Frequently Asked Questions
Helping You Grow a Safer Food Business
Over 30 Years of Providing Quality Solutions
ParityFactory has been providing specialized technology solutions for the food manufacturing industry for over 30 years. Parity’s founders worked in food processing early in their careers and saw first-hand, including experiencing a serious recall, how automation and real-time data from the plant could revolutionize the industry. ParityFactory is our latest generation of factory solutions.
Integrating with Your ERP System
Shop floor extensions of an ERP are just that—ERP complexity jammed onto small devices for people whose primary jobs are running a plant, handling materials and driving fork trucks. The tightly bound command and control interaction typical of ERP systems can be more of a burden than a help in a factory environment.
ParityFactory defers basic accounting to systems designed for that purpose and instead focuses on improving plant efficiency. ParityFactory supports the most critical and riskiest parts of plant operations—such as processing, inventory control, labeling, tracing, etc., and then funnels accurate information back to the accounting system.
Top Reasons to Select ParityFactory
- Achievement of reliable real-time inventory, instant tracing and efficiency (labor savings) goals.
- Trust in Parity’s food expert consulting team who act almost as an extension of internal staff.
- Food specific functionality… a custom fit without customization.
- Accounting package integrations that maximize automation.
- Reasonable, low risk, fixed cost pricing.
- Fast implementation for fast returns on investment.
Designed For Food Manufacturers
WMS are designed to manage warehouses, not food factories. Box in, box out. ParityFactory is designed specifically for food manufacturing facilities where there is some element of production. One to many. Many to one. Many to many. These complex processing scenarios are second nature to us.
Parity’s footprint includes everything from receiving and labeling raw materials, to storage, issuing to production, production, warehousing, picking and shipping. The system is an inventory and tracing solution at its core and includes light WMS features that are valuable to food processors. This model gives food companies everything they need (and nothing they don’t) from traditional WMS.
Getting Started with ParityFactory
ParityFactory is easy to use in the factory
ParityFactory was not just designed to help food processors with their inventory, tracing, and efficiency goals. It was also designed to simplify life for those working on the plant floor. Aside from all the corporate level benefits, the average worker’s job is fundamentally EASIER as a result of using ParityFactory.
ParityFactory is deep in functionality, but simple to use. This relentless focus on simplicity is manifest throughout the system including:
- Dynamic screens to show a user only the information they need for that specific job.
- Modifiable terminology so the system terms match your team’s existing vocabulary.
- Instant red, yellow, and green notifications to stop errors before they start.
- And more!
Intuitive screens, familiar tools, and built in functionality for the complicated parts of food processing make ParityFactory an ideal fit for managers and office staff. Directions and configurations coming from ParityFactory’s office interface work seamlessly, and in real-time, with screens on the factory floor.
Teamwork and operational decision making are made easy with features such as:
- Three major reporting options – live Excel feeds for refreshable PivotTables, stock reusable reports, and dynamic on-screen data views.
- Robust configuration options change with a click and eliminate the need for customizations as the operation changes over time.
- Browser based interface allows anyone with the right security to access the system from anywhere.
- Modern API keeps options open for integrations to accounting packages and shop floor equipment.
- And more!
ParityFactory can be up and running for live operations in about 90 days. Some phased projects may take shorter or longer than 90 days depending on a variety of factors. Implementation timelines are always coordinated in advance of a project launch.
Of course! While many clients go-live with Parity’s complete solution at once (it’s designed to be simple), each operation’s needs are unique. Phasing can support accelerated timelines that allow for immediate improvements in critical areas of an operation.
In collaboration with you, Parity consultants may recommend a phased approach for a variety of reasons. Examples of project phasing have included approaches such as:
- Let’s do finished goods through shipping since it’s our biggest pain right now, then use the time we’re saving to go-live with receiving and production.
- Let’s expedite getting our inventory under control because our audits are taking too long and add quality test tracking later.
- Let’s get ParityFactory in place for our struggling operations team and then increase automation with an integration to our accounting package.
One important decision for every new client is to designate an internal project manager to coordinate with Parity’s lead consultant throughout implementation.
