Today, food and beverage companies operate in a very different environment to that of a few years ago. Massive changes over the years, as a result of increasing consumer demands and changing trends, have made planning around product life more difficult than ever before, writes Mark Wilson of SYSPRO. And with increased regulations around quality and traceability, innovation is now critical for survival.
Let’s take the listeriosis outbreak in South Africa where contaminated processed meats led to, not only fatalities, but the irrefutable damage of a company’s brand and reputation – something which is hard to bounce back from. Regaining consumer confidence is a mammoth task. Endless campaigns may not salvage a brand once it has been tarnished.
The outbreak highlighted the need for better quality products, enhanced traceability and stricter adherence to regulations. It’s also a clear example of how having preventative measures in place is easier than having to recall products and do damage control. Long-term, it’s more cost-effective too.
Ezra Taft Benson summed it up perfectly: “It is better to prepare and prevent than it is to repair and repent.” Fortunately, the demand for innovation couldn’t come at a better time. With advancements in technology, a company can keep tabs on the entire process, ultimately avoiding recalls and public prosecution all together.
Reduce product recalls
Product recalls having risen significantly over the past decade. Increased regulations and harsher penalties, growing consumer awareness, and the uptake of social media are just some of the contributing factors.
A report by Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality revealed that the food and beverage industry is the second most impacted sector in terms of product recalls. It accounts for 16% of analysed losses, with the average cost of a major recall claim nearing $9.5 million.
But using technology, a company can reduce the likelihood of product recalls, as every step of the process is monitored. And if errors do occur, the business is better equipped to pin-point exactly what went wrong and where.
Ensuring quality of raw materials, such as ingredients, processing aids, and packaging, is essential in the manufacture of any finished food product. The ability to monitor and track all these components allows a company to meet its specifications and, at the same time, regulatory requirements.
This process is not as simple as it used to be. Increased access to complex materials, global sourcing, handling methods, customer locations, plus regulations, requires an expert team. But with the help of technology, a company can overcome such hurdles.
Improve time to market
Constant innovation is a key factor if businesses want to remain competitive. On-going research and development into new and improved products are integral to the industry. And shorter product life cycles mean the speed with which companies deliver these innovations to the market is crucial if they want to stay ahead of the game and remain profitable.
To meet the stringent requirements of the Food Safety Modernisation Act and the Safe Quality Food Standards, companies can harness technology to identify and trace every ingredient consumed in the manufacturing process, from receipt through processing, packaging, and shipping to customer location.
Whether it be used for compliance or as an analysis tool for continuous improvement strategy, traceability is vital capability for companies in the industry.
Technology as an enabler
By implementing a suitable Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, you can minimise risks in the production process, while maximising profitability through shorter lead times and operation efficiency.
For example, SYSPRO ERP for Food and Beverage better equips a company to handle the complexities of the industry, where the challenges of regulatory compliance, food safety issues and the demand for fast turnaround times are all important.
With this software, a company can provide full bi-directional traceability from source to consumption, produce detailed audit trails of all transactions, and implement successful recalls. It means, companies can quickly trace and analyse the source of defects, if they occur. Plus, they can meet strict compliance requirements with comprehensive record-keeping.
The Work in Progress function provides quality inspection points, allowing the collection of physical product data to facilitate statistical process control, as well as the opportunity for sample material review in the event of a non-conformance.
Using technology, businesses can modernise their supply chains and maximise their profits. It’s time to say goodbye to unnecessary product recalls and hello to compliance, quality control, enhanced traceability, and the real win – unwavering consumer confidence.