Is your food ERP solution delivering a strong return on investment?
Is your food ERP solution delivering a strong return on investment? For any food business, the investment they make in technology like enterprise resource planning (ERP) is to streamline operations and boost profit margins. The right software solution can bring a multitude of benefits: increasing efficiency, enabling automation, improving data insights and decision-making and optimizing traceability to name just a few. But these are not end goals in themselves – they serve the larger purpose of driving greater revenues. This should beg the question – is your food ERP system delivering the return on investment it should be? While every business with an ERP solution recognizes its financial potential, far fewer are able to quantify what, if any, ROI they are getting. For a company with an older system especially, there is a danger that it stops providing real value, stops being supported by the software supplier or even becomes an active hindrance to profit-making. If you’ve ever stopped to wonder what the true value of your business’ software solution is, read on to find out how you can get a better idea. Calculating your solution’s ROI Determining your current ERP’s value can be challenging – especially if you have relied on it for many years. The best – and hopefully easiest – place to start is by calculating any and all costs associated with the solution over its lifetime. These are highly likely to include: Licensing costs – Do you pay a regular Software as a Service (SaaS) fee? Implementation costs – From consultancy to installation, this is likely to have been a considerable outlay. Hardware & maintenance costs – These will have been significantly higher if you opted for an on-premise solution over a cloud option. Training costs – Bringing staff up to speed with the new way of working. Upgrade costs – If your vendor has improved your solution as the technology advanced, this may or may not have come at a cost. These costs then need to be weighed against the value the system has brought over the years; this is where things get a bit more complicated. If your business hasn’t actively been working out the savings and improvement the ERP has brought, you’re going to have to analyze your historical operations records in some detail. There are some key areas you’ll want to consider – comparing between performance levels before and after the implementation. These include, but are not limited to: Time & labor savings Reduction in waste Efficiency in the warehouse Production efficiency Supply chain management Operational costs Improvements from integrating data across the organization Making these judgements is not an exact science. Some of these criteria are a lot more abstract than others – so the more data you review and the longer you spend reviewing it, the more accurately you’ll be able to define the true value the ERP has brought to the company. As a rule of thumb, you’ll be able to calculate a percentage return on investment by using the following calculation: ROI = [(Value of Investment – Cost of Investment) / Cost of investment] x 100% Of course, solutions with the best reporting, data interpreting and Business Intelligence features will make your ROI calculations easier and more accurate. It’s time to upgrade to an ERP that gives more for your money Once you’ve researched the value your system is bringing to the business, you might be left feeling underwhelmed. If using an older ERP, a particularly common thing to discover is that ROI was high initially but has petered out over the years. The food industry changes quickly, and so do the demands put upon businesses and staff. The best technology helps you meet these challenges. If this is sounding alarms, it may be worth considering whether your current system is the best option for you now and in the future. There may be even more reason to look elsewhere if: Your ERP is on-premise – These solutions are far more prone to becoming outdated quickly and are not as future-proof as cloud and hybrid options. Your ERP is one-size-fits-all – The benefits of such a system may have given your business a boost initially, but food and beverage-specific ERP has never been more important to facing the industry’s modern challenges. Your vendor is small – Small, regionally-focused vendors used to be ideal for food businesses. But now, those that can offer the best-funded, most-advanced platforms like Microsoft Dynamics lead the way. If you’re interested in learning more about food ERP that delivers a strong return for your investment, you can read about our solution – Aptean Food & Beverage ERP – or get in touch with the team for more information.
Why Business Intelligence is important for your food company
Why Business Intelligence is important for your food company The purchase and sale of food is one of the most complex issues in today’s economy because there are so many different factors involved. If you want to truly understand how your business is performing and why, you’ll need to continuously monitor it using a good management information system. A Business Intelligence (BI) solution can help your food company understand its business processes, and make them run more efficiently and effectively. Management information is important for all levels of an organization, to make sure that decisions can be made quickly and correctly. But what exactly is Business Intelligence, and what can it mean for a food company? Business Intelligence puts focus on information Business Intelligence’s primary goal is to translate existing data into information that can be interpreted. This information forms the basis on which you make operational, tactical and strategic decisions within your company, and therefore also the business operations. The translation of such data takes shape in reports and analyses. What makes Business Intelligence so unique is that data is used from different locations, both inside and outside the company. Essentially, Business Intelligence analyzes business processes, and helps you optimize them. The result is that you can make better decisions about, among other things, the sourcing of ingredients, the control of production, the way stocks are managed and the distribution of goods and services. Business Intelligence also helps your company to make strategically based decisions. This makes it easier to determine which market is most interesting, how to produce more efficiently, how logistics can be optimized and which customer groups can deliver the best margins. These are all questions that make an extremely important contribution to the success of a company. Data warehousing with Business Intelligence As mentioned, a Business Intelligence solution reports on and analyzes information that is available within or outside your company. This information comes from your ERP system and, if applicable, from other software such as a CRM, financial program, logistics or financial software, integrated business software, or planning software. A Business Intelligence solution extracts all relevant data from these systems, storing it in one central location in order to better connect it to each other. This is called a ‘data warehouse’. BI implementation at every possible level Business Intelligence is often seen as something only for large companies and management, but that’s not the case at all. Business Intelligence is also crucial in lower management positions and operational areas in order to help decision-making. For example, components such as customer contact, financial evaluations, logistical issues and production of goods all benefit from the use of Business Intelligence, as such systems are becoming increasingly multifunctional. Power BI for visualization All insights into business information can be made visual with Power BI. Having a simple and clear overview of the data is vital to making real-time adjustments to operational processes that are critical to improving business performance. With Power BI, you can quickly create the right insights on dashboards that are easy to distribute to your entire organization. If you want to get more out of your business and all the processes involved, then using a Business Intelligence solution is an interesting next step. In any case, more insight and more accuracy in analyzing and reporting information results in more effective business operation
The importance of catch weight for your seafood company
The importance of catch weight for your seafood company Don’t get caught – Plenty of fish in the sea With around 200 million seafood companies worldwide, there are plenty of businesses involved in the sector. They take on a variety of roles including hunting, farming, processing, conservation, storage, transportation and the selling of seafood (by)products. The industry is made up of a variety of roles and companies will often combine multiple activities as part of their business. Fish processing is one of the more common activities with many seafood companies. This includes the filleting or slicing of the incoming or caught fish. As a company, you want to keep track of this often-manual process, and ensure it is done efficiently to guarantee the best returns from your goods. However, since the fish that will be processed will vary in weight per unit, your IT and inventory management system will need to be able to consider this. Maximize efficiency in the production process In this blog we outline some challenges that seafood companies need to overcome to ensure success, and how food-specific ERP software can help maximize efficiency in the production process. To correctly manage your inventory as a seafood processor, you need to account for and price different sizes of processed fish with variable weight functionality. This will ensure your items are priced correctly and that you get the best value from retail customers. Another common challenge within seafood processing is the requirement to process multiple (by)products out of one fish unit. For instance, one whole fish will be converted into a filet unit but by-products like the head and tail also need to be registered. This requires a system that can make a distinction between the multiple outcomes out of one fish unit. As a consequence, one kilo of seafood input will not convert into a fixed number of outputs. Depending on the individual sizes of the units, the number of outputs you can register will vary. This unique requirement will pose a substantial challenge to your business if your software system is not able to process it correctly and provide you with accurate and reliable data on how the business is performing. Food specific software solution While these are just a few of the unique challenges that your seafood company will face, one thing is clear. A one-size-fits-all business software solution is not the right way to grow your company to new heights. If you are interested to read more about all the specific challenges for the seafood industry please take a look here. With an industry-specific software system in place, you’ll be able to identify and tackle all the common challenges within your specific sub-industry. In addition, you will also be able to monitor all processes more effectively, using insightful data for areas to improve within your business. Industry margins are often small, and adjustments to improve efficiency can prove very important. If you’re interested to hear more about the possibilities of an Aptean Food & Beverage ERP software system bespoke for your seafood business, please get in touch with us below.
Top improvement initiatives for food manufacturers in 2021
Top improvement initiatives for food manufacturers in 2021 The last few months of any year are when predictions of the industry trends for the following year begin to emerge. But as the time comes to take stock of 2020, food manufacturers can reflect on one of the most unpredictable years in history. The Covid-19 pandemic has been the defining event of the year (and perhaps the era), and its impact will continue to be felt long into 2021. But there is so much more that the food industry can learn from this year in order to make gains next year. Coronavirus may still be top of the news agenda, but it doesn’t have a monopoly on the forces shaping consumer demand, changing the world of food and informing the next steps for food businesses. Here are the top improvement initiatives all food businesses should be looking at in 2021. Prepare better for unusual demand patterns If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us so far it’s the value of being agile as a food business. Those that were able to scale production up or down at the right time and to the correct degree had a big efficiency advantage. There will continue to be a need for this; as we all get back to normal, demand will fluctuate and follow patterns which may seem unpredictable to the naked eye. This is especially important when it comes to food wastage – a significant problem for the industry at the best of times but one it’s even more vulnerable to at the moment. Advanced forecasting methods and analytics tools will be more important than ever for demand planning, efficiency and minimising waste in 2021. Start taking sustainability seriously In their recent report into trends shaping the food industry, global nutrition leaders ADM found 65% of customers actively want to have a positive effect on the environment through everyday activities. Being able to offer products that fit this brief should be a priority for all food manufacturers. Businesses can respond in a number of ways, for instance: Agriculture:regenerative agriculture will help enrich soil in the long-term Packaging:using renewable materials, or sometimes no materials at all, can negate the need for plastic Supply chain:sourcing ingredients more locally will lower their carbon footprint (and increase quality) But there are so many other reasons why sustainable practices are needed right now. They will be crucial in the fight against climate change and world hunger and help give everyone in the global food industry an equitable stake. When it comes to making supply chains shorter and more local, the pandemic showed how this can benefit food manufacturers – and will do so again – the event of global shocks. Embrace flexibility In 2020, food businesses were forced to completely upend their production schedules to cater to different sectors – often for the first time and at very short notice. While this was necessary for many to maintain some sort of trade when things were at their bleakest, it showed us the potential of many businesses to exploit new revenue streams quickly. Manufacturers are unlikely to want to pivot almost entirely from foodservice to retail or direct-to-consumer (as many were forced to) again, but the ability to capture a new market share when the opportunity presents itself is something all could benefit from. Consider expanding your plant-based product ranges The most striking change taking place in food demand right now is one towards plant-based alternatives. Nestle have reported that 87% of people in the US now include plant-based proteins in their diet. Driven by a range of factors including concern for the environment, animal welfare and personal health, consumers will increasingly be looking to the prepared food industry especially for new plant-based lines. Advanced solutions like food-specific ERP are built to manage the introduction of new products and the costing, quality control and inventory management concerns that come with them. Workplace safety With much of the world – especially North America and Europe – back in lockdown, the danger of Covid-19 outbreaks on food manufacturing sites grows again. By and large, manufacturers were able to prepare factory floors in the Spring through rapid implementation of safety measures. Now is a good time to reinforce safety through physical distancing, improved sanitation and altered production schedules. Technology like Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) can aid in tracking and protecting employee health to ensure businesses maintain their duty of care and can remain open and producing. The Future In spite of the difficulties of 2020, food manufacturers are looking to 2021 with optimism. But for businesses to get beyond the recovery phase and start thriving, they must keep looking for new advantages – the five initiatives we’ve discussed here are just a few of the options available. Aptean’s Global Food & Beverage Industry Trends Report offers further insight into the state of digital transformation in the food sector and what we’re likely to see in the coming years. When looking to transform a food business for the better, food-specific ERP can help by making systems more integrated, giving better insight from a wealth of data and extending the core features of new technology to all users.
Meat industry safety regulations and how ERP can help
Meat industry safety regulations and how ERP can help Of all mass-produced foodstuffs, meat likely has the most stringent regulations attached to it. And there are good reasons for this; for one, meat can be more dangerous than other food. If dealt with incorrectly it is far more likely to carry diseases – some of them potentially deadly to humans. Disease in meat can stem from the way the animal was kept all the way through the supply chain to poor storage or cross contamination by retailers. There are a host of other important factors which necessitate strict rules. It’s very important the quality and provenance of meat can be proved to maintain high standards of nutrition, taste and trust. The infamous horsemeat scandal is one such incident where checks on quality and provenance broke down and public trust was seriously damaged. And then of course there is animal welfare – each jurisdiction has its own requirements for the conditions animals to be used as meat are kept in. This is why any business that keeps livestock or is involved in the slaughter of animals, preparation or sale of meat needs to be closely regulated. But the rules meat businesses of all sizes must follow are often manifold, complex and hard to keep on top of. In fact, they can easily become an impediment to an efficient production schedule and impact the bottom line. Complexity of regulations for meat businesses The rules and regulations in the meat industry can seem to be constantly shifting as industry consensus changes and regulators learn from new problems. A recent example of this is the spate of Covid-19 infections traced to meat packing plants. Specific requirements will differ by location and type of business among other factors. For instance, in the UK all the following types of establishment need special approval from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to be allowed to operate: Slaughterhouses On-farm slaughter facilities Game handling establishments Cutting plants Meat wholesale markets Minced meat establishments Meat preparations establishments Mechanically separated meat establishments Processing plants Cold stores Re-wrapping establishments The rules themselves are covered in granular detail and shrouded in complex language. The FSA’s ‘meat industry guide’ spans an entire 20 chapters of technical legislation. And beyond this, consider the complications involved in purchasing and selling meat across national borders – where businesses will be required to satisfy a whole new set of safety regulations. For small and medium sized meat enterprises especially, the scale of regulations can be a burden. But the alternative is worse. The nightmare scenario for any food business is having to recall products – and the nature of the meat industry means failure to meet industry standards is more likely to result in a recall. With the average cost of a recall estimated to be around $10m and the reputational damage potentially even more costly, businesses can tread a fine line. How can food ERP help with compliance? By now, you’ll probably be aware of the power of Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) for increasing efficiency and helping a business expand. But you may not have given as much thought to how an ERP solution could help your meat business comply with regulations. In particular, food-specific ERP is ideal as it has been built with the specific tools to accommodate the requirements of the industry. For instance: Lot traceability. ERP makes the traceability process more transparent for all parts of the supply chain. As the origins of meat products come under tighter scrutiny, the visibility ERP gives is invaluable. Quality control. Food ERP offers superior quality control at a consistency otherwise impossible. ERP that is meat industry-specific can be built to regulate product to pre-defined quality specifications. The interconnectedness of ERP allows this control to extend seamlessly over entire inventories. Shelf life management. Having control over every aspect of your inventory is the key to avoiding a major food safety disaster. Not only will ERP prevent meat that doesn’t comply with industry standards from being sold, instances of meat being stored incorrectly or past its expiry date will be far rarer due to the logistical intelligence of the technology. Crucially, this cuts lost revenue through wastage. Recall functionality. If the worst happens and substandard meat is despatched, ERP’s specific recall functionality is there to mitigate the damage through quick and smart communication. Protocols enforced across a business. ERP links the compliance process across all parts of a business, making it harder for individual mistakes to slip through the cracks. Through mobile technology, an ERP system’s centralised database can be extended to all workers, as can create checklists and reminders of correct standards, protocols, and testing regimes. ERP for the meat industry can prove invaluable in avoiding disastrous safety breaches, especially in the current climate of the pandemic. But beyond this, its value is to enable businesses to focus on growing and improving as their technology solution largely handles regulatory compliance.
Is your ERP solution future-proof?
Is your ERP solution future-proof? You may have been debating the importance of investing in an ERP package for your food business. But equally as important is how the solution you opt for will stand the test of time. ERP isn’t just a singular technology – it should be an adaptable, fluid basis from which all parts of a business’ operations work in harmony. Any future challenges, changes in circumstances or the introduction of new technologies must be accounted for. Read on for our guide to ensuring your ERP solution is truly future-proof. ‘Out-the-box’ isn’t good enough any more The capabilities of industry-specific ERP solutions now mean that the more standard packages become dated more quickly. When selecting a system to last, it’s important to have confidence that the software is designed for the food industry. Solutions purporting to be all things to all people can fail to truly meet the specific standards required in any given sector. While not every business can consider a completely custom-built system – although the best suppliers should help tailor their solutions to your key needs – it’s still important you’re confident your final choice has been built by people who know the food industry inside out. The reason for this is twofold: Industry-bespoke modules for areas such as warehousing can make a tangible difference to day-to-day operations – helping you find the best solutions quicker. You can be confident a food and beverage ERP supplier will focus all improvements on the future challenges and changing face of the industry. The right supplier is key Just as it’s crucial any software or hardware you choose is built for the food industry, the relationship you have with your supplier is also vital. Consider the service offered by the supplier to be equally important, and ask: Do they understand my business and its specific requirements? How are they going to help implement the ERP solution? How strong is their support service? Will they help ensure staff are fully trained and that any issues are resolved quickly? ERP suppliers are more than just vendors – see them as long-term partners that have a big role to play in the transformation of your business. Local vs global Small, local vendors serving businesses in their region have traditionally made up a large chunk of the food ERP market. But while local knowledge and the promise of a close relationship appeal to many, this model is no longer optimal. Consider the challenges in the industry – from climate change to meeting rising food demands, and that’s not even considering Covid-19. These are big issues that need big responses, and input from larger companies that can commit more spending to research and development. The huge presence companies like Microsoft have in the global food ERP market with their Dynamics platforms mean the smart money is to stick with them. The challenge for food businesses is finding the right vendor – one who can provide all the software benefits but with a strong support structure and vision to improve your business through ERP. Scale and scope – planning for what you need tomorrow Even if you feel your solution serves your business well at the moment, it’s important to ask whether this will still be the case in the future. This is pertinent in terms of your business growth – is your current solution well-integrated enough to allow you to scale up smoothly? And beyond this, your business direction is a key factor too. For instance, if you plan to introduce new packaging lines, expand the workforce or invest in new technology you need to be sure your ERP is flexible enough to accommodate this. Ask how straightforward it would be to extend your use of the system by adding new modules and integrations. Delivery The traditional delivery method of ERP in the food industry was on-premise hardware and software, but this is being usurped by more adaptable cloud-based methods. There is much to be said about the on-premise ERP vs cloud-based ERP comparison but purely in terms of future-proofing cloud-based solutions provide greater flexibility. Software as a Service (SaaS) ERP makes it far easier to benefit from improvements rolled out by your provider. It also makes it easier for vendors and businesses to work together to identify areas for improvement.
Improving Your Food and Beverage Business with Real-Time Analytics
Improving Your Food and Beverage Business with Real-Time Analytics If you’re in the food and beverage industry, you’re faced with high expectations for quality, consistency and productivity. This extends beyond the quality of your products and how quickly you deliver them to customers to important company data and analytics. When you’re making decisions based on accurate, real-time data, you’re able to move your business forward and you avoid costly mistakes that can take time to bounce back from. Spreadsheets and reports — which long ago were the standard way of managing company data — are outdated. They aren’t the safest or most accurate way to store and keep track of business insights. Luckily, there are more robust solutions available today. Food-specific ERP software solutions give food and beverage companies the accurate data they need to transform their businesses. Let’s look into how your food and beverage business can improve the accuracy of your data and the decisions you make with a food-specific ERP software solution. Make Decisions Based on Facts, Not Intuition Many businesses have always relied on manual ways of storing company data like spreadsheets, Excel files and Word documents. While these methods have worked for some businesses in the past, it is incredibly risky. Files may exist on more than one computer, which opens up the possibility of data being out of date and inaccurate. If you realize that your information is incorrect, it becomes a game of having to rely on memory or intuition in order to update company records. An ERP solves this challenge, bringing all your company information together in one central location with real-time updates. Department members have access to accurate data that they can use without fear or worry that it may be incorrect. Your software should work for you, making everything easier. When it comes to data and analytics, you want facts, not fiction. Your business can’t thrive with inaccurate data. Once an ERP is in place, you don’t need to worry about the quality or accuracy of your data. From Overwhelming Data Collection to Specifically Targeted Analytics Many software solutions provide overwhelming amounts of data. The value of data is in your ability to analyze it and make decisions. With all of the time it takes searching through loads of data, metrics and information, you could actually be making decisions that will push your business forward. An ERP solution removes tedious tasks and pushes relevant information to the forefront. With a food-specific system that features business intelligence functionality, the heavy lifting is done for you. The system runs calculations and highlights data that is relevant to your needs and updated in real-time. This helps avoid wait times that typically occur when relying on your IT department to generate reports. Accurate insights are readily available with dashboards organized by areas of business, which ensures that the data you see is relevant to you. With real-time visibility, you have more time to evaluate and make all the necessary decisions based on those insights. Pre-Built and Customizable Dashboards One of the simplest ways your food and beverage business can improve its relationship with data and analytics is by making that information easily accessible within your solution. That’s where pre-built and customizable dashboards are critical. When your dashboards are organized by areas of business, users at all levels and across all departments can use information that is relevant to them, their needs and their roles. Most ERP systems are accessible on computers, tablets and smartphone devices. This gives any user the ability to easily access the right information, at the right time, on the right device. One of the great flaws of spreadsheets and disconnected systems is that there are too many opportunities for mistakes to happen. With a solution designed for the food and beverage industry, all of your important data is stored in one place, creating one source of truth. Moving On To Trustworthy Data Storage Moving away from spreadsheets, Excel files and sheets of paper that carry company data may be hard, especially if it’s how your company has always operated. But with the lack of security and accuracy that comes with an old way of managing data, businesses can never truly move forward and take advantage of benefits available in newer solutions. The benefits of using an ERP system for your food and beverage business are clear. By creating one central space for all relevant company information that is updated in real-time, you have access to data that is accurate and will allow you to make the best decisions for the future of your business. With industry competition on the rise, it is crucial to have the proper software in place to provide you with necessary data and insights so that your business can do more than just compete — it can succeed. For more information on how Aptean’s food and beverage solutions can provide your business with the visibility, tracking and control you need to take your business to the next level, reach out to us. We’d love to talk.
How to Measure Your ERP Implementation ROI
How to Measure Your ERP Implementation ROI Are you thinking of implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution for your food production business? Before opting for a specific vendor, you need to make sure your ERP investment is worth it and will increase efficiency and automation inside your organization. If you calculate your possible return on investment (ROI) before you are live on your new ERP system, you’ll stand a better chance to get the most benefit out of it. Plus, your decision-making process will be more straightforward. Measuring your ERP ROI can be tricky since it accounts for much more than just the cost of the ERP solution and its benefits. So, how do you determine your company’s bottom line accurately? In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the aspects that can affect your ERP ROI to help you estimate it correctly. ERP ROI Analysis ERP project will be one of the most significant expenditures for your food manufacturing company. That’s why, before moving ahead and implementing a new ERP system, you should be aware of all the factors and benefits that will impact its value. ERP software will cover such parts of your business, like sales, marketing, operations, finances, planning, legal, accounting, and many more. If implemented wisely, an ERP solution can also improve and automate a lot of these processes. So, you must know what to look for in a food ERP solution. “Why a food production business needs an ERP? The same reason why all manufacturers need an ERP: Having an integrated system that ties together all aspects of the business together in an organized way will very likely improve the efficiency with which the business operates. This can have a direct impact on profitability. My feeling is that the greatest root causes of strife in a manufacturing organization are information deficits – Which customer has ordered what? How much raw materials do we have on hand? What is our cost of doing business? Every business that reaches a certain size and has hands-on involvement in the manufacture of their product eventually reaches a point where an ERP system offers a practical solution to improving business performance and profitability.” David Altemir, President/Senior Consultant at Altemir Consulting Let’s take a look at cost factors and implementation benefits you should consider when calculating your ERP ROI. The Cost of ERP Depending on a vendor and your business needs, the cost of the ERP solution (aka required investment) will vary, and you should fully understand and evaluate it beforehand. On-premise vs. cloud If your new ERP software is deployed on-premise, then you should expect to spend money on hardware, such as getting new servers and networking equipment. However, if you choose a cloud-based ERP solution, the hardware costs will be reduced significantly. For example, bcFood’s ERP system is based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central that brings all your business tasks, data, and reports to a single environment. Thus, you shouldn’t worry about unexpected hardware costs. Employee training A new ERP system requires your employees to be ready to navigate it and use it properly for the processes throughout your organization. Will you need to hire a coach/consultant to help your staff get used to the changes? Will it be necessary to buy extra promotional materials or hold training classes? Will you need to hire more managers to be able to streamline new production processes more effectively? Whatever the cost, you should count it towards the total price of your ERP. Implementation Choosing a suitable ERP system is the first step, but then you might need to add various customizations, configurations, deployment, and testing to the final cost. Whether you decide to pay overtime for your current employees to do it or hire an outsource company for that, you should still expect extra expenditures. Your ERP implementation budget might include: Installation Configuration Reporting User training Testing Go live preparation Go live Post-go-live support Month-end support, internet, etc Licensing Does the ERP software require a one-time fee or monthly cloud fees? What types of licenses will you need, and how many of them? You might come across the need to acquire more licenses than you thought initially. That’s why you should be ready for these expenses and try to define the number of users who’ll need full access to the functions of your new ERP system. Maintenance Even though buying ERP software is a one-time thing, you shouldn’t forget about the costs that come with its yearly maintenance and support. What type of support does your vendor provide? How much will your annual maintenance cost be? It’s critical that you include these expenses into the total cost of the ERP for your food production business. System upgrades The technology is evolving, and so is your ERP system. Before settling on a particular vendor, you should know how many upgrades they provide, and how much it will cost you. You wouldn’t want to use the outdated software as well as pay for expensive upgrades a few times per year. So, make sure you are aware of all the costs associated with your ERP system improvements. Now that you have a clear picture of the cost of your initial investment in an ERP solution, it’s time to count the value of the benefits ERP systems can bring to your food production business. “The ROI is a result of: Cost Savings – efficiencies gained through the elimination of duplicate entry, availability of real-time information, business analytics and the resulting improvement in management decisions Revenue Enhancement – better visibility into customer behavior, integration of CRM, prospect conversion, quoting, and conversion of quotes to orders, along with sales behavior analytics Compliance – reduction of effort spent on maintaining compliance in the areas of traceability, recall management, quality reporting, and maintaining quality standards resulting in higher customer satisfaction and lower returns.” Princess Ruff, Digital Marketing Strategist at The Attivo Group ERP Business Benefits The value of your ERP project is more subjective than its costs as there are a few things that are intangible and cannot be counted easily. So, let’s take a look at what benefits you can expect from ERP software implementation. Operating expenses With the help of an ERP system, you’ll be able to streamline and automate your business operations, and as a result, reduce operating costs. So, go ahead and calculate your new monthly operating expenses and compare them to the current number. Now, you have the first metric of your ERP value. Improved logistics ERP software can provide you with better ways of tracking deliveries and other operations much more efficiently. It means that you might boost your production and accelerate internal and external communication. For example, our bcFood ERP software provides you with excellent traceability and helps you make your food manufacturing business more transparent. Inventory management Usually, an ERP system will make inventory management a much easier process for your employees. It means that inventory checking will take less time, and you might save money on billable hours. Easier returns and recalls Having an ERP solution is critical for the food manufacturing industry. It lets you keep track of all the recalls and address them in a matter of minutes. This makes your business more reputable and saves you not only time but also money. Shorter sales cycle Keep all your customers in one system and be able to address their needs and concerns quickly. ERP system allows you to manage your buyers efficiently and grow more sales. If you leverage your ERP’s customer relationship management, you might see a drastic increase in revenue. Better supply chain management When calculating the value of your ERP system, you should also consider the reduced cost of goods. Thanks to the streamlined supply chain, you might find your enterprise manufacturing more goods and landing more contracts. bcFood’s ERP solution lets you keep track of all your contracts and provide your customers with the latest information about your products and deals. A better supply chain can impact your ERP return on investment in a very positive way. Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at the metrics that aren’t as easy to measure as the ones mentioned above. Staff retention If you take the time and effort to choose the right ERP solution for your food production business and implement it well, you can expect that it’ll make the daily lives of your employees less stressful. And if your staff starts loving their job more, there’s a bigger chance they’d want to stick in your company for a longer time. Automation is one of the best perks of ERP software, and it takes care of a lot of mundane tasks your employees don’t like doing. In short, an ERP system can make your enterprise a better place to be for your team members. Faster decision making With the help of better visibility, you’ll be able to make business decisions much faster and, consequently, contribute to its growth. Centralized documentation ERP software allows you to keep all the essential information and documentation in one safe place. Thanks to the modern cloud-based technology, you’ll be able to access your business documentation from anywhere and cut on work hours dedicated to documenting. How to Calculate Your ERP Return on Investment Now that you’ve got your ERP total cost and value, let’s see how you can measure the possible ROI of the ERP implementation. ERP ROI Calculator: ROI = [(Value of Investment – Cost of Investment) / Cost of investment] x 100% Or ROI = Net Benefits/Project Investment What does your ROI look like? Is it bigger or lower from what you expected? Maybe you can add more business benefits to the equation, like, for example, competitiveness. ERP can make your food production company more reputable in the eyes of customers and let you beat your competitors by having more time to focus on the quality of your products. Whatever your initial ERP ROI analysis turns out, remember that it’s not an overnight process. It might take years until you see your ERP return on investment grow. Yet, Enterprise Resource Planning software is a long-term investment that will help you bring your food manufacturing business to a new level. “The Return On Investment of an ERP implementation can only be calculated several years after its (successful) implementation and usage. First of all, calculate the cost of the ERP: not only taking into consideration external consulting but also your internal cost, which doesn’t stop at adding Full Time Equivalents together. You must also include all related costs, from the blueprint to management reporting, not forgetting post-implementation hyper care collateral costs. After each period – for example, a year, depending on your project goal, ask each Global Business Process Owner to provide an overview of pre-implementation overall cost/revenue per period and the current one. By checking these numbers, you will be able to assess the ROI. For example, if you used to spend $10M/year for raw materials purchasing, but with the help of you new ERP you negotiated new global contracts and cut down your procurement costs to $8M on Y1 and $7 on Y2, then at the end of year 2 you’ll have saved $5M. If your ERP implementation cost was below this saving, it has been worthy by year 2. If it is above, then you might have to wait longer to see a positive ROI or reconsider your choices.” Yoann Bierling, International Project Manager at New Simple As Possible ERP Also, you should understand that every business is different, and you should have a clear picture of your goals before you decide to spend money on any ERP solution. It will help you avoid paying for the ERP features that your business doesn’t need. Find the Right Vendor & Get Started Analyzing the ROI of ERP implementation isn’t an exact science, nor is it easy. Yet, it’s one of the most vital steps you should take before choosing your ERP vendor. At bcFood, we know that selecting the right ERP software for your business is a time-consuming process that requires a significant investment. That’s why we tailored our ERP solution specifically for food production businesses that want to become more efficient and see a positive ROI. Do you want to learn more about the benefits of ERP implementation for a food manufacturing enterprise and see whether it’ll be a good fit for your business? Then don’t hesitate to contact our ERP experts. We’ll be happy to help you have a clearer picture of your ERP return on investment.
How ERP Software Helps You Ensure Compliance in your Meat Processing Plant
How ERP Software Helps You Ensure Compliance in your Meat Processing Plant The food industry has faced many changes over the past decade. The introduction of global food supply chains, shifts in public mindset towards ideas of sustainability and healthy eating, and ever-changing government rules and regulations regarding food safety have forced food companies to meet these new demands or risk going out of business. While the entire food industry feels the pressure of these changes, meat processing companies are often some of the most vulnerable in terms of compliance, profitability and overall success. Meat processing is a complex business. Between meeting consumer and supplier demands, addressing safety and compliance concerns and dealing with the unique requirements of the industry itself – like catchweight, by-products, lean percentage, etc. – meat processors require a software solution that will support these unique issues instead of exacerbating them. That’s where an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution built for the food industry comes in. In terms of overall compliance in your meat processing plant, technology designed to address the distinct needs of meat processors (like the ability to comply with strict quality standards, track by-products bi-directionally through the production process and better manage delicate inventory) is required to meet the safety and quality standards consumers, suppliers and partners demand. Below, we outline how a food-specific ERP solution can help your meat processing company remain compliant and ensure success. Keep Up With Ever-Changing Rules and Regulations The meat industry faces some of the toughest rules and regulations when it comes to food safety – and for good reason. Contagious diseases like foot-and-mouth disease (which could cost producers and the public $188 billion if an outbreak occurs) and bacterial diseases like salmonella (which resulted in the recall of more than 12 million pounds of beef in 2018) are extremely dangerous and costly to both processors and the public.But with strict rules and regulations in place ensuring outbreaks like the above don’t occur, it can be difficult for meat processors to ensure compliance while attempting to run a profitable business. Fortunately, meat processors can rely on the functionality of a food-specific ERP to help.In order to comply with the USDA’s strict regulations around record keeping, for example, establishments that grind beef are required to maintain adequate records concerning suppliers and source materials for raw ground beef. Some of these records include supplier lot numbers and production dates, the names of all beef components being used and any materials carried over from production to the next, and the date and time when grinding equipment is cleaned and sanitized.An ERP for the food industry comes equipped with record keeping functionality that can help users maintain thorough documentation at every level of production. This makes pinpointing where in the supply chain a product, by-product or co-product is infinitely easier and will assist with your recall preparedness efforts. Accurately Track and Trace Raw Materials All food companies face strict traceability requirements from suppliers, customers, partners and governing bodies. While many meat processors in the past could get away with manual tracing and tracking efforts, the increasing demand for full traceability means that if your company doesn’t have the software in place to accurately manage recalls, you risk losing new business and existing customers.Lot traceability is inherent to almost all ERP solutions. But while a generic ERP will provide users with a snapshot of where a product is in its current state, leading ERP solutions with food-specific functionality will merge inventory records to give you a full end-to-end view of your entire production process. That means that you’ll have the ability to track raw materials from receiving into production, track finished goods from supplier receipt to customer invoice and identify the raw materials and resources that produced the finished products.This ability to track batch-specific quantities bi-directionally also ensures that meat processors have the ability to track and trace every ingredient used in the processing of a product, even if it’s a minuscule amount (like a spice, for example). This is imperative to meat processors who face increasing demands for 100% traceability and are required to perform mock recalls in minutes to adhere to customer requirements and certification audits. Comply with Quality Specifications Meat processors deal with a high-level of variability when it comes to making quality decisions. Unlike food processors or manufacturers in other sub-industries whose products receive either a pass or fail when a quality check is performed, the variability in quality conditions of a meat product makes the quality check process for meat processors unique and complex.Here’s an example: A sausage company looking to purchase trimmings has a specification in place that says it will accept products with a lean percentage from 59% to 64% and will reject or hold any receipt outside of this range. Because your company utilizes an ERP to effectively track the quality conditions of raw materials and finished goods, you supply this sausage company with trimmings with a 60% lean percentage, which falls right into the company’s specifications.Having the ability to quality check raw materials and finished goods based on supplier receipts, inventory, manufacturing and customer shipments ensures you’re able to measure and compare actual quality results to individual customer specification limits. An ERP tailored to the meat industry will come built with predefined industry-standard characteristics such as grade, fat or lean content. Having full visibility into available raw material inventory and characteristics ensures you can easily comply with customer-specific quality specifications. Manage Safety Amidst Global Issues As the novel coronavirus changes the way the world operates, it’s imperative that meat processors start thinking about what business will look like post-pandemic. It is likely that regulations and requirements set forth by governing bodies, suppliers and customers will demand that facility and worker safety be placed at the forefront of all operations, forcing meat processors to rethink the way their business functions. In response, processors may increase the scheduling frequency of their cleaning and maintenance processes, reduce the number of staff scheduled for various shifts, move operations to remote sites and much more. But without a system like an ERP in place to help manage these changes in operating procedures and ensure compliance, your meat company may not have the capacity to address these changes while still maintaining profitability.An ERP built for the food industry helps manage changes in scheduling and maintenance and provides you with the oversight you need to identify any bottlenecks and inefficiencies to ensure you’re still hitting profitable production targets. Warehouseing functionality built into an ERP also allows you to manage ever-changing customer order policies and new requirements of logistics partners. And in terms of inventory management post-pandemic, as global supply chain standards inevitably shift and fluctuate, an ERP with meat-specific functionality will ensure that the best inventory rotation methods and quality standards are always met. If you’re a meat processor struggling to comply with consumer demands, safety standards and quality specifications, Aptean’s suite of food and beverage products might be right for you. Aptean for Food and Beverage is designed to address the needs of food manufacturers and processors looking to accurately account for all raw material and finished products, increase visibility across departments and ensure success and continued growth. If you’d like to learn more about Aptean, reach out to us now.
Food Industry Challenges 2020: How bcFood Can Help
Food Industry Challenges 2020: How bcFood Can Help On top of already existing strict regulations and production hurdles, the food manufacturing industry faces a set of new challenges in the spotlight of a recent coronavirus outbreak. Food safety, traceability, and transparency will now be incremental for manufacturers who want to keep their business afloat. Both food distributors and customers are already becoming more demanding when it comes to the quality of the products they’re buying. They want to know the food is safe, free of allergens and pesticides, and where exactly it comes from. If you want your food manufacturing business to run smoothly in times of economic uncertainty and fierce competition, you should leverage the power of technology and real-time data. Investing in an enterprise resource planning system will help you grow your company’s efficiency, accountability, and safety. So, let’s explore the top challenges in the food manufacturing industry, and how bcFood can help overcome them in 2020. End-to-End Traceability Right now, consumers are interested in what goes in there food and where it comes from more than ever. That’s why the ingredient labeling has become one of the most critical stages of food packaging. It might sound simple, yet, it’s a big challenge for any food manufacturer. Without having accurate data records and spot-on supply chain management, it’s hard, if not impossible at all, to track both food origin and quality. How bcFood’s ERP solution can help you meet this consumer demand bcFood’s Advanced Lot Management feature will let you easily track the movement of items through the supply chain and perform quality testing. Plus, due to the increased number of product recalls because of the current situation, it’s essential to have a system that would help you execute them quickly and avoid money losses. Enhanced Inventory Management If not for the limited shelf time of food products, we wouldn’t be discussing this right now. Yet, it’ll still remain one of the significant food industry challenges in 2020. In fact, the food pathogen testing market is predicted to exceed 850 million tests by 2024. Since foodborne bacteria can affect both consumers’ health and your business reputation, it’s critical to implement proper measures to fight this problem. It means that your food manufacturing company needs advanced inventory management software to help you tackle this problem. How you can leverage bcFood’s ERP to overcome this challenge bcFood’s mobile warehouse management system (WMS) allows you to use handheld mobile units with barcode scanners to interact with your ERP system. Not only cuts it the old-school paper-based data entry but also eliminates errors. Our integration with bcMobile will bring mobility to your warehouse and provide you with a real-time picture of your inventory. 2020 is high time to trade a paper-based system for handheld mobile devices with barcode scanning functionality, isn’t it? Regulations and Quality Control Whether you like it or not, FDA, EPA, OSHA, and FTC will keep on making food regulations stricter. That’s why, as a food manufacturer, you have to obey these norms and ensure you maintain a hygienic manufacturing environment and produce healthy products with accurate labels. Often, not keeping up with the latest regulations leads to multiple recalls and budget damages. So, if you want to avoid that, you have to keep all your business operations as accurate as possible. How bcFood’s ERP solution can help you ensure your products meet all the required standards Our Quality Assurance and Quality Control systems will eliminate any mistakes or defects in your products as well as prevent the ones with defects from being released for use. When it comes to establishing airtight control standards, there’s no hit or miss. With bcFood’s ERP, you’ll be able to record every single quality testing activity that takes place in your company and use the historical data to prevent future regulatory issues. Food Allergen Labeling For years, the Food Allergen Labeling And Consumer Protection Act has required food manufacturers to display all the main allergens, and it won’t change any time soon. Consumers are now more concerned about the healthiness and safety of the products they buy, and the demand for such “healthy-labeled” products will only grow. That’s why food manufacturers have no choice but to prove that their products are of high quality and made with natural ingredients. How bcFood can contribute to solving this problem bcFood’s Item Allergens feature will help you keep track of the item allergens that go into the products you manufacture. With our software, you can indicate which items in your inventory contain allergens (e.g., dairy, wheat, and shellfish) to ensure safety and compliance. Also, you’ll be able to group production activities by allergen type and then schedule them to specially-designated allergen lines. With unlimited setup options, bcFood gives you a chance to meet all the necessary regulatory requirements and make sure your consumers are safe. Recipe Management Strict control over recipes and formulas has always been one of the main concerns of food manufacturing companies. No one wants to have issues with tempered recipes and, as a result, unsatisfied consumers. Also, with the nation shifting to the healthier consumption culture, companies have to keep up with the demand and experiment with a variety of new recipes. It might mean getting more raw materials and establishing new connections with growers. So, how food manufacturing business can do it without spending tons of time and money? How bcFood’s ERP solution can help you satisfy consumer demand? bcFood expands upon the existing production functionality by giving you the ability to set up recipe and packaging bills of material (BOMs). It’ll help you define recipes according to standard batch sizes. Then you can enter contents as percentages of the total batch, making it easy to adjust and scale bills of material. You’ll also have a chance to scale up new recipes without interrupting the execution of the current ones. More Health-Consciousness Consumers With the increasing amount of food-related diseases and various disorders, consumers started paying more attention to their dietary habits. That’s why the demand for organic food products with no added preservatives is growing every day. As a food manufacturer, you might need to join the trend and start producing new nutrient-dense products, labeled ‘gluten-free’, ‘dairy-free’, ‘sugar-free’, ‘fat-free’, and so on. However, labeling products are only a small part of a challenge. The main one is getting hold of more organic ingredients and making new products taste good without using any harmful add-ons. How bcFood’s ERP solution can help you create new-generation products? If you’re a big food manufacturing enterprise, you know that dealing with multiple growers and keeping all the vital documentation can be quite a challenge. bcFood’s Grower Management allows you to set up all of the growers with whom you do business. Once you define your growers, you can use these records in related features such as commodity contracts and receipts. It gives you a chance to quickly establish relationships with new growers and expand your production without the hassle of bureaucracy. This feature also allows you to process activities in a way that reflects the realities of your business. Complex Trade Management With the new regulations being introduced every year and the current state of our economy, food trading will only become more demanding. Moreover, often, trade plans are multi-level schemes that require precise monitoring and constant updates. Trade agreements include variable prices, discounts, promotions, rebates, broker commissions and payables, royalties, and bill-backs. That’s why keeping track of all the changes is quite a complicated process. And trading in 2020 might become even more of a challenge in the food manufacturing industry. How bcFood can help you alleviate your trade management process Our Trade Management enables you to handle your trade agreements with customers and vendors, and keep all of them in one digital place. bcFood takes the complexity out of pricing, markup, and discount setup with simple trade management tools that allow you to implement all your pricing structures quickly. Using bcFood’s trade plan setup, you can gather claims from transactions, then periodically pay them out to the recipients you identify. Final Thoughts The food manufacturing industry is going to face quite a few challenges in the near future. They include ensuring new safety regulations and compliance, establishing transparent product traceability, implementing more robust inventory control, and producing more eco-friendly products. Thus, food manufacturers have to take advantage of technology to be able to keep up with the needs of the modern world and more health-oriented consumers. Overcoming these challenges might seem like a mission that cannot be accomplished. However, with the proper ERP software, food manufacturers stand a good chance of winning today’s marketplace and getting their innovative products in front of their customers as soon as possible. If you strive to grow your food manufacturing business and beat your competitors, we can help you implement new technologies by leveraging our powerful ERP solution. Contact us today, and a member of our team will help you get started.
How to Grow Your Food Production Business
How to Grow Your Food Production Business When it comes to growing a food production business, your goals should include not only boosting sales but also finding more efficient ways to deal with larger volumes of both raw materials and final products. You’ll also need to apply new strategies to regulate the production process, expand into new markets, and handle more sales. Do you want to make your food production business flourish? Here are four ways to do it with the help of an innovative ERP solution. “One specific aspect to consider when building and growing a food production business is the expertise of the team behind the product. The business’s leadership team must demonstrate that relevant evidence-based research has been utilized and applied in the development of the food product. Having a designated member of the team, like a registered dietitian, will be helpful to serve as a trusted expert in this area. Delivering a high-quality food product that’s created and supported by credentialed food professionals will lead to an increased level of trust with the customer.” Susan Stalte, MBA, RD, Founder of Dietitian Recruiting Ensure Compliance Food safety and quality control are an integral part of any food production business and should not be neglected. Complying with the latest food safety regulations will help you maintain your reputation among both distributors and consumers. It will also contribute to protecting bad products from entering the market. With bcFood’s quality assurance module, you’ll be able to record every quality testing activity that takes place in your company and take advantage of that information to ensure your product meets the highest standards. Having software that lets you identify and address food quality issues before they can harm your enterprise is a tremendous advantage for any food production company. Our ERP business solution will help you keep track of the newest food safety regulations and save time on implementing them throughout your organization. Establish Mobile-First Warehouses Manually counting and managing your inventory can take up a lot of time and effort that could be better served on more significant tasks. So what if we told you that we could help you automate this process? bcFood’s mobile warehouse management system (WMS) allows you to use handheld mobile units with barcode scanners to interact with your ERP system. It will let you eliminate data entry mistakes, as well as help your staff manage your warehouse better and faster. Plus, you’ll always have access to a clear and real-time picture of your inventory. What are the benefits of bcFood’s WMS? Firstly, it has an approachable interface. It can be personalized by role, controlling which tasks a given user can perform. You and your employees won’t have any trouble getting used to it. Secondly, it offers extensive compatibility. You can easily use it with both Android and Windows Mobile platforms from both current and past generations, meaning that if you already have handheld devices, you won’t need to spend money on new hardware to adjust to bcMobile. Lastly, it has a vast library of transactions. You have access to all major warehouse movements, including receipts, picks, and shipments. You’ll also be able to perform physical counts and get quick insight into specific items and lot records. If you manage to automate standard warehouse operations, you and your team will have more time to develop strategies that will help grow your business. Optimize Your Supply Chain Do you plan to grow your business? Then you need to think about how this growth will affect your supply chain. And of course, you’ll want to apply the most efficient strategies to be ready for these changes. If you want to speed up your company’s growth and retain your customers, you must respond quickly to changes in demand. Listening to a hunch or going with your gut may work from time to time, but as your business grows, we say you should give technology a shot and rely on data when it comes to making vital decisions. We can provide you with all the necessary tools and information to automate your food processing, manufacturing, and distribution processes. Let’s see how you can leverage our ERP solution to improve each of them: At the stage of food processing, you will be able to establish full traceability throughout the supply chain, meaning you can always track materials from their point of origin to their final destination. bcFood will also enable you to receive, move, and ship products in bulk quantities; monitor market price fluctuations; and precisely track the cost of processing. At the stage of food manufacturing, you will be able to ensure that all of your recipes allow for standard batch sizing and yield percentages. Our software will also store data about allergens and nutritional information to ensure you’re manufacturing products according to the highest standards of safety and compliance. You’ll also be able to set up and enter the results of quality testing and use scheduling tools that highlight equipment or labor capacities. At the stage of food distribution, you’ll be able to schedule and manage every receipt and shipment of products to and from your warehouse locations. Our ERP solution will enable you to factor charges (e.g., freight and fuel) into inventory costs; have a complete insight into pallet, tote, railcar, and shipping container contents; and track and store regulatory shipping documentation. Once you optimize your supply chain efficiency, you’ve taken a significant step towards increasing ROI and profitability for your food production business. Focus on Your Competitive Advantages Now that we’ve told you to adhere to compliance regulations, automate your processes, and bring standard and time-tested optimizations to your operations, we’re going to emphasize that, throughout all of these changes, never lose sight of what makes your business unique. There is a reason for why your customers and partners want to do business with you. Yes, you need to make changes to your existing business if you want to enjoy the next stage of growth, but don’t let them come at the cost of what made you such a success to begin with. bcFood contains tools that allow your ERP software to reflect the way you do business, not the other way around. These features include: Commodity Receiving When handling bulk quantities of commodities, you might face quite a few challenges. With the help of our platform, you’ll be able to address all of them. bcFood’s Commodity Receiving tools will let you: Simplify order entry by providing your users with a clean platform to record their activities. Trace your inventory back to its exact point of origin. Get accurate weight information by calculating the net weight of the product. Recipe and Packaging BOMs If you strive to obtain a clear picture of your manufacturing process, it can be useful to separate the production and packaging of a finished product into different processes. bcFood’s functionality will let you set up recipe and packaging bills of material (BOMs). You’ll also be able to: Create separate bills for material groupings. Define recipes according to standard batch sizes. Achieve better accuracy in determining production output quantities, including expected yields, scrap amounts, and anticipated losses Catch Weight In the food production industry, it’s convenient to maintain your inventory records according to two units of measure: the catch weight (unit by which the item is weighed and invoiced) and the standard weight (generally defined as the inventory unit). bcFood’s Catch Weight feature will let you: Record and keep catch weights for individual lot and license plate records throughout all major transactions. Ensure that entered catch weight values fall within a reasonable tolerance range. Make the recording of weights an automatic, error-free process by integrating bcFood with electronic scales. That said, establishing transparency throughout your organization and streamlining your supply chains will help you modernize your food production business and be in line with the upcoming industry trends. The Bottom Line The inherent challenges that face food production companies, such as managing a perishable inventory that can expire and become unusable, makes growing such businesses a sophisticated task. Increasing sales is always a top priority, but it shouldn’t be your only one. You also need to introduce efficiencies and processes that can support your growth. If you want to see your food production business bloom, you should first ensure you’re complying with all the necessary food safety regulations and produce high-quality products. Then it would be best if you tried to automate your supply chains and internal controls. Not only will this help you reach full transparency in your organization, but it will also free up time to solve more critical business problems. Are you ready to boost your food production business? bcFood’s ERP business solution will help you take advantage of technology and data to accept this challenge. Contact us today!
The Top Food Technology Trends for 2020
The Top Food Technology Trends for 2020 In the food industry, staying in step with technology has become essential for food businesses to improve processes such as labeling, lot traceability, food safety, and understanding general food trends. In this article, we’ve listed the top food technology trends for 2020, allowing your food company to be prepared for what’s to come. Food Safety Food safety isn’t exactly a new trend; there have always been many components to food safety that businesses need to be sure to keep an eye on. However, we expect the following aspects of safety and compliance to become especially impactful in the coming year: Traceability There is a big focus right now on the digitization of the food supply industry, and this trend is only going to continue. Much of this emphasis is on traceability and greater levels of transparency across the food supply chain. With a supplier network that has become increasingly global, food companies need to be able to detect changes and react quickly to things like health threats. We may very well see new technologies like blockchain play a bigger role in food traceability and transparency. Food businesses will also need to remain compliant, as the FDA continues to update its HACCP guidelines In addition, record-keeping will be required to be kept in an electronic format, as stipulated by the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Overall, food companies should expect to see the FDA placing greater importance on food safety requirements being technology-enabled. Organizations should try to adopt robust technology systems sooner rather than later so they have time to try out the right technologies as opposed to rushing just to remain compliant. Package Tracing Package tracing will be an important part of the traceability food technology trend. For some time, the rule of thumb has been that tracing is necessary for any packaging material that comes in direct contact with food products, but signs show that these requirements are being extended to additional packing levels. For example, if boxes of food are stacked on top of wooden pallets, those pallets must be inspected and tracked for things like insects. There will be an increased need for this in the future with food businesses. Labeling Did you know that one of the biggest reasons food companies fail food audits is because of unlisted allergens on food labels? This year, the FDA will be introducing new nutritional label standards that food businesses need to be aware of. They will include regulations such as: Shelf-life labeling New regulation on what can be labeled as “healthy” or “natural” on food Restrictive laws on meat terms usage for meat products Many of these changes are coming at the request of the general public. People today are scrutinizing food labels more carefully due to a lack of trust in the food industry (and its marketing) that has arisen in recent years. Food companies with clean labels will be better positioned for success. BE Food Labeling This January saw the implementation of the National Bioengineered (BE) Food Disclosure Standard, a federal law that regulates GMO food labeling. This law will bring a greater level of clarity and compliance in foods that have been genetically modified (in a way not obtained through nature or conventional breeding). Although BE disclosure information will not be mandatory until 2022, there is already an increased public demand for this information to appear on labels as soon as possible. Carbon Labeling Food practices in regard to sustainability and climate change will become ever more important this year (we have a section dedicated to this below). The public is quickly becoming selective about which companies they choose to purchase from based on sustainability practices. In the food industry, many companies have begun adding language to their products in regard to being carbon neutral. For food organizations hoping to keep up and maintain the trust of their consumers, adding carbon neutral language to their labeling systems would be a good idea. Voice Technology In an industry that is continually evolving and making rapid changes, companies are finding it hard to keep up with trends. But voice technology presents an opportunity for food businesses to stay relevant and be more agile. By allowing warehouse workers and other employees to record information to a software system without ever touching a keyboard or touchscreen, voice technology can help increase productivity. Modern business software has evolved to incorporate voice activated commands into areas such as inventory control, line-loading, transfers, and more. Voice technology will be a food technology trend we can expect to see many businesses adopt as a way to be more efficient in 2020. New Markets Due to Diet, Health, and Lifestyle Trends Today’s food consumer is more informed than ever. People have become increasingly selective in their food choices, whether those decisions be based on dietary, environmental, chemical, ideological, or other factors (or a combination of these). We will list some of these top diet and lifestyle food trends below, but on a general note regarding food technology trends, your food business needs to look to data mining technologies like Power BI and AI tools so you can better understand your market and adjust your business according to insights gained from such programs. Increase in Plant-Based Food and Diets People are increasingly turning to plant-based diets for ethical, dietary, and ecological reasons. This trend is not expected to slow down, as the rise of meat substitutes like Impossible and Beyond Meat make a splash in the market alongside dairy alternatives like almond, oat, and soy milk. We can also expect to see an increase in the number of plant-based food companies and existing food companies introducing new plant-based products. Cannabis Foods Although not approved nor regulated by the FDA, the cannabis industry is a completely new field that didn’t exist just a few years ago. Businesses will need to watch and keep up with any regulatory changes in regard to cannabinoids, as well as product types on the market in states where it’s legal. Labor Costs and Tracking With all the technologies and ways of capturing data that are available on the market, food companies are trying to get a more accurate picture of exact labor costs. As domestic and international governments impose a lot of tariffs on material costs and trading partners, it is going to be important for food businesses to find new ways to reduce costs. Taking advantage of tools and technologies that can track labor more accurately will be a big trend in 2020. Some areas that businesses can track are: Training hours Licensing Data inputs Hourly labor Overtime hours Direct v. indirect labor Sustainability and Waste The sense of public alarm over the state of the world’s climate has many people and governments pushing for more sustainable practices in the food industry. Large corporations like Wal-Mart have promised to ensure that all products it sells will include sustainable packaging, and more companies are expected to follow suit. There is an increased demand for companies to offer products packaged in reusable or recyclable materials. People are also asking that businesses large and small make efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, from reducing road travel emissions, to implementing more sustainable agricultural practices, to cutting back on single-use plastics, and more. Consumers, in general, are expected to become more concerned with greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production, minimal food processing, food waste, and food transportation. Businesses that can evolve to become more sustainable will be more likely to win over the hearts of global consumers. New technologies related to tracking and tracing food packaging will help facilitate this trend, allowing businesses to keep track of recycled content information, the number of times a container has been used, and chain-of-custody records to ensure the packaging has been kept “clean.” Increased Use of Mobile Devices The advent of food technology systems has made everything in the food industry more mobile, and this food technology trend will continue to spread in 2020. While this functionality has long been available in mobile warehouse management systems for things like inbound receipts, outbound shipments, and inventory movement, food businesses are wanting to add mobility to other areas of the business, too. Food companies want not just the warehouse staff to enter information through mobile devices, but other employees, as well. For example, the ability for the quality assurance team to record test results in real-time would be a tremendous benefit for many organizations. More businesses also want to make it simpler to access company data from outside the office, as well to help make processes move faster and become more on-the-go. Handling Overnight Growth In the day and age of social media influencers and celebrity endorsement flying across the internet like wildfire, it’s become a common phenomenon for small businesses to become incredibly popular overnight. A husband and wife business that was filling a small handful of orders per week can suddenly experience skyrocketing growth from a single endorsement on social media from someone with a large following. Businesses face many challenges here, but what they can use to buffer such growth are technology solutions like Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). EDI can give businesses the ability to automate tasks, which enables them to handle rapid growth. Greater Adherence to Global Standards Because of the complex landscape of challenges in today’s food supply chain, many food retailers are calling for an increase in global food safety standards. The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recognizes a number of certified audit programs that address everything from packaging to food to materials to storage and distribution and much more. A call for greater transparency and more consistency in food safety across the globe is a food technology trend that will continue to grow in 2020 as the world becomes increasingly connected online. bcFood is a complete, robust ERP solution made specifically for the food industry. Food businesses no longer have to worry about staying on top of food technology trends, because bcFood will help them remain relevant and increase their productivity. Read more about the benefits of implementing ERP food software or contact us today to discover more about our tailored food business ERP software.
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