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A Full Recap of Aptean Accelerate 2022
A Full Recap of Aptean Accelerate 2022
17 Oct 2022John McCurdy
Last month, Aptean welcomed clients, prospects and industry decision-makers to the Jaguar Experience Centre in Birmingham, UK, for Aptean Accelerate, a dedicated forum for sharing the latest food and beverage industry insights and innovations to future-proof performance. This was an exciting return to in-person events featuring a packed agenda of engaging sessions.
The day offered an exclusive preview of IDC’s 2022 Global Food & Beverage Industry Trends Report commissioned by Aptean, as well as presentations from experts in food and beverage technology like enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions and manufacturing execution systems (MES). Current Aptean clients also shared their stories and experiences with our purpose-built systems.
If you missed this exciting opportunity to learn and network, don’t fret—we have a comprehensive recap of the proceedings here for your reading pleasure. Let’s dive in and explore the topics discussed, insights shared and compelling thought leadership provided by both Aptean team members as well as external voices from across the food and beverage business world.
Welcome: Solving Tomorrow’s Challenges Today
The morning’s first session was a workshop for our clients, where they had the opportunity to spend valuable quality time with their Aptean team to discover more about their product, as well as future developments, and put any questions to those who know their product inside out. One of the workshop sessions was presented by Aptean’s Kieren Roebuck, Bruno Johansson, Dennis Leijdekkers and Lewis Mollon, and focused on how Aptean is committed to solving tomorrow’s challenges today with industry-specific software.
With supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, raw material scarcity and other factors complicating everyday operations, food and beverage businesses are incentivized to accelerate their digital transformations and leverage technology to its fullest extent.
The presentation covered the regional availability of Aptean’s various offerings, as well as the integrated “hub and spoke” model of our complete solutions ecosystem. Also covered was the timeline of strategic acquisitions made by Aptean, which has allowed us to incorporate and adapt the specialized features of other systems to make our own next-generation ERP.
Speaking of, the elements upon which that concept are based were outlined next, including the modular, app-based and cloud-first format that will power continuous improvement and holistic modernization for our clients. Aptean Food & Beverage ERP also has the additional advantage of being built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central platform, which gives it a stable foundation and user-friendly interface.
Then, the presenters covered our roadmap for the future of our food and beverage ERP, with attention to the powerful apps that are available today—including Trade Management, Mobile Warehouse, Quality Control and License Plating, to name a few—as well as some sector-specific tools that will be launched soon. Finally, they closed with the different paths that clients and prospects can take to move their systems to the cloud, such as the “lift and shift” approach to a software as a service (SaaS) model.
Customer Story: Agrovision
Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, with farming operations in Peru, Mexico, Morocco and the Northwest U.S., Agrovision are a fast-growing and vertically integrated producer of “superfruits,” including blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, grapes and avocados. They market their products across the globe and are continuously expanding their capacity and volume.
Approximately 18 months ago, they chose Aptean Food & Beverage ERP for a future-proofed, cloud-based solution with produce-specific features. They knew we were a strategic partner they could rely upon, as we understand their vision for “hypergrowth,” and as of July 2022 they had already achieved pallet-level traceability at all facilities thanks to the implementation of our system.
Customer Story: Lincolnshire Field Products
One of the top three producers of brassica vegetables in the United Kingdom, Lincolnshire Field Products have been an Aptean client since 2006. They operate cold storage and packing facilities in Wykeham and supply several of the UK’s major retailers and food processors while also packing all of their own vegetables and imported products.
They’re currently focused on accelerating their digital transformation, expanding data visibility and reporting across the business and exploring how supplementary solutions like enterprise asset management (EAM) can drive deeper operational efficiencies.
Richard Spurr, Lincolnshire Field Product’s head of IT and the session presenter, explained how important it is to create a strong technological foundation: “ERP investment is imperative to drive our business forward.”
IDC Food and Beverage Industry Trends 2022 Preview
Next up was Lorenzo Veronesi’s preview of the IDC 2022 Global Food & Beverage Industry Trends Report, a much-anticipated look at the results of the annual global survey targeted towards directors, executives and IT professionals in the food and beverage space. This year, one of the key objectives was to better understand how cloud ERP systems are helping businesses overcome the growing complexity of the industry.
Veronesi began by highlighting the fact that changes in consumer demands and preferences ranked as the trend to have the biggest impact on the food and beverage landscape over the next five years. Also relevant given the event’s regional focus was the markedly higher ranking of Brexit trade barriers on that same list by UK- and Ireland-based respondents.
Meanwhile, sustainability, supply chain visibility and the combined topics of food safety and traceability ranked as the top three areas of focus for risk mitigation. In particular, the emphasis on sustainability is based on the factors of customer demands, compliance with regulations and achieving a competitive advantage.
Among the barriers to digital transformation that food and beverage companies are concerned about, a lack of skills and the ongoing labor shortage both ranked highly, as did the struggle to collaborate with supply chain partners and maintain full visibility and flexibility. Businesses are also trying to get products to market faster, but they sometimes don’t have the insights into today’s tastes to facilitate that process.
