reps at your customers’ sites.

Smart buying through a purchasing planning engine within the software.

Forecast accuracy using your sales and buying history.

Vendor performance management including quality issues, shorts, or lates.

Integrated warehouse management, including support for RF handheld devices and barcode scanning anywhere in the warehouse or shipping dock, etc.

Complete pricing management – contract pricing, quantity penalties, start and end dates, and more.

Logistics management through routes planning; manage third-party logistics providers or your own truck fleets.

Cost visibility – show actual costs and overhead costs plus markup, tie landed costs plus buying costs back to individual products.

Food safety compliance with bi-directional lot traceability across the supply chain, and superior product recall functionality. This is crucial functionality in ERP for food distributors, especially in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.

Considering this kind of highly specific functionality – recognizable to anyone in the food distribution business – can be key to whether or not your new ERP system will deliver a strong ERP ROI and help you squeeze the most out of your thin margins.

Heather Angus-Lee has a background as a trade journalist, including a long-time stint as editor of a national manufacturing magazine. She now works as a writer with JustFoodERP which provides ERP software to food processors and distributors across North America. She can be reached at

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Heather Angus-Lee

About the author…

Heather Angus-Lee is a writer with JustFoodERP, an IndustryBuilt Software company, which provides ERP software and services to food processors and distributors across North America. She can be reached at

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Heather Angus-Lee

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