Businesses in the food and beverage industry are constantly under pressure to boost revenue while simultaneously lowering costs. This is alongside other challenges, like keeping up with the changing demands from consumers, industry regulations and any changes in the global climate.
Investing in the right technology solutions can help improve profit margins and ensure your food or beverage business survives in such a competitive environment. Read on to learn how.
1. Get to know your consumers to keep up with their demands
Consumers are fickle – their demands (and brand loyalty) are always changing and growing. At the moment, we’re driven by a need to be more health and environmentally conscious, so there’s a huge demand for products that are organic, locally sourced/fair trade, plant-based, use less packaging and the list goes on.
It’s important to keep up with these expectations and even stay ahead, otherwise your consumers will decide to choose brands whose values align with theirs. In other words, they’ll buy from the competition instead of you.
The right technology can help you with this by giving you deeper insights into your customers. For example, if you can access a customer’s sales history and analyse buying patterns and behaviours, it’s easier to anticipate future purchases or needs and quickly adapt to their potential demands.
2. Identify opportunities for up-sell and cross-sell to boost your revenue
One of the quickest ways to increase revenue is to sell additional products and services to your already loyal and happy customer base. It’s about relationship selling – instead of focusing just on the product or service prices, focus on building a rapport with your customers. Build a relationship with them so trust is developed and they’re more likely to think of your brand and choose you when they need a particular product/service.
The right technology can help. In addition to access to your customers’ sales histories, there’s also the ability to access enhanced business intelligence and reporting capabilities.
This means that not only can you easily analyse your customers’ history to gain a better understanding of their needs but you can now utilise the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI can help you further enhance this customer insight to identify opportunities for up-sell or cross-sell.
Plus, you can be armed with tailored product suggestions and promotions.
3. Ensure you comply with industry regulations and standards
It’s not just consumer demands that are changing, industry regulations and standards are too. Similar to consumer demands, it’s important to keep up with these expectations to avoid losing out to the competition and the serious repercussions of non-compliance (such as heavy fines and a damaged brand reputation).
The right technology solutions will give you increased visibility into your business processes, so it’s easier to:
- Track which materials are being used for what products. This includes keeping a close eye on the expiration dates of the ingredients enabling better stock rotation and traceability
- Automatically calculate the ‘days-to-fresh’, ‘best used before’ and ‘sell by’ dates
- Trace which items are being brought into your manufacturing facility, when and who by
- Gain a deeper insight into the quality of your products as you can track and analyse raw materials from your suppliers
- Reduce the risks of human error (such as duplicate or missing data) as lot traceability can be automated
Effective traceability and tracking are key if you’re to comply with legal regulations and protect your consumers.
4. Reduce food loss and waste
Food loss (food that’s lost in the early production stages) and food waste (food that’s fit for consumption but is thrown away) have a huge impact on both the environment and your business.
For the environment, it’s the energy, water and other resources that are required to produce, move and store food – only for a portion of it to be lost due to process/machine inefficiencies, poor practices, transportation and so on.
Take a moment to think about what we’ve mentioned above. When food is lost or wasted, that’s your valuable resources that are being thrown away. Many businesses don’t realise the full costs associated with food loss.
Technology can help you to lessen the impact of food loss and waste by:
- Reducing the likelihood of human error – an ERP system, for example, can automate your processes from raw material through to delivered goods
- Increasing visibility into the three stages of production – pre, during and post. So, you can, for example, check inventory levels and ensure machines are operating as efficiently as possible
- Managing the production of co and by-products – this can help you identify potential streams of revenue for your food waste
We’ve gone into more detail on how to reduce food waste in this blog.
5. Identify and eliminate ‘dead stock’
If you can manage your inventory more precisely, you can make some significant cost savings. One thing to look out for is unsold stock which may have been in your warehouse or manufacturing facility for a long time. Also known as ‘dead stock’.
When you have an ERP solution in place, along with other technology solutions, it’s much easier to monitor your inventory levels and keep an eye on these dead stock levels.
This boost in business intelligence and visibility can help you make more informed decisions surrounding your inventory, better monitor each product’s lifecycle, comply with regulations and enhance forecasting, all saving you money.
6. Boost efficiencies
If your business is mostly relying on people, spreadsheets and multiple, disparate and legacy systems, it’s difficult to see what’s happening in real-time across your whole company. That means it’s even more difficult to monitor how your business processes are performing and identify any areas that aren’t operating as efficiently as they should.
After all, loss in efficiency means loss in productivity – which include time and money.
The right ERP solution can help you to connect all your systems and gain a single view of your business. For example, if you request a report from your IT team, it can take them several days to pull this together due to the complexity of the data. By the time you receive this report, some of the data is already outdated.
With an ERP solution, such as ColumbusFood (built inside Microsoft Dynamics Business Central), reports can be generated automatically and in real-time. Not only is the data up to date and generated quickly, your IT team gets time back to spend on other important tasks.
The right ERP solution helps you gain increased visibility across your business and increase your margins
You might have noticed a recurring benefit in this post – technology. The key thing ERP solutions rest on is their ability to increase business visibility. When you can see everything that’s happening across your business and supply chain in real-time, it’s much easier for you to make more informed decisions that are backed by data.
An intelligent ERP solution, like ColumbusFood, keeps your business in mind. It can handle food and beverage manufacturing challenges such as lot traceability and regulatory compliance, consumer demands, supply chain collaboration and so much more, so you can focus on designing and producing high-quality products for your customers.
Find out more about the ColumbusFood solution via the button below.
Your choice of ERP is only the first step to futureproofing your business
Thousands of food and drink products are launched every year but nowadays, it takes more than just a creative, unique idea and a willingness to adapt for a food/beverage business to succeed in this digital age. Businesses now need to digitally transform and that includes embracing new technology and digital strategies.
There’s a lot to consider in your journey to a future proofed success, which is why we created this handy report with Raconteur. Download it below and discover why digital transformation is important, what steps you can take to transform your business, the tech to consider and more.