Most projects require the following involvement from your team:
- A one-time, all-hands, launch meeting to introduce teams, project goals, implementation plan and next steps.
- Periodic milestone meetings to check in on timelines and progress with key project staff.
- Server access and set up.
- Wireless access point and printer set up. (If needed.)
- Completion of Parity’s initial Masterfile templates. This is all done in Excel to minimize system set up work.
- Participation in initial training and testing
- Participation in on-site training and go-live!
Special features such as instant red, yellow, and green notifications help users stay on track and correct mistakes regardless of language barriers, technical knowhow, or position tenure. ParityFactory doesn’t just give factory staff another thing to do—they’re busy enough! The system makes their life easier. Parity has a strong reputation for smooth transition to the plant floor, even among those who started out as the toughest critics.
We tell our clients to account for 15 minutes per user and process. After a few cycles, it’s second nature.
How ParityFactory handles production scheduling
Parity has deep flexibility for how to handle production scheduling and can be configured to align with your existing processes.
In general, we think of production scheduling in terms of production runs. Based on demand reporting (MRP views of outstanding orders against current inventory) the user can determine how much to create the production run for. At this point, there is a wide range of options people use including creating production runs by product, by shift or by day.
On the other end of the spectrum, some clients generate demand reports to create the production schedule and then use the same production runs by configuring them as production lines. Many companies will start on this track and then begin scheduling separate runs down the road.
Our consultants are well versed in a variety of production scheduling strategies and as part of the implementation strategy can help configure the system to best meet your operation’s needs.
One of the most valuable tools available with ParityFactory are live Excel feeds. This allows users to build, save and share refreshable Excel reports using PivotTables and PowerPivot – live data streaming in at any time, from anywhere. No more waiting and paying for custom reports or constantly exporting data to Excel only to waste more time reformatting. Build it once and use it forever!
Yes. Supporting food safety initiatives is core to ParityFactory’s system goals. In addition to achieving compliance with government standards, many ParityFactory clients sell to McDonalds, Walmart, Costco, Trader Joes, and others who maintain some of the most stringent food safety requirements in the world. Some clients use their ParityFactory Tracing Suite reports as marketing collateral to demonstrate the capabilities and sophistication of their food safety program to prospective buyers.
Yes. ParityQuality is a companion module to ParityFactory and is built for food processors who want to record, track and report on quality data in the plant. Fundamentally this will be accomplished by leveraging the existing ParityFactory Office and Mobile applications to create, record, and report on quality test results.
Parity lot rules can be setup to include up to seven different segments of your choosing. Options for these segments include: Facility, Production Line, Item Code, Julian Date, Calendar Date, Area of Origin, Country of Origin, Shift, Lot Code, Production Run, etc. Lot rules are configured within the ParityFactory Office interface and automatically generated based on system values—removing any potential data entry error by users. Lots are an integral, and central, component of the ParityFactory system.
Yes. Parity’s hold functionality supports users in safeguarding important processing or testing steps as well as reducing risk when issues are identified. Holds can be established automatically by production of a SKU, manually through the office interface, or by flagging something as part of a quality analysis. Holds can be released manually by lot/pallet/product by anyone with the appropriate credentials or automatically based on duration (a hold can be setup to come off exactly x hours after being applied). Holds and releases are available in real-time and will provide factory workers with instant yellow or red notifications once in effect.
Yes! All shipping documentation (Bill of Lading, Shipping Manifests and Certificates of Analysis) can be printed directly from the system. ParityFactory comes equipped with stock reports, however, implementation includes the configuration of these forms to meet your specific needs. Safeguards are built in to the logic of these reports to prevent errors. For example, Bills of Lading generate based on live data from the scanners which record what’s actually been loaded.
Yes. ParityFactory has the ability to print GS1 and PTI compliant case labels. Leveraging the label design software Bartender, ParityFactory users have the ability to build case label templates that are then controlled and printed from the ParityFactory mobile interface. By using a data driven template to control product name, lot and date information, ParityFactory can significantly reduce the number of decisions (and potential errors) made by the production team.
