The ingredients for a circular economy in the food industry

The circular economy, the economic system of closed cycles, is becoming more and more popular, in the food industry as well. A great development, looking at the increasing world population, increasingly scarce materials, heightened price volatility and supply chain risks. No better time than the present to make use of the advantages of a circular economy. And we all need to contribute to this.

The circular economy versus the linear economy

First things first, what does a circular economy mean? Simply, the circular economy is an economic system that is meant to maximize the reusability of products and raw materials and minimize value destruction. A continuous flow of materials that keeps going round in a ‘circle’. This idea is directly opposite t the linear system that we’re used to: here products are destroyed at the end of their life cycle (thus, quickly losing their value). Well-known subjects in the food industry like recycling and sustainability are part of the circular economy, but the principal is much larger than that. Maintaining the value of resources (raw materials, water, energy) while paying attention to prevention, efficient use of the resources, environmental performance, sustainable procurement, and customer awareness.

The biological and technical cycle

The circular system consists of two different cycles: the biological cycle and the technical cycle. In the biological cycle, residuals materials safely return to nature after use and in the technical cycle, product (components) is made in such a way that these can be reused at a high-quality level. And the food industry can contribute to this. Examples are the breeding of potatoes that have the right shape of crisps or chips in order to prevent unnecessary loss of the harvest during peeling/cutting, using rejected fruit and vegetables from manufacturers and farmers to produce juices or soups (for example, our customer De Verspillingsfabriek); using parts of the animal that aren’t sold as food for other purposes like animal feed and making biodiesel for renewable energy. Mainly large food multinationals like PepsiCo, Nestle, and Mars are already working hard on a circular economy.

The 7 key elements of the circular economy

Does your food company want to get started with this, but you’re unsure about where to start? Because the term “circular economy” is used in so many different ways, Circle Economy has defined seven key elements that apply to every industry. These elements are a good guide to start with:

  1. Prioritize regenerative resources
  2. Preserve and extend what’s already made
  3. Use waste as a resource
  4. Rethink the business model
  5. Design for the future
  6. Incorporate digital technology
  7. Collaborate to create joint value

Producing more efficiently with technology

Technology can help you produce more efficiently. For example, through the purchasing of products, inventory management, quality control, and tracking and tracing. In addition to all of this functionality, in Foodware 365 you can also have the option to set up one or more co-and/or by-products in your software system. Co-and/or by-products are, for example, cutting waste, residual dough that is reused with bread and pastry, or registering other sizes that come out of production in addition to the standard sizes of products. This can be directly registered in Foodware 365 and used again in a later production process. A good example of a circular economy with the help of technology.

Is your food company working on a more sustainable future? allonline365 can help guide your company into the future. You can contact us on  info@allonline365.com or call  +27 (21) 205 3650.

www.allonline365.com

Resource Credit | Fodware 365

International food business: choosing the right software solutions

Choosing the right software solutions for your global business

Implementing an ERP platform for international businesses can be a challenge. Localization? Compliance? Global expansion? Selecting the right platform is not an easy task and could make the difference in where your business stands in the next 10 years. These are the main features to look for.

One single, global IT solution

Foodware 365 connects all your systems together; finance, management business operations, supply chain visibility and so on. This means that all processes, staff and various locations all work in one system and under the same informational structure. Reporting can be a pretty challenging task that impacts analytics and therefore, your decision-making process. Having a global IT solution creates and up to date and accurate representation of where your company is at, and where it is going. And this system saves time and money for your business.

International compliance for your food business

International compliance creates the main challenge for an international food business. With access to complete food quality and safety and tracking and tracing capabilities, your business needs not to worry about callbacks or missing the compliance mark, which could possibly lead to international fees and a blow to the company’s image.

International Software as a Service (SaaS)

Foodware 365 has a number of apps in the works at the moment, being served as Software as a Service (Saas). Software being accessed online via Microsoft’s AppSource and directly installed in one’s computer, anytime and anywhere. These bits of software identify and respond to certain needs or challenges of the food industry. The first six Foodware 365 apps for Business Central will be available soon in Microsoft’s AppSource (Advance Attributes, Customer Item Catalog, Extended Vendor Item Catalog, Packaging, Expiration Management, and Inspection Status).

Standard food-specific software

Your business is going international and growth is steadily happening. To support your businesses’ future vision, when choosing your ERP system, you need to consider the modular, systematically expandable approach. Standardization or customizable functionalities are rolled out and integrated in no time in your software platform.

All data at your fingertips in one system

Having multiple data inputs from multiple sources can hinder your overview of analytics. With having all data under one software system, you centralize all information under one platform, in a single system. So you don’t have to worry about how these systems “talk” to each other. Increase the effectiveness of reports without needing external experts to collect and interpret data.

All locations in one system

Foodware 365 for Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help you optimize your business processes so that your food company can fully benefit from growth opportunities. Are your locations spread out throughout the globe? We’re guiding you through all the steps of the implementation systems, from business scan implementation, training, and support. This ensures one system, with localized options for all locations.

You can contact us on  info@allonline365.com or  +27 (21) 205 3650

www.allonline365.com

Resource Credit | Foodware 365

Project Texel: The development of Foodware365 as a cloud solution

project texel

Project Texel: A new way of working

A whole new team was brought together for Project Texel. We defined a new organizational structure in which the following roles were assigned: developers, consultants, a test coordinator, a UX designer, application & solution architects, and a program manager.

The tasks and responsibilities that came along with these roles can best be explained while illustrating our ‘new way of working’ mindset.

Translating customer needs into Foodware 365

In our first year we’re creating a Minimal Viable Solution for food companies throughout the world, to accomplish that we’ve defined a new way of working. But before I dive into that deeper, we’ll first have a quick look at our history. Schouw Informatisering exists for over more than 20 years. In these years we’ve developed and implemented SI Foodware on top of Microsoft Dynamics NAV in many different companies in the food industry all over the world. We haven’t done this alone. Our local Microsoft partners helped us along in reaching this. These past experiences result in a thorough knowledge of the food industry. Today we’re facing the challenge to convert this knowledge into our new solution: Foodware 365 on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

We’re not just simply copy-pasting our solutions into Foodware 365. Based on our experiences and avoiding known pitfalls, we’re actually translating customer needs into Foodware 365 by way of project Texel

Rethink functions per app

First, we’ve created a set of apps that fit the needs of our global food customers. We start off with rethinking which functions are needed per app. It’s all about answering the “What” question: What functions are needed to accomplish a full-fledged app? And because we are working with time boxes, we have to prioritize these functions. Therefore, we assign every separate function into one of the three following categories: Dissatisfiers, Satisfiers, and Delighters. In the end, we want to realize a module with a healthy mix of functions out of all three categories. The roles involving the rethink phase are the functional experts, the solution architect, and the application architect. The output of this phase in project Texel is a functional decomposition.

During this phase, we also involve our reference group. Members of the reference group are a few of our highly appreciated global Microsoft partners and a Dutch heavy end-user of our current food solution. In a weekly conference call, we discuss the functional decomposition with them and get valuable feedback. The interaction with the reference group is to ensure that we make a Cloud solution with a global food fit and that we also get important feedback from an end-users perspective.

Redesign the software solution

This functional decomposition is input for the next phase, the Redesign phase. In this phase, the “How” question is answered. Roles involved, in addition to the application architect, the functional expert and the solution architect, we also have the lead developer, the UX designer, the test coordinator, and the consultants. The functional decomposition is discussed, and after that, we decided how the app will be developed, inside Business Central with AL code or outside Business Central applying the capabilities of Azure and the Dynamics 365 platform. We’re also deciding if API’s are needed to extend the Foodware 365 function to third software solutions.

Another challenge in this phase is the fact that we’re creating a Cloud solution that will be offered via the AppSource of Microsoft, so we don’t know which Foodware 365 apps a customer is using. That’s why the apps have to work independently of each other. They can’t be developed in a monolithic way anymore, but at the same time, we want to accomplish that the total package of all Foodware 365 apps is more than just the sum of these independent apps. The output of the redesign phase is to use cases and test scripts.

Development, Testing & Documenting

That output is used in the next phase: development, testing and documenting the functions of the app. During this phase, the whole team is involved. A big change for the development of our apps is that it can’t be done via embedded code. It has to be done via extensions. This development possibility is already quite some time around, but because it’s a Cloud Solution it is essential to extend the base code of Business Central.

And by development, we don’t only mean development of the code for the desired functionality, but also the development of the automated test script. These automated test scripts guarantee the quality of our solutions. And because it’s a Cloud solution it’s indispensable to have automated test scripts, otherwise, you can’t keep up the pace of periodic Microsoft upgrades.

During frequent periodic validation sessions, the developer shows his/ her progression and the next steps are discussed and finally agreed upon.

Intuitive and easily accessible Cloud solution

During this phase, we also spend time to make our apps Saasified, with which we mean that our Cloud solutions are intuitive and easily accessible for our end users. We’re doing this by applying tooltips, quick entry, notifications, headlines, assisted set up, ready to use cues, charts and Power BI reports. Last but not least we provide thorough documentation, so that for every app clear documentation is realized.

Learn more about Foodware 365 and how this solution can transform your business. We are excited to hear more about Foodware 365 integration with Dynamics 365 Business Central. You can contact us to find out more about how this solution fits your business needs.

Call:  +27 (21) 205 3650 or email us:  info@allonline365.com

www.allonline365.com

Resource Credit | Foodware 365

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