The role of digital transformation was the next topic Veronesi covered, and he highlighted how this all-important initiative has driven improvement across a host of key performance indicators (KPIs) for respondents. Notably, cloud-based networks and ecosystems ranked as the technology that will have the greatest impact on participating organizations over the next 5 years.
Fittingly, most respondents indicated that they planned to either maintain or increase their current level of spending on enterprise software, with nearly 40% of UK and Ireland participants stating that their spending will increase up to 25%. Some closing polls for the audience confirmed that skills and labor shortages are top-of-mind in terms of problematic gaps to be addressed, and also showed that many attendees wished their company had invested more in big data, analytics and cloud in the past.
Getting Ready for the Next-Gen ERP
Aptean’s Bruno Johansson and Joris Kolff took the stage after the lunch break to discuss Aptean’s vision for the next-generation food and beverage ERP. They led by covering some of today’s market trends, including the accelerated shift to online sales channels, rising raw materials prices, labor shortages, supply chain disruptions and the pressure to become more sustainable.
They also highlighted how the food and beverage landscape is evolving as digital transformation and the increased adoption of SaaS and cloud models—as well as a focus on food safety and rising popularity of contract manufacturing—impact the industry. With so much change taking place, we’ve gathered that clients are actively looking for ways to simplify communications, streamline business processes and utilize intuitive, purpose-built solutions.
From there, the two presenters explored how Aptean Food & Beverage ERP helps our clients meet these trends and overcome the challenges of today, including constrained supply chains, raw material sourcing difficulties, the pronounced emphasis on sustainability, inflation and the rising costs of packaging and distribution. Overall, the system is designed to give stakeholders greater visibility and control over mission-critical processes.
Features like advanced production planning and scheduling allow our customers to stay ahead of spikes in demand and maximize profit margins. Our bidirectional traceability tools also assist businesses that want to transparently demonstrate their commitment to sustainable sourcing while also mitigating risks of food safety emergencies.
Finally, they showed how Aptean Food & Beverage ERP is a cut above other comparable platforms thanks to our industry-specific technologies built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central platform and complete supplementary solutions suite. As a partner and provider, we have a global footprint and firm understanding of the intricacies of the food and beverage marketplace.
“The market is going toward a best-of-suite, vertical product provider by one vendor with the ability to go ‘beyond ERP,’” Johansson said.
Panel Discussion on Hot Industry Topics
For the last session of the day, Aptean representatives from across a variety of roles gathered together for a discussion of the hottest industry trends. Our panelists were Kieren Roebuck, senior regional account manager; Joris Kolff, senior regional account director; Bruno Johansson, vice president of product and technology; and James Rogers, solutions consultant.
The group began by confirming many of the findings of the IDC report, including the top pressures that prospects and clients in the food and beverage industry are facing. Economic instability, inflation, rising costs, labor shortages and unlocking the potential power of data are all among company leaders’ concerns, and solutions that help them overcome these challenges are therefore all the more valuable.
“Cost pressures are everywhere,” said Roebuck. “A lot of conversations now are around de-risking business, and as a result of de-risking your business you get the benefit of cost reductions through improvements in processes.”
Next, the panelists looked at the strategies and technologies that food and beverage businesses are turning to in this complex and ever-changing environment. Above all, the importance of data-driven decision-making was stressed, which again points back to the need for an organization-wide “single source of truth” that an ERP can provide. An advanced system like our own Aptean Food & Beverage ERP can unlock actionable insights that drive better results.
“Companies are really struggling with how to get insight into their business and get to a point where they are making data-driven decisions,” said Kolff. “You can see the difference between Aptean customers who are in control, who have the data and are happy to make the right decisions, and those companies that don’t have the details to really see the whole picture of their data and understand where to tweak and tune.”
Sustainability was the final topic discussed, with the speakers pointing out how purpose-built software helps by eliminating the needs for paper records, unlocking greater efficiency in key processes and flagging sources of excess waste. Additionally, logistics software like Aptean Routing & Scheduling can help reduce fuel consumption with optimized routes, saving money and reducing your company’s carbon footprint.
“Software helps to make processes more efficient and allows us to do more with less,” said Johansson. “And if we can do more with less, then our footprint on the environment is smaller.”
Aptean: More than Just a Software Provider
Aptean Accelerate closed after a successful day full of impactful presentations and conversations. The material covered was simultaneously entertaining, educational and thought-provoking, making the perfect blend for compelling content. Attendees left energized and motivated to use their greater understanding of the market to realize improvement.
The event was yet another example of how Aptean offers more than just software solutions—we’re also trusted for our thought leadership and topical coverage of trends. Our teams have decades of collective experience in our target industries, including food and beverage, and an in-depth understanding of the best practices that maximize our clients’ chances of achieving their goals.
If you’d like to learn more about Aptean Food & Beverage ERP or any of our other best-in-class business software solutions, don’t hesitate to contact us today. You can also request a personalized demo to see the system of your choice in action.
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