Shoring Up Shelf Life Management in the Fresh Prepared Food Industry
Your fresh prepared packaged food business faces challenges unique to the industry in which you compete. Because your processes involve several different ingredients, each with their own shelf lives, managing your inventory optimally and consistently delivering excellent products requires a thorough, data-driven approach.
The viability of these models is proven—research firm Dun & Bradstreet reported a value of $17 billion for the sector—but trying to get by on standard business software won’t cut it for companies focused on fresh prepared packaged offerings. A purpose-built enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution is what you need to operate with the efficiency and confidence that this fast-moving marketplace requires.
In what ways will an industry-specific ERP system improve your operations? Let’s explore two key benefits you can unlock.
The nature of your products likely requires sourcing ingredients from several different suppliers, and that means inconsistencies in your expiry dates. That makes your tall task of tracking and using inventory effectively all the more complex.
It’s not one you can afford to neglect, though—without careful management of your resources, you’ll suffer from shrinkage (also referred to as “wastage” and “spoilage”), which results in about $15 billion worth of goods going bad before they can be sold. And in the fresh prepared sector, your timelines are even shorter than they are for other food businesses.
ERP solutions built for the industry can allow you to segment stock by shelf life and employ a first-expiry, first-out (FEFO) method for picking and using your ingredients. With complete visibility over the data, you’re empowered to make the best out of what you’ve bought.
Going hand-in-hand with the benefit of reducing shrinkage is maximizing inventory. Food-specific ERP systems really shine here due to their ability to integrate all of your departments and processes, making sure everyone has the information they need at a moment’s notice.
Balancing quality control with cost control is a delicate practice, but the right purpose-built platform can introduce barcode scanning that ensures accuracy and speeds up manufacturing and movement of products. What’s more, automation of quality control checks and other vital steps otherwise open to human error can be handled smoothly by the technology.
ERP solutions designed for fresh prepared foods businesses like yours help you react to changes in an agile, data-driven fashion. With robust data visualization and reporting features built in, these systems help you identify potential pitfalls resulting from disruptions in the supply chain—including those caused by ongoing pandemic concerns.
Increasing Efficiency and Scaling Up
The fresh prepared packaged foods industry is primed for growth in 2021, especially with the markets in India and China growing rapidly. How can your business best harness this wave of popularity and spike in demand?
In a word: efficiency. And for that you’ll need complete visibility over your inventory and streamlined processes that minimize your losses due to poor management of ingredients. You’ll also need to process stock quicker and expand your capacity.
Luckily, a food-specific ERP solution can aid you in your efforts, making labeling, packing and shipping much simpler and more consistent procedures. Just as important, your operations will be prepared for future growth, as the right system will facilitate scaling up by growing with your business.
Written by Jack Payne for Aptean.com on March 25th, 2021