8 technologies for the food and beverage industry
By Helen Masters, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Asia Pacific at Infor
Thursday, 28 February, 2019
Below is a list of the top eight technologies that are essential for companies in the food and beverage industry to remain competitive in a crowded market.
1. Modern ERP solution built for the food and beverage industry
Most mature businesses likely have an enterprise resource planning solution already. However, larger businesses often inherit outdated software overloaded with patches and inefficient applications. Start-ups will most likely be trying to make do with a generic accounting solution that focuses on AR/AP and inventory.
Modern ERP solutions have made major advances in the past few years as transformative technologies have broadened to include planning, forecasting and analysis tools. There are also industry-specific solutions on the market, providing features and benefits already built in. This can mean no more cumbersome modifications to the code-set which can complicate and delay further upgrades. These solutions can also provide agility and added insights from the built-in analytics.
2. Customer relationship management
Everyone knows how critical the relationship with the customer is to the overall success of the company. The modern customer — whether in B2C or B2B — has high expectations. Both you and your competition are likely to be looking for ways to enhance the customer experience and stay engaged with consumers in a meaningful way — whether it is staying on top of orders, anticipating seasonal offerings or planning customised promotions or product offerings. Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions help you manage and enhance the customer relationship, turning it into a differentiating feature.
3. Human capital management
A company is only as strong as its workforce. A modern food and beverage company relies on a workforce with a wide range of skills, from technologists in R&D to procurements teams who must continually find fresh ingredients and anticipate shifting demands. Recruiting, training and retaining a workforce with such a wide range of skills sets can be a daunting challenge, especially today as skilled workers are at such a premium. A HCM solution can help to recruit and retain the best talent.
4. Enterprise asset management and Internet of Things (IoT)
The combination of a solution to manage the life cycle of plant machinery and IoT sensor technology can give a company a competitive edge. These applications can help keep plants running without unexpected downtime. The embedded sensors monitor for early warning signs that indicate needed maintenance or service. The system then triggers an automated response which, in the long term, can extend the life cycle of machinery.
5. Product life cycle management
Consumers today expect frequent introductions of new products; they want more offerings, new product choices, innovative taste combinations, and new packaging and preparation methods. This means you need to be continually researching and developing new products. A modern PLM solution can help to streamline the process and bring products to market faster.
6. Warehouse management solution
As your business grows, so does the challenge of managing your inventory of ingredients and finished goods. When you add in the additional challenges of coolers, freezers and even off-site warehousing, visibility and responsiveness become difficult. A modern warehouse management system can embrace a mobility to aid with two-step put-away, cross-docking, slotting and inbound deliveries for a fast and efficient handling of goods to shorten the time to when it is available.
7. Supply chain management
Modern F&B companies typically need to leverage complex supply chains and networks of suppliers — often global. Complete visibility to location and status of shipments is essential for freshness and just-in-time-arrival of ingredients needed for the processing schedule. An advanced supply chain system which allows you to make real-time adjustments can be a game changer.
8. Cloud deployment
Deployment in the cloud often goes hand in hand with updating ERP software or adding new solutions. All of the solutions listed above can be deployed in the cloud. In order to stay competitive, businesses need to be using the most agile and flexible solutions.
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