The global food & beverage manufacturing industry is worth billions of dollars. It is fast-paced, and incredibly consumer-driven. A highly-regulated industry, food & beverage manufacturing involves complicated manufacturing processes. Besides, it grapples with a number of challenges as well.
The operating costs are massive, while the margins are razor thin, and risks are high for the food manufacturers. Then there are other challenges on the planning & scheduling, food safety, Quality Control, production, packaging, labelling, traceability, and regulatory compliance fronts.
The pressures around these challenges form a complex operating environment for the food and beverage manufacturing industry as a whole. And these concerns drive the food manufacturers to strive for achieving operational excellence.
According to a study report published by the Aberdeen Group, the top pressures to achieve operational excellence in the food and beverage manufacturing industry include:
- The need to reduce costs – 68%
- Need to comply with government regulatory requirements – 54%
- Need to ensure product quality and customer satisfaction – 47%
- The need to maximize productivity – 38%
But what exactly is operational excellence?
Operational excellence can be defined as an approach towards executing all the manufacturing processes and their related operations in a flawless manner. The organizations that are operationally more excellent are able to achieve better operational results, and create greater value for their consumers and shareholders.
In food and beverage manufacturing setting, operational excellence can be understood as an approach that ensures that the product moves from process A to process B and so on, meeting all the food safety and quality criteria, seamlessly- right from order entry, through manufacturing to delivery and distribution.
In an operationally excellent food and beverage manufacturing organization, the product manager at the shop floor, and a top management executive sitting in the office, can have visibility into the different operations, and can effectively fix any clogs in the processes. By achieving operational excellence, companies can boost productivity, and operational efficiency.
How can it be achieved in food and beverage manufacturing?
Operational excellence is an evolving, and a continuous journey. Thus, it is important for the food manufacturers to understand it thoroughly, make it a business philosophy, and inculcate it into its day-to-day operations and activities. Some steps that the food and beverage manufacturers can take in this regard include:
Automate manufacturing data collection & improve its flow across the organization: One thing that differentiates the operationally excellent organizations from the ordinary ones is their capability to automate the collection of manufacturing data, and improve its flow across the organization to increase visibility and optimize performance.
Build compliance, traceability, and safety mandates into the processes: Food and beverage manufacturing businesses have unique, industry-specific compliance, traceability, as well as safety mandates. One way of achieving operational excellence for them is to build such mandates into their production processes, so that they are adhered to at every step.
Minimize asset downtime by the use of real-time data: Companies aim to possess tools and capabilities which allow them utilize their data in such manner that it gives useful insights into future adverse events, downtime, and even upcoming preventative maintenance and repairs, so that the asset downtime is minimized, and production halts are avoided.
Achieve preparedness for non-conformances: The food manufacturers look at having non-conformance and preventative action capabilities so as to establish role-based visibility and automated workflows to deal with the cases related to quality, non-compliance, or product recall.
Digitize manufacturing processes: In order to achieve operational excellence, manufacturers must look at digitizing manufacturing processes. This lays a robust foundation for process control and automation, and eliminates paper-based & manual processes to provide the manufacturers with a unified picture so as to make accurate and timely business decisions.
Gain supply chain visibility: The food and beverage manufacturers find it imperative to gain complete visibility into the supply chain. This helps them satisfy their customers, who, these days, have become extremely demanding and require complete info on the items they are consuming, as to how they are prepared, where the raw materials are procured from, etc.
Achieve sustainable planning: The food and beverage manufacturers must look to restructure their operations on a micro and macro level so that latest demand requirements of the food and beverage manufacturing industry get covered.
Optimize inventory management: Food and beverage manufacturers need to manage their most important resource, i.e., inventory. Inventory management gains tremendous significance in food manufacturing, given the perishable nature of inventory, and the fact that it can affect food safety.
Track costs and keep them low: Food manufacturers need to track the operational costs involved in the manufacturing process from start to finish, and keep them low, so as to figure out the price needed to ensure profitability.
Enhance customer satisfaction: Food manufacturers must aim at enhancing the customer satisfaction. This can be done by improving the communication channels so as to get the consumer feedback, and by integration of countless food varieties to satisfy the contemporary consumer’s demands.
How does an ERP help with achieving operational excellence?
Well, a food ERP software covers all the points mentioned above, and subsequently, helps achieve operational excellence. It makes it possible through its dedicated set of modules which cater to the most-specific of the needs of food and beverage manufacturers. Take a look at those modules below:
- Inventory management
- Quality Control
- Costing analysis
- Regulatory compliance
- Lot traceability
- Production management
- Master Production Scheduling (MPS)/Material Requirement Planning (MRP)
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Supply chain management
These modules of an ERP help food manufacturers address the challenges they face, and remain afloat in an increasingly competitive industry. Using an ERP for food and beverages industry, the manufacturers can essentially gain complete visibility into operations through real-time data, and meet the demands of their supply chain.
Complex regulatory as well as customer requirements, food safety and quality, and business operation in multiple countries and currencies etc., don’t remain issues at all, as modern food ERP software provide advanced functionality that help manufacturers tackle these challenges head on.
Moreover, with its strong traceability functionality, a good ERP software allows the food manufacturers to handle recalls, and allergen & expiration management with elan, and also eases sustainable production as well as labeling concerns, without increasing overhead.
Additionally, a food ERP system, through its business intelligence tools, also helps draw past data to offer accurate forecasts, so as to avoid wasted stock or lost sales from understocking.
BatchMaster ERP for food – your recipe for success
One ERP that perfectly fits the bill is BatchMaster ERP for food industry. With its rich history of catering to the food manufacturing and processing industry, and supporting their unique requirements, it helps set a strong foundation for your business through which it can achieve operational excellence.
Since the food and beverages manufacturing industry can be broken down into different micro-verticals such as dairy, meat & poultry, fresh produce, beer, edible oil, packaged food, seafood, bakery etc., the manufacturers representing these micro-verticals must opt for industry-specific ERP systems that are better suited to their business.
Here too BatchMaster scores big, having transformed food businesses through its range of industry-specific as well as micro-verticalized software for over 30 years now. It understands & meets their exact business requirements through the specific capabilities offered by its different tailored ERP offerings.
For more information on its different food & beverages industry-specific software, or to understand how its software solutions help your food manufacturing business address its challenges and achieve operational excellence, connect at firstname.lastname@example.org for consultation or to schedule a free demo.