Absolutely. With deep roots in the protein manufacturing industry ParityFactory has robust functionality for managing catchweight. Whether you’re tracking with manual processes, entering data in to Excel or struggling with an accounting system that doesn’t talk that language, ParityFactory can help. Managing catchweights can be a common failure point in generic accounting systems.
Some clients didn’t use catchweight prior to ParityFactory because tracking it was too difficult. Not only did ParityFactory save them labor costs but it also allowed them to charge full value for product and better serve their customers in the process.
Yes. Part of ParityFactory’s integrated platform is the ability to connect with shop floor equipment such as scales, PLC, inline printers, etc. This capability is critical in driving efficiency and reducing errors as an operation changes and is refined over time. Integrating with scales may be a critical component of the solution for you now or it may be implemented in a future phase as you grow in the system.
Yes. ParityFactory is very robust in accommodating any combination or form of product. Bins, totes, tanks, super sacks, silos, vans, rail cars, unit count along with weight, inner pack count, and more. In addition, the system was built to support catchweights and managing yields with diverse built-in unit of measure conversions.
Accounting Package & ERP Interactions
Extending the life of your existing account page (or ERP)
Before you start evaluating new systems, consider this… ParityFactory relieves pressure where existing accounting platforms may be strained. Some clients have elected to discontinue their accounting package search after seeing ParityFactory comfortably extended the life of their existing systems. What you might have thought obsolete or underpowered could be good for years to come with the support of our best-of-breed materials control solution. And in the future, if you decide to change, ParityFactory’s various integration options make for a smooth, easy transition with zero impact on factory operations.
No. ParityFactory is not an accounting system or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). While Parity has a history building and delivering food industry specific ERP, ParityFactory is now focused solely on plant floor operations. Integrations with various accounting packages allow companies to control costs, maintain flexibility as they scale, as well as benefit from best-of-breed solutions in both the office and the factory.
Whenever your accounting or ERP system needs to know about an inventory event, such as receiving, materials used in production, finished production of new inventory and shipping product, ParityFactory delivers that data accurately in real time without human interference. This means your office team can use their system in real time. No more side spreadsheets, urgent phone calls, and warehouse searches.
ParityFactory currently integrates with QuickBooks, Sage Intacct, Sage 100, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, FlexiBake, and WiseFish. New integrations are in the works and added on a regular basis.
It’s not a problem – let’s talk. Firstly, ParityFactory’s suite of integrations is growing on a regular basis. If your system is not on the active roadmap, we routinely move new integrations up in our roadmap with growing interest. Parity’s modern API and agile development strategy supports the quick expansion of new integrations when needed.
Secondly, ParityFactory can be operated as a standalone system and is successfully in active use utilizing this set up. Our consultants can collaborate with you on what it would take to achieve your inventory control and efficiency goals without an integration in place.
Yes and no. There is no one right answer since no food operation is exactly the same. However, ParityFactory consultants have spent thousands of hours in food plants and are happy to provide recommendations based on successes they’ve seen in similar operations. ParityFactory integration options are a good start if you’re considering an accounting platform change.
Scalability & ROI
Every operation is different, but ParityFactory clients routinely report a return-on-investment within one to two years of project launch. These statistics include all associated hardware and generally do NOT include the softer benefits of the system such as:
- Real-time reporting for faster, more informed decision making cross company.
- Reduced risk due to smaller tracing footprints, faster audits, automated hold capabilities, and error prevention.
- Elimination of manual recordkeeping errors from receiving through shipping.
- New business due to more sophisticated tracing capabilities or certifications.
- Staff time savings that are now being allocated to improving other areas of the operation.
- And more!
Clients consider these soft benefits as both strategic and significant, although they are more difficult to quantify at times.
ParityFactory has been described by our clients as their “materials control platform.” ParityFactory is built for scale and the same out-of-the-box solution is utilized by companies from two million to over a billion in annual sales. Our goal was to create a solution that could adapt to any environment without the need for customizations. By supporting different configurations, our clients have extreme flexibility as their businesses change over time. Our expectation is that our clients will grow, expand facilities, add shifts, add plants, add lines, etc. With a Microsoft SQL server backend, the system is robust and equipped to handle the extreme transaction speeds and volumes common to food processing operations.
Yes. We can address a variety of configurations ranging from multiple independent facilities to campus operations where multiple facilities are operating as a single unit. They don’t need to be on the same property to function as a campus. The system also supports local installations at all separate facilities that can be consolidated into a single home office database.
ParityFactory solutions are always fixed cost once formally bid. Each fixed cost solution includes software licenses with unlimited users as well as all-inclusive training and implementation services (including multiple on-site visits). Additional costs may include travel expenses and factory hardware. Please contact sales for a quote specific to your operation.
All ParityFactory projects are guaranteed fixed cost to give clients peace of mind. With zero risk of ballooning time and materials budgets, ParityFactory’s implementation team spends as much time as needed to ensure a smooth, efficient transition experience. Success with ParityFactory is predictable and as a result we are comfortable offering fixed cost solutions.
Always. Technology may do everything we need it to do, but in the end, people are what make a project successful. Parity has a unique white glove approach to implementation which includes two onsite trips in the project’s fixed cost. One trip is focused on initial configuration and training while a second trip is focused on ensuring a smooth and comfortable go-live.
Travel expenses are billed separately as incurred.
Nothing! ParityFactory is licensed on a site basis, with unlimited users. Don’t worry about growth or seasonal staffing changes and the costs associated with that administrative hassle. With Parity, unlimited users means maximum use of the system for maximum benefit. Anyone with the proper security rights and an internet browser may interact with the system, making it easy to keep your factory moving and your leadership informed as you grow.
Unlike what you might be used to, ParityFactory licenses are issued by site, rather than by user. We do this because ParityFactory solutions are valuable to a wide range of positions in a food operation – everyone from forklift drivers to CEOs. Unlimited users allow clients to tailor the system freely to their needs and benefit from company-wide views of real-time factory information. In addition, most ParityFactory clients are growing and unlimited users support that growth.
ParityCare ensures your long-term success after a smooth go-live. This ongoing support and maintenance program includes three primary categories of benefits: unlimited help desk, regular software updates, and a quarterly allowance of materials control consulting time. ParityCare is generally structured as a recurring percentage of the initial project price.
Mobile computers with scanners, barcode label printers, and in some cases, fixed position “kiosks” with a computer and wireless scanner. Any desktop or tablet on your network can also be used.
Any modern phone, tablet or computer with a browser can most likely be used for ParityFactory without any problem. ParityFactory is agnostic and works with most modern scanners and label printers. To be sure feel free to contact our sales team for more information on compatibility.
Yes. Parity supplies mobile scanners, industrial printers, servers, labeling software and associated hardware accessories. Parity does not supply processing line equipment, scales, wireless routers, or wireless access points. Note: Clients may purchase directly from Parity or from other trusted vendors at their own discretion—Parity maintains neutrality when it comes to sourcing of third party hardware and software.
Yes. We know finding the perfect barcode label can be challenging and time consuming. Don’t settle for wet, slimy, or unsticky labels! As a courtesy, our consultants would be happy to help you find the product best suited for your specific production environment and labeling needs–from cost effective paper labels to thermal transfer film labels that stand up to high heat, extreme cold, and humid conditions.
In general, if a scanner breaks down and there is no replacement available and/or workstation that can perform the function, we will temporarily implement a paper system that is keyed into ParityFactory as soon as possible. If you purchase the scanners from us, along with the manufacturer’s warranty, most guarantee a three day turn around on repairs. Some of our clients elect to bypass the warranties and instead purchase an extra stand-by device in case of emergency.
Food manufacturers need their equipment and systems to run with unwavering reliability. Unfortunately, internet isn’t always so reliable. Local installations of ParityFactory ensure the factory can continue to run independent of internet availability. In addition, on-premise software supports important shop floor integrations with printers, label machines, scales, etc. – either now or in the future.
This information changes periodically based on our most recent updates to the system. Please contact sales for the latest requirements.
Yes. ParityFactory supports electronic data interchange and has robust features for accommodating facilities that rely on outside warehousing.