Frequently Asked Questions

ReciPal's inventory management product helps food manufacturers plan for and stay on top of production. You can create production plans to create purchase orders for your raw materials, set up production runs to track and report what happens every time your production team makes your product so you see what happened, who made it happen, what went wrong, what went right, and be able to track lot codes for mock recalls and the real thing. It scales with your company unlike those clumsy Excel spreadsheets, from running your own production process to working with a co-packer. For longer form guides, questions, answers, and features, check out our blog.

Getting Started

How do I get started?

After signing up for Inventory Management, the first thing you will want to do is set up your recipes (or update them if you've already been using ReciPal). Ingredients in the recipes become your Raw Materials and the recipes become Finished Goods. Add Preparation Instructions on each recipe's Edit page, (these will print on the Batch Logs to help make production run smoother), and enter the case and pallet counts, which will come in handy when scheduling and planning production runs. Then, set your starting inventory levels by clicking on Raw Materials and Finished Goods from the Inventory Dashboard.

Can I watch some demo videos?

Of course! Here's the link to watch them.

How it Works

Can ReciPal tell me how much of each ingredient I need?

By creating a Production Plan, you can put in an estimate of how of each much finished good you’d like to make, and ReciPal will calculate your ingredient needs, compare that to what’s on hand, AND provide a report of what is needed to meet demand. From the Production Plan tab, add the finished products you’d like to include in your plan and the desired amounts. ReciPal will add up your ingredient needs across those recipes and determine the proper ingredient purchasing plan.

When you create a production run and specify how much of a particular recipe you need to make, you'll also get a list of how much of each ingredient in that recipe you'll need to fulfill production.

How does ReciPal keep track of what I have on hand?

ReciPal’s Inventory Management solution provides a perpetual inventory and tracks lot codes as inventory is received and used. Logging receipts of materials as they arrive adds to inventory. Closing Production Runs removes raw materials inventory and adds to Finished Goods. Subtracting Finished Goods upon shipment removes them from inventory. Every transaction is recorded. That way you always know what you have.

How do I convert my recipe into something used for tracking inventory?

ReciPal does this for you. Each recipe in ReciPal becomes a finished good. The recipes themselves are loaded into a Production Run, which enables you to track individual ingredients (and lot codes) in a batch of a finished product. One great feature of ReciPal is that if you create a Production Run for which you may be short ingredients, ReciPal highlights these in RED. Nobody likes cutting production short from running out of 1 thing.

How does ReciPal help with Lot Tracking?

Lot tracking from Receipt to Shipment is required for anyone subject to a mock recall, which is almost every food producer these days. By recording ingredient lot codes upon receipt, and with each use during production, a ReciPal user can see all the transactions of that lot code and account for 100% of receipts. By tagging each finished batch with a lot code, you can search the Finished Goods lot codes, find the production run from which it came and report as to which ingredients went into that batch, who made the batch, and all kinds of details to help with an inquiry.

To simplify things, we track lot codes using a FIFO system. This lets you automatically fill in raw matierals lot codes for production runs. On the finished good side, you can define a formula for your lot codes so those are automatically filled in as well, based on the date of the production run.

Troubleshooting and Advanced Questions

Can I just create a list of inventory items?

Inventory is based on your recipes. The ingredients in your recipes turn into raw materials and the recipes themselves turn into finished goods. If you want to bootstrap your inventory of raw materials you can make a "dummy" recipe with all your ingredients and worry about filling in the actual recipes they're in later. This way you can have your list of inventory and set inventory right away.

How do I streamline what shows up in my inventory?

Your inventory is based on what you see on your Recipe Dashboard. To remove a Finished Good you can archive a recipe by clicking the orange "X" on the Recipe Dashboard. The same concept applies to Raw Materials - any ingredients that are in non-archived recipes will be part of your Raw Materials inventory.

You can still access archived recipe and edit them, they just don't show up on your Recipe Dashboard or inventory.

What if I have two different lot codes? I only see one field.

If you need to receive or ship two different lot codes, then we recommend making two separate transactions, one per lot code so it can be accurately tracked. If you are using two different lot codes in production, you may add a second (or third) lot code by clicking on the ‘+’ sign to the right of the lot code entry field. You then should add to the notes field how much of each lot of that ingredient was used (or if you've been tracking lot codes we'll automatically figure that out for you :)).

ReciPal and my actual inventory don’t match. What should I do?

We recommend conducting a physical inventory at least once or twice per month. Then you can reset your ReciPal inventory to match your actual inventory. But before doing that you can review the item history (by clicking on the time since updated link) and see where the two might have gone awry.

What about tracking other things like packaging?

ReciPal handles packaging gracefully. Packaging can be added as a non-food ingredient to the recipe - this will allow it to be tracked in inventory, without affecting the nutritional label (or requiring an ingredient lot code). Adding primary packaging, like bags, labels, or wrappers, enables you to keep track of these key items. Adding secondary packaging, like cartons or boxes, and rounding up is also recommended.

How could my inventory on hand be negative?

In real life your inventory doesn't actually go negative. However, we do know that sometimes users record transactions out of order, or miss a transaction. So to properly account for inventory updates, ReciPal allows transactions and permits inventories to show negative values. This is a sign of a missing receiving transaction, misreported production or shipping transactions, or perhaps a double entry. If you see a negative value, look at the history of the item (by clicking on the value under Last Updated) and see which transactions might be missing or in error.

How does ReciPal help with cost accounting?

ReciPal enables you to calculate your standard cost using the costs of each ingredient and amounts in each recipe. Costs for labor or overhead (kitchen time) can be added to material costs either in the recipe as items or in summary to come up with a total product standard cost. Additionally, with Inventory Management enabled, ReciPal can calculate the costs of each run individually and keep track of which days were better than others, and reasons as to why that might be. Entering the actual amounts used for each production run and the number of finished goods and other costs, calculates these costs on a per unit basis for that specific run. If standard costs for labor and overhead are sufficient, enter them under the costing page for the recipe. If actual costs for labor are desired, add Labor steps to the actual recipe by creating "Labor" or "Other" non-food ingredients. Then amounts for each can be entered for each runs and actual costs will include materials and labor and overhead.

Does ReciPal integrate with Quickbooks?

Not yet. Integrating ReciPal’s receiving and shipping transactions with Quickbooks is something we're thinking about and plan to add in the future.

How would I use ReciPal with a co-packer?

ReciPal is designed to be shared across multiple users with security features to make sure that different people see only what they need. You can add additional users to your account through your Account Settings, and adding accounts for your co-packer’s staff that allow them to process inventory and record production. You can also restrict these other users from editing recipes and creating roles for the activites they need.