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Overcoming 3 Big Challenges in Frozen Food Supply Chain Management with Purpose-Built Software

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Overcoming 3 Big Challenges in Frozen Food Supply Chain Management with Purpose-Built Software

Oct 13, 2022

John McCurdy
The frozen food aisle at a supermarket

The frozen food sector is hot. That might sound like a contradiction, but both industry experts and recent statistics indicate that there’s a lot of truth behind such a statement.

While popularity initially surged in the months following the onset of the pandemic, demand continues to increase as we move forward into this era of “new normal.” The latest figures put the global frozen food market at a valuation of $290 billion with a projection for compound annual growth rate of 6.34% through 2030, by which time it is expected to have ballooned to a staggering $504.4 billion.

There are several reasons why frozen foods are so loved around the world—they stay good for longer, offer great variety, can often be purchased in bulk cost-effectively and are increasingly tailored to the tastes and preferences of today. Above all, though, consumers turn to them for convenience, as they tend to be easy and straightforward to prepare while keeping mess to a minimum.

Of course, as a professional in the frozen food segment, you know that operating in this space isn’t so simple—there are a number of special considerations which your business must deal with as a result of the nature of your goods. One of the more complex areas of focus is supply chain management, as there are several factors to account for that simply aren’t as common in other product categories.

Here, we’ll run down three of the toughest challenges in frozen food supply chain management and how advanced business solutions—like Aptean Food & Beverage ERP and Aptean Routing & Scheduling Paragon Edition—help you solve them.

Challenge 1: Limited Capacity

With demand high and the sector predicted to remain on an upward trajectory, frozen food companies are dealing with the challenge of limited capacity. Of course, your organization may not be in the position to rent additional space or open another facility, especially not when your items require temperature-controlled storage space.

That means you must make the most of the capacity you have and operate as efficiently as possible to capitalize on the opportunities for revenue generation that such a torrid market offers. As it is in so many other aspects of life, proper preparation is key for overcoming the constraints you face.

Solution: Effective Production Planning and Scheduling

The best means by which to tackle the challenge of limited capacity is purpose-built technology. That’s why you should leverage a production planning module like that offered by Aptean Food & Beverage ERP—it gives your decision-makers the insights they need to balance supply and demand and deploys alerts if changes are made that will upset the current balance.

Also crucial is effective production scheduling, as you must keep operations moving along and minimize slack time. Our module dedicated to this purpose allows you to schedule orders either manually or automatically based on the product’s attributes so you can optimize allocation of resources and ensure timely delivery to customers.

Challenge 2: Complex Logistics

Closely linked to your capacity, but distinct enough that it presents its own challenges, is the area of logistics. In the world of frozen foods, you must keep track of both your raw ingredients as well as the lots of finished goods you have on-hand, and those may be split across a number of different lines that your brand produces, each having their own nuances.

In addition, you must be able to ensure adequate space in your storage and staging areas to accommodate all of the inbound materials and outbound orders that move in and out of your facilities each day. This is challenging for any individual to accomplish unless they’re provided the necessary tools by software designed to facilitate the process.

Solution: Lot Control and Automatic Space Calculations

Aptean Food & Beverage ERP offers both lot and sublot management modules to keep track of what you have, where it is and how it’s being used. Additionally, our product specification module captures all food-related information for ingredient declarations and other necessary documentation, while the option to add advanced comments to relay what can’t be captured using default parameters in the system helps to cover all the bases.

There’s also the powerful capability of our solution’s transport module to calculate floor space on an item or vendor/customer level to determine the amount of space needed versus what you have, which helps enable the effective combination of orders on a single truck or transport order. That way, your outbound sales can proceed smoothly to dispatch without encountering any bottlenecks.

Challenge 3: Food Safety Concerns

While it is certainly a challenge across the spectrum of food and beverage segments, food safety is especially complicated in the frozen food sector for two reasons. First, there’s the universally applicable consideration of expiration date tracking—you’d never want to subject customers to the risks of spoiled goods, and you’re also motivated to make full use of the materials you’ve purchased.

Second, there’s the unique concern in the frozen food market of keeping your products within certain temperature ranges to maintain their integrity and mitigate the risk of potentially dangerous bacterial growth should thawing begin to occur. While you can likely control the temperature of goods while they’re still in your facility, the matter is more difficult when items are in transit along the supply chain.

Solution: Expiration Tracking and Custom Transport Rules

Capturing and monitoring your products’ expiration dates and freshness windows should be handled via a fully digital interface and database to promote visibility and accessibility of critical information. Aptean Food & Beverage ERP has a dedicated expiration management module that lets you define timelines for both raw materials and finished goods and warns users in advance when expiry is approaching so that they can be used or shipped before their viability ends.

Meanwhile, Aptean Routing & Scheduling allows you to define custom rules for temperature-controlled goods, such as the timeframe for how long a frozen food can stay in a specific truck. The system then factors in that information when creating routes and creates a plan that allows for products to be delivered before their window closes, helping to prevent premature thawing and the health risks it can bring.

Choose Aptean for Superior Solutions

Now that you understand the optimal strategies for overcoming some of the major challenges in frozen food supply chain management and the vital role that software plays, you may be eager to take the next step to get an edge on the competition. You have plenty of options to consider for both ERPs as well as routing and scheduling systems, but there are several reasons that Aptean’s are superior.

Take, for instance, our dedicated professionals’ collective decades of experience in the food and beverage market. They’ve helped to accelerate the digital transformation of many food and beverage businesses around the world and are ready to share their extensive knowledge of best practices so that you get the most out of your chosen solution.

What’s more, Aptean Food & Beverage ERP is comprised of unique, industry-specific technology built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central platform, which lends the interface an approachable feel and intuitive user experience. We also offer flexible cloud-based deployments on a Software as a Service (SaaS) model that can minimize up-front costs while keeping your operations agile.

Finally, there’s the prestigious recognition that our food ERP recently received from the highly regarded consulting firm of Frost & Sullivan. They honored our software with their 2022 Product Leadership Award in North American ERP Software for the Food and Beverage Industry, a testament to the future-focused approach we take when tailoring our offerings to the needs of modern businesses.

So, ready to learn more about how Aptean Food & Beverage ERP and Aptean Routing & Scheduling can help your company overcome the challenges in frozen food supply chain management? Contact us today or request a personalized demo.

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