In a 2023 Manufacturing Survey by Food Processing Magazine, food and beverage industry professionals said they were either “very optimistic” (18%) or “somewhat optimistic” (42%) about going into 2023.The survey took place in late 2022 when supply chain troubles, skilled labor shortages, inflation concerns and more were ramping up.
Fast forward to today, and these same food and beverage industry professionals are still grappling with increased prices for ingredients, labor and supplies and higher costs for building additional warehouses and upgrading food manufacturing equipment. They have no choice but to navigate these challenges if they want to succeed, so how can food and beverage manufacturing companies keep production on track while also ensuring profitability?
The answer is maximizing productivity with modern food software. Today, we’ll address the reasons food manufacturers experience inefficiency in the first place and then explore how food software eliminates each reason—one by one.
Three Reasons for Food Manufacturing Inefficiency
“Inefficiency” by definition occurs when a task is taking longer and using more resources to complete than it should. Food manufacturing companies understand that inefficiency—or lack of productivity—is a profit buster. Nevertheless, inefficiency still happens and here are three reasons why:
1. Ineffective Changeovers
In the food industry, a changeover is the act of switching from one process to another. For example, a manufacturing company may start with production, change to sanitation and then return to production. Other changeover examples include swapping equipment within the production cycle, pausing for maintenance and switching to different allergens.
It’s a stop-and-start process that, if it isn’t managed well, results in a number of concerns. These concerns include (but are not limited to) expensive downtime, water and energy waste and material losses. In other words, inefficient processes result in a loss of productivity, which ultimately affects profitability.
2. Manual Processes for Quality Management
Food manufacturing companies must produce a quality product that’s safe to consume and adheres to strict industry regulations and rules. From tracing ingredients and managing allergens to monitoring shelf-life/expiration dates (and more), it’s not an easy task. Unfortunately, many companies have yet to invest in food business software as a way to automate these quality measures, which means they’re managing their quality processes manually.
Manual processes—by their very nature—are time consuming, labor intensive and inflexible. Even worse, they create errors that can affect the overall quality of a manufacturers’ product.
3. Lack of Visibility into Inventory and Ingredient Levels
Having a clear sightline into inventory and ingredient levels enables food manufacturing companies to know what they have on hand, what they need to order and when they need to order it. Conversely, a lack of visibility into these levels restricts food manufacturing companies’ ability to manage, order and maintain appropriate resource levels.
If you combine this lack of inventory visibility with the fact that worldwide, there are resource and ingredient shortages due to ongoing geopolitical conflicts, you get companies that are forced to make major adjustments. This pivoting may include using substitute ingredients, which leads to additional challenges, such as having to change specs (due to different ingredient consistency), alter recipes, adjust storage temperature, modify equipment parameters, shift quality measurements and more.
And these challenges may result in unexpected downtime food manufacturers can’t afford.
How Industry-Specific ERP Helps Maximize Manufacturing Productivity
Clearly, the inefficiencies we just covered create major productivity headaches, but this is where comprehensive, industry-specific ERP software—like FoodBusiness ERP—comes into play. With FoodBusiness ERP, food manufacturers can banish these headaches while maximizing manufacturing productivity and boosting their bottom line.
1. Optimized Production Scheduling and MRP
FoodBusiness ERP delivers production management, scheduling and Material Requirements Planning (MRP) features and can help:
- Simplify production sequencing so that allergen-free items are produced before products containing allergens.
- Coordinate the complex scheduling of machines and personnel.
- Manage work in progress to resolve production slowdowns and stoppages.
These powerful features help food manufacturers optimize their production scheduling and increase their visibility into production progress.
2. Advanced Quality Management
Automating quality management processes ensures every product meets detailed specifications and doesn’t hold up production. With FoodBusiness ERP’s quality and compliance functionalities, food manufacturers are able to:
- Support their specific compliance requirements.
- Assure conformance to specifications with integrated multi-user checklists and quality audits.
- Guarantee safety with full lot/serial traceability.
- Manage product recalls and comprehensive allergen tracking easily.
- Simplify the management and delegation of tasks with role-based testing and control.
- Streamline supplier management (e.g., account for multiple suppliers and make sure documentation is complete).
And FoodBusiness ERP’s latest version introduced Work in Progress (WIP) audits. These audits are designed to automate and collate WIP production testing done by different departments, with varying objectives—including equipment monitoring, environmental control or product characteristics—and at various frequencies. With this functionality, users get the insight, visibility and control they need to monitor WIP proactively before a batch is finished and may be unusable.
3. Enhanced Inventory Visibility and Management
Finally, FoodBusiness ERP’s Distribution and Inventory and Purchasing and Sales capabilities enhance food manufacturers’ visibility into their inventory and ease the burden of inventory management. For example, food manufacturing companies are able to easily source their ingredients from alternate suppliers (which many secured in response to the pandemic) and change production orders within one, easy-to-use solution. Instead of manually configuring their order, production and shipping needs, the food software does it automatically, increasing efficiency with just a click of a button.
Additionally, visibility into inventory—whether the inventory is located in one or multiple facilities—is possible with FoodBusiness ERP, thus improving accuracy and eliminating the inventory guessing game played by food manufacturers who are relying on disconnected systems and error-prone spreadsheets.
Heighten Productivity and Profitability with FoodBusiness ERP
FoodBusiness ERP—which is built in Sage X3 and implemented by NexTec food and beverage experts—delivers the industry-specific features and out-of-the-box functionality food manufacturers need to heighten their productivity and profitability.
Says FoodBusiness ERP customer Marta De Varona, VP Finance and Administration, ARA Food Corp, “With NexTec’s help, we’re continuing to expand our use of the software, adding additional capabilities, such as Production Scheduling, and discovering new efficiencies. NexTec does an amazing job for us. We have nothing but good things to say about their skills, professionalism, responsiveness and level of support.”Ready to maximize productivity in your food and beverage manufacturing facility? Contact our team of experts today with any questions or for a free consultation. We’d love to chat.