In 2018, consumers in the food and beverage market are more conscientious and demanding than ever. