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According to a recent study on worldwide food consumption, the annual industry growth forecast is pegged at 3.6% (CAGR 2020-2025). A key driver of this growth is the entirely new set of consumer demands that have materialized in recent times, catalyzed by rapid technology advances. To keep up with both—technological progress and ever changing consumer demands —food and beverage companies are increasingly seeking out industry-specific ERP solutions.

Here’s a list of the key challenges a food (and beverage)-specific ERP software can help overcome:
Challenge 1: Accounting and operations: With slim margins and rising raw material costs, food manufacturers are finding that they must do a lot more to be successful. For instance, start with streamlining their operations and reduce costs. Integrating an ERP solution with the inventory, sales, purchasing, and production functions eradicate human errors, including duplicate data entry and many other tasks that are accomplished manually by the accounting department. An integrated ERP solution also dramatically alters the accounting section’s role from that of a data entry position to an actual audit and control function. A key benefit is the automatic and interference-free price calculations for different customers.

Additional benefits:

  • Easily integrates with Microsoft applications

  • Frees up staff from unproductive tasks

Challenge 2: Lack of scalability (Quality): Food safety regulations mandate food and beverage companies to respond to and comply with them. Especially when an estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people in the world – fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420 000 die every year, resulting in the loss of 33 million healthy life years (DALYs). An ERP solution with an integrated quality control function is capable of giving food manufacturers control of their supply chains and access to relevant quality control data.

Additional benefits:

  • Access to all the features needed to manage the four primary attributes of quality:

    • Control

    • Assurance

    • Planning

    • Improvement

  • Visibility into the quality process, including the automation function necessary to streamline manual jobs

Challenge 3: Short shelf life, Production order data, and Lot tracking: An essential element of food and beverage manufacturers’ operations is the estimation of how quickly a product needs to be consumed (before it expires because of limited shelf life). A food-specific ERP solution comes with an in-built technology that alerts manufacturers when and which products are nearing, or are past, their expiry dates. Handling issues like the limited shelf life of foods, poor product packaging, damaged goods, and food borne pathogens can be daunting and complicated for manufacturers. A food and beverage ERP solution, on the other hand, can help reduce spoilage, track expiration dates, and send timely notifications when stock levels drop.

Such an ERP solution also comes with inventory management and lot traceability feature, enabling food and beverage manufacturers to implement end-to-end tracking of every product ingredient.

Additional benefits:

  • Minimized recall volume

  • Maintenance of data integrity
  • Sustained consumer faith in manufactured products
  • Quicker response time

Challenge 4: Warehouse Management: Efficient warehouse management is a must for food and beverage manufacturers—to ensure food safety, customer delight, brand reputation, and subsequent business growth. A detailed view of the benefits of optimal warehouse management is as follows:

Stock tracking is not only crucial for loss prevention but also essential to satisfy customer demand. If there are fewer items in stock, customer demand does not get met, which translates to them becoming resentful. The flip side of this—if there is an excess of items in stock, it can lead to wastage of resources. An integrated warehouse management system (WMS) system that can classify and diminish these pain points and monitor the flow of inventory to avoid the production of unnecessary goods can contribute richly to manufacturers’ bottom lines.

A state-of-the-art WMS system maintains, plans and optimizes inventory-related processes in a manufacturing set up by acquiring insights on the go from the inventory and the overall product line.

Additional benefits:

  • Provides instant knowledge on inventory levels
  • Tracks growth or decline as and when they occur
  • Reduces wastage of raw material to decrease the cost of production
  • Enhances vendor and supplier management
  • Gives access to real-time data

Challenge 5: Labeling: Labeling can be complicated when different manufacturers are making the same product (with identical ingredients in equal proportions) for different customers, despite each product having its individual name and label. Consumers are also keen to know about the nutrition value that a portion of food contains—which makes it easier to make quick and informed purchase decisions. Manufacturers are required to label nutritional facts—both for food safety compliance and accurate shipping and tracking. Labeling automation manages outbound shipments as well as internal handling of goods.

A food ERP solution rapidly delivers the labels a manufacturer needs while helping it comply with the necessary regulations by leveraging its integrated labeling feature. The integration of labeling with production ensures a particular product batch gets the correct customer’s label.

Additional benefits:

  • Generates and manages specific labels and bar codes

  • Prints labels in different colors and sizes for easy identification

  • Reduces instances of product repacking

  • Enables end-to-end lot tracking

  • Improves accuracy, efficiency, supply chain visibility, and recall instances capabilities

Closing thoughts

With the right ERP solution, food and beverage manufacturers can better prepare themselves to grow and evolve their business. ColumbusFood, a food and beverage ERP solution, does this and more—right from enabling manufacturers to meet customers’ demands adequately and on time, to crafting a future-proof strategy that closes loopholes related to complying with food safety and quality norms.

Would you like to know the various ways you can benefit from an industry-specific ERP solution like Columbus Food? Speak to us.

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