Food manufacturers are currently facing some of the greatest challenges and opportunities that the industry has seen. Supply chains are being stretched by huge surges in demand, which makes it difficult for many smaller businesses who must quickly scale up, if they have any chance to meet these demands.
A data driven approach, utilising some modern analytics tools to drive improved visibility and decision making could be a ‘game-changer’ in the battle to keep food on supermarket shelves.
It may feel like a daunting task but getting a grip on your key data assets and analysing them is probably easier than you think.
Within days, with the right level of help, you could have created a data warehouse together with some key dashboards and metrics, all of which can help you get greater control of your business and help take advantage of the opportunities that may exist.
In this post, we consider three potential ways to help you...
1. Road space
How many transactional ERP solutions include a transport planning module that completely meets your needs? Very few. Integration into a best-in-class optimisation solution for delivery management is going to take time, even if you make the investment. But is there a simpler way?
Using some uncomplicated vehicle capacity data, which you may already have in your transactional system, alongside some predicted order demand could be a quick win. The demand prediction can be addressed using pre-built algorithms which exist in cloud analytics tools.
If you then overlay what you know about weather or other factors, and you could be on your way to a simple solution, which could be further enhanced and refined if needed.
2. Wasted effort
Do you really have a good view on how much product is being rejected daily?
Are the root causes being captured and acted upon?
Ensuring this type of data is made clearly visible to your operational improvement team is another potential enhancement that you can make without having to spend a lot of money.
Factor in potential external sources of data being fed from internet of things (IoT) devices such as temperature sensors, connected to say chilled vehicles or cold storage locations, alongside the ability to drill into why stock is being thrown away and the relevant associated data makes analysis easier still.
Temperature and humidity can be collected, stored in the cloud and linked to reject reports within days, with ongoing costs that are much lower than you might expect.
3. Yielding to demand
Getting the maximum possible yield from a crop is a focal point for any supplier of fresh food. Many environment and labour factors contribute to the potential return that is ultimately realised.
Using analytical tools to model ‘what-if’ scenarios based upon factors such as weather on the day of harvest, experience of pickers or potential transport risks could make all the difference when it comes to an assessment of the likely impact and the ability to plan to mitigate against any negative scenarios.
From small seeds…
If you want to take the data that makes your food business unique and turn it into proper Business insights without the need to trawl through pages of information, to address the market needs of large chains, logistics providers and ultimately end consumers, then you should consider an initial pilot project.
Defining an analytics project can happen in a matter of days, and at Columbus we have the industry expertise and the scale to get your ideas off the ground and turn them into reality quickly, using our flexible, rapid approach.
So, if you’re ready to start revolutionising the way in which you keep food on the nation’s plates, get in touch with me today and arrange your innovation workshop.