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Why Food and Beverage Manufacturers Need Industry-Specific Formulation Software

Why Food and Beverage Manufacturers Need Industry-Specific Formulation Software


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Why Food and Beverage Manufacturers Need Industry-Specific Formulation Software

12 Oct 2023

Aptean Staff Writer
Food factory worker wearing hair and beard net using a touchscreen tablet

With 95% of new products introduced to the market failing every year, it’s worth exploring the latest technologies for new product development (NPD) efforts to help you create manufacturing lines that will stay successful in the ever-changing consumer market. If you don’t act now and start your digital transformation journey, how do you plan to make great-tasting products with a quick time-to-market transition?

To remain competitive, food and beverage businesses like you must satisfy consumer demands while creating new products to cater to emergent trends. That's why industry-specific formulation software like product lifecycle management (PLM) has become essential in the pursuit of profitability, quality and innovation.

In this blog post, we will explore the key benefits of formulation software, such as PLM, which can help streamline and enhance your product development process. We’ll also discuss how must-have features of formulation software for food and beverage businesses shorten time to market and manage the complete lifecycle.

Product Formulation Software: The Role of a PLM Solution

As a formulation software that helps manufacturers automate and increase efficiency in their NPD stages, PLM provides a single shared database for all teams involved throughout product development. Moreover, PLM software integrates people, business systems and information to efficiently manage product-related data and processes throughout the product lifecycle, ensuring all stakeholders have access to accurate and up-to-date information.

As management software, the platform centralises collaboration, document management, version control and other activities critical to product development and process management. With that, you can leverage the capabilities of PLM solutions to complete NPD programs by having complete visibility, enhanced collaboration, better accuracy and streamlined communication.

Key Benefits of Using a PLM as Your Formulation Software

As the food and beverage industry evolves, embracing digital solutions for formulation like PLM software becomes increasingly crucial for successful NPD efforts. With a robust set of purpose-built features, the software system allows you to accelerate new product launches that align with market trends—capitalising on profit opportunities and positioning your brand as leader.

Let’s now take an in-depth look at the benefits your company can unlock by deploying a PLM solution.

1. Streamlined Recipe Development

PLM software can help promote efficient creation and modification of new recipes, accurate measurements and conversion of ingredients by providing centralised storage and access to recipe data.

The system enables you to use your current recipes as templates for creating diverse variations—facilitating the development of new and optimised formulas, ensuring that the final recipe is prepared for production as you transfer it to manufacturing and compliance teams.

2. Enhanced Ingredient Management

With PLM, you can monitor each ingredient from its procurement up to the end of its shelf life while generating accurate reports to reduce the risk of overstocking and wastage. It can also send automated alerts for stock expiration and low stock level status.

Moreover, the intuitive index and search functionalities enhance ease-of-use and efficiency in ingredient management. Integrations with important databases—including the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Centre d'Information sur la Qualité des Aliments (CIQUAL)—allow your ingredient information to be collected automatically.

3. Efficient Cost Optimisation

Cost consideration is not only about finding cheaper alternatives to raw materials and ingredients for your product. As mentioned already, PLM solutions give complete visibility for all NPD and product-related data helping your sourcing and procurement teams collaborate directly with suppliers via a supplier portal and select those best suited for product requirements. The inbuilt cost optimiser tool is designed to help you maximise your cost savings for recipes according to fixed and variable parameters.

4. Compliance with Regulations and Standards

It’s inevitable that compliance and regulatory standards for products change over time—do you have any action plans for compliance responsiveness?

A good PLM solution will come with a built-in compliance module which helps you ensure your products adhere to regulatory standards and internal guidelines before you take them to market. The software may also help you avoid hefty fines and product recalls while minimising shipping and manufacturing costs.

5. Topnotch Quality Control and Assurance

Deploying a PLM solution can help you standardise the quality and consistency of your new products. For example, you can create product sampling strategies to detect deficient, inaccurate and low-quality product in the early stages of development, helping you save time and costs by preventing late-stage changes in recipes and ingredients. Thereby, a PLM system can help facilitate standardised manufacturing procedures that promote better product consistency.

PLM software with a dedicated quality module provides the necessary data to trace and address customer complaints, feedback and non-conformities. You’re able to analyse raw materials and product samples and gather information such as batch numbers, shipping and delivery dates and more.

6. Enhanced Collaboration and Communication

When integrating all NPD data across departments, system-wide commenting features within the best PLM software deliver enhanced interdepartmental communication. With a centralised platform, your teams are empowered to communicate, collaborate and share information to keep everyone on track.

7. Accelerated Innovation and Scalability

PLM has the flexibility to accommodate multiple new product development programs while efficiently scaling recipes and production processes. Moreover, it may help you expand numerous product lines and variants, facilitating ingredient replacement and cohesion among products—like flavors, recipes, levels and more—in a single NPD platform.

Must-Haves Features to Consider When Choosing PLM Software

With many formulation software providers in the market today, you must thoroughly evaluate the ideal PLM software solutions for your business requirements. For food and beverage businesses, here are some key features we encourage you to prioritise when selecting a product formulation software solution to further shorten time to market.

  • Integrations with important databases - As mentioned earlier when discussing enhanced ingredient management, look for a solution that has built-in integration with key databases such as the USDA National Nutrient database and CIQUAL. This can help your employees pull ingredient information from those sources for greater accuracy in labeling.

  • Adherence to product briefs and regulations - The best formulation solutions adhere to product briefs and aforementioned regulations as well as align with brand and consumer expectations. If new ingredients not included in the original brief are added to an end-product, the platform immediately alerts users and updates allergen lists and ingredient statements. PLM also facilitates compliance checks and reacts to any regulatory changes that may occur—serving as the "single source of truth" within your product development, gives you full visibility of product history and recent compliance status.

  • Optimised workflow management - PLM software should have an NPD workflow management tool to help you manage every stage of the process from planning to market launch. Moreover, it should monitor workloads and quickly identify any disruptions and development milestones across teams.

  • Digital documentation management - Look for software with integrated electronic document management to track iteration and changes on all NPD documents. Each ingredient and formulation specifications, as well as nutritional facts, are stored in a fully digital system for easy access.

  • Advanced formulation functionalities - A PLM system can help you automatically generate a list of ingredients, costs, nutritional value and allergen list based on your formulations. It can check your products' compliance based on regulatory library criteria. The solution allows users to pull directly from integrated databases and use past products as "templates.”

  • Built-in supplier portal - The aforementioned supplier portal gives external partners access to a platform to collaborate with your team. They can share ingredients, packaging and other component data to allow you to negotiate for reasonable pricing. You can also track supplier KPIs to ensure they deliver on time and meet all goals.

  • International labeling capability - Labeling your products is required before launching them for public consumption to provide ingredient lists, allergen warnings, relevant consumer information and disclaimers. Quickly create nutritional fact tables and ingredient lists with built-in features, automatically generating labels adhering to various regional formats, with multi-language support.

PLM Software for Your Food and Beverage Product Formulation

Implementing an integrated digital ecosystem will be a cornerstone for the profitability and sustainability of your food and beverage business as the industry continues to develop at pace. As part of that food software landscape, a PLM system streamlines product development from initial ideation to post-production, quality control and traceability.

With an industry-specific PLM in your corner, you can optimise your product formulation processes, ensure compliance with labeling requirements, fortify supply chain resilience and manage allergen-related considerations. Leveraging PLM software built for the food and beverage industry helps you unlock the full potential of your new and reformulated products in the ever-changing consumer market.

Discover more about the benefits of PLM software or read about our PLM for food and beverage businesses today.

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