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Quality is about meeting/exceeding your customer expectations every time they buy your product or service. But rising food prices due to global crisis such as the 2020/21 pandemic has placed added pressure on margins, meaning businesses are limited on how much they can spend on improving quality control. That’s why you need to prioritise effectively, so you can make the biggest impact with your expenditure on high quality.

Let’s look at the tools which can aid this…

How technology is revolutionising the food industry

We’re already seeing how robotics are helping food businesses ensure quality while keeping labour costs low. And there’s emerging technology like 3D printing which has opened the door for further innovation.

Automation can help improve quality control throughout the food and drink supply chain by:

  • Improving consistency – if programmed correctly, machinery can operate the same way every time. This allows you to create the same quality product over and over again which reduces the risk of product recalls
  • Improving accuracy – a human can quickly go through a process 100 times fairly consistently, but the odds of them producing 100 identical end results are slim to none. With automation, you can ensure you get an accurate product every time
  • Eliminating human error – we’re all human and make mistakes from time to time. For example, a lapse in concentration can result in an incorrect measurement. Automated systems however, eliminate the chances of human error as they don’t get distracted, tired or make mistakes

You can read more into the benefits of automation by clicking here.

To support new product development, you need the right solution

Product development faces more challenges with consumers wanting healthier, more sustainable and nutritious alternatives to the foods they usually buy with no compromise on taste. A recent example of this is that 45% of customers in the UK in 2021 are buying locally produced goods, forcing businesses to take more control of their inventory to adapt to external changes. But to support the creative ideas you have for food development, you need to choose the right ERP solution to manage the process. Some of the key features include:

  • Improved inventory visibility – a standard ERP system can’t handle the unpredictability and sometimes short shelf lives of food inventory. Food-specific solutions will give you improved visibility of available stock, current demand and what’s coming in to help improve inventory holding
  • Strict Lot control – Lot numbering isn’t a main component of standard ERP systems. With food ERP software, you’ll be able to apply strict Lot control throughout the goods in/out process
  • Increased warehouse efficiencies – most ERP systems come with a built-in warehouse management system (WMS) but foodstuff has extra husbandry needs during storage which can cause problems for standard ERP systems. A food-specific solution will boost your stock management and support tools like bar-code readers

You can read more into the benefits of choosing an industry-specific ERP to support your food product development by clicking here.

But if you really want your ERP system implementation to deliver long-lasting, business-wide benefits, you must also focus on value. This means creating the right mindset and culture where you ERP system will thrive. In our latest episode of ColumbusCast, we explain why it shouldn’t always be about ERP.

Watch it by clicking the button below.

Why food businesses should look beyond ERP

Maximise your technology investments by keeping them evergreen

Evergreen IT is about making small updates to a business’ IT landscape (e.g. operating systems, applications, server infrastructure) on an ongoing basis rather than doing a ‘big bang’ migration.

By taking an Evergreen approach, you can:

  • Ensure your business apps are always up-to-date – with minimal effort required from you, you can keep your apps running on the latest versions. This gives you access to the latest features functionalities
  • Reduce maintenance costs and less effort required – a software vendor like Microsoft will handle releases for you. This means you no longer need to prepare for an update or upgrade, nor will you need to keep up with when your apps need to be updated. All you need to do is choose whether to update now or later
  • Get access to faster updates – trying to migrate from one software version to another can be a complex and time-consuming process. With Evergreen, you’ll constantly be making small, iterative changes rather than migrating everything in one go. This means updates happen faster and reduces the chance of disruption to your organisation
  • Improve security – as you’re on the latest software versions, there will be fewer vulnerabilities and will ultimately reduce the risk of a cyber attack
  • Maximise uptime – as mentioned in the previous point, being on the latest software versions reduces the chances of system downtime due to a cyber attack. Plus, iterative updates reduces the chances of your business being disrupted for a significant amount of time
  • Boost productivity – maximum business uptime means your teams can rely on applications to be running exactly how they need them to. Access to the new features and functionalities (because you’re on the latest versions) can unlock easier ways to extract and interpret data which can you save
  • Increase employee morale – when you combine the above points (access to new features, a better system interface, less downtime, process efficiency), it can lead to happier end users. Increased employee moral can positively impact productivity, sales, revenue and more

A managed services provider (MSP) can offer expert support and service for your network, so you can focus on what your business does best. You can read more about our Evergreen services by clicking the button below.

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Our complete guide to innovating your food business

Unprecedented challenges in the form of quality standards and regulations have placed significant pressure on the food industry. Consumer demands have also shifted in recent years, with them having more awareness on global issues.

This means you need an effective product innovation strategy that helps you create winning products which are not only unique, enticing and exciting, but also sustainable, healthy and nutritious.

In our guide, we help you identify when it’s time to innovate, what steps you should be taking to innovate and what technology trends to look out for.

Download it below.

The complete guide to innovating your food business

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