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Consumer demands are evolvingand escalatingby the day, and food and beverage companies are working hard to adapt and keep up with the pace.

The speed of innovation in this sector is also mandating that organizations up their game while maintaining optimal performance.

The most conspicuous element in this landscape is the criticality of the value chain. Any breakdown in the value chain and the consequences are felt through the entire farm-to-table journey; often requiring extensive visibility from the farm to retailer, passing through processors, factories and distribution centers along the way.

Maintaining a reliable value chain requires strict processes, unhindered visibility and the right technology. Increasing efficiency, minimizing risks, enhancing forecasting and improving user experience are all key to addressing various challenges faced by food and beverage companies today, including:

  • Food safety
  • Demand for traceability
  • Rise of sustainability
  • Stricter labeling requirements
  • Labor shortage
  • Trade and economic uncertainty

Food manufacturers and processors must manage variables they can controland those they can’t. They need to have visibility into their supply chain; analytics that drive operational excellence; the ability to track yield by line, order and product; regulatory compliance; risk mitigation; integrated profitability measures by item or client; and the ability to respond quickly to shifts in the market.

For many, moving from an on-premises system to Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the cloud would drastically improve their abilities to manage these variables and develop these capabilities. They could manage everything from growing agreements to order managements, and beyond. Potential benefits include: 

  • Improved tracking of materials into manufacturing plants and stricter production control
  • More efficient production facilities and reduced downtime
  • Time savings in generating regular reports for management

For example, a manufacturer which processes shelled and unshelled almonds (as well as almond paste) was limited by a largely manual process to determine which almondsby quality and sizewent into which production process. As a result, the company could not scale operations to meet changes in demand. Using Advanced Analytics in Microsoft Azure AI, Columbus worked with the company to automate production decisions for greater efficiencies in inventory management and improved planning for the future.

Benefits included:

  • Increasing revenue by 1 cent/pound on an annual processing volume of 75 million pounds
  • Assisting distribution lead in the forecasting of product needs and processing plan
  • Enabling scalability by automating production decisions with AI

The example cited here illustrates why segment-specific technology solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 with food- and beverage-specific functionality are important to managing today’s complex food processing supply chain.

Download the Columbus e-book Managing Fresh to learn more about the challenges facing food processing manufacturers, and the technology solutions they are embracing to overcome them.

Read the "Managing Fresh" e-book

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