An All-in-One ERP Solution for Food and Beverage Manufacturers
February 07, 2020
According to Gartner, every company these days is a technology company. Regardless of what they do, in which sector they operate or how they operate, ultimately they all have technology at the heart of their work. That’s not to say, however, that every company is a good or effectivetechnology company, as it’s becoming more common to see businesses investing in technology simply for technology’s sake.
Similarly, that’s not to say that all businesses should regard themselves as tech companies. The question that businesses must ask is if they’re doing themselves a disservice by focussing on technology, which is probably not their area of expertise. What they should actually be concentrating on is their core business, drawing on technological expertise from their vendors to secure that all-important competitive advantage.
Nowhere is this more the case than when it comes to ERP in the food and beverage industry. It’s such a competitive industry; food and beverage manufacturers have access to the same equipment, the same technology, and the same raw materials, and the only way they can edge out the competition is to work smarter. Key to this is making the most of their very own data, with access to robust, company-wide information forming the cornerstone of this drive towards smarter manufacturing, continuous improvements, and a significant difference to the bottom line.
It’s no longer enough to rely on one-size-fits-all ERP systems to put your business out in front. ERP solutions should still be a food and beverage manufacturer’s central system, with their ability to amalgamate such diverse parts of the business including financials, sales, demand planning, etc. But such is the ubiquity of ERP systems across the food and beverage industry; manufacturers have to do more to ensure they derive maximum value from these systems.
There are many systems and solutions out there claiming to be all things to all businesses, and on the opposite side of the spectrum are those suppliers who insist that every ERP implementation needs to be unique, claiming to reinvent the wheel every time.
In reality, food and beverage businesses need to find some middle ground here. Generic, one-size-fits-all solutions are unable to deal with the complexities and levels of granularity that are part of doing business in the food and beverage industry, but tailored solutions are both costly, time-consuming and often inflexible, stymieing growth rather than nurturing it.
What’s needed is an ERP system designed specifically for the food and beverage sector, delivered by experts who are well-versed in all aspects of ERP technology and who have knowledge and expertise in the food and beverage industry.
Opting for a food and beverage focused ERP vendor doesn’t only bring invaluable experience but guarantees particular capabilities to underpin real efficiencies for food and beverage businesses, simplifying and streamlining processes and increasing automation where possible. For example, the precise recipe management that such solutions deliver can calculate how much of a lower grade ingredient will be needed to maintain the flavor and quality of a particular product, enabling businesses to save money when it comes to ingredients without affecting quality.
Still, to secure that advantage over your competition, the story shouldn’t begin and end with ERP. In this digital world, it’s necessary to expand the solution landscape beyond ERP, increasing the digitization of wider business systems to create better margins right across the supply chain.The shop floor, maintenance management, and warehouse management, for example, are just three crucial business processes for a food and beverage manufacturer that can offer up huge business benefits if monitored, tracked, and managed by systems that are fully integrated into the very fabric of the business.
This combination of technologies complements existing ERP systems, extending the technology’s reach throughout the business and presenting users with unprecedented levels of actionable insight into all the business functions. This can result in a direct and even indirect impact on operations. It’s only with this insight that businesses can truly understand where inefficiencies lie, giving them the information needed to take action and drive continuous improvement activities for increased efficiencies across the organization.
To the Cloud
Even with the right technology in place, one key concern that food and beverage manufacturers often voice is how to keep up with the technological climate as it evolves. When you consider that an investment in a new ERP system is typically a 10-15 year investment, food and beverage manufacturers are loath to invest in the latest solution only for it to be outdated, requiring costly and complex updates within a very short space of time.
This is where savvy manufacturers are seeing the benefits of the cloud. Opting for SaaS deployments protects their investment and increases efficiency savings across their business, with the vendor responsible for implementations and updates, security and maintenance. A cloud approach makes for a more flexible, agile organization, and this structure encourages in-house IT resources to focus on the core business rather than fire-fighting infrastructure issues. Users are able to take full advantage of the comprehensive, in-depth business-wide data that they have at their fingertips to inform and underpin strategic decision-making.
With the digital world touching every aspect of our lives, digitization has blurred lines, leading to a rush to invest in technology to keep pace with the competition. In reality, technology is, of course, a key enabler, but only if it’s the right technology, delivered in the right way by the right partner, and effectively used within your organization.
With the best combination of technology in place across the entire business, food and beverage manufacturers can foster a culture of action and improvement, basing decisions on comprehensive, actionable data. This serves to furnish the business with the factual, accurate evidence to support robust business strategy and direction, securing that all-important competitive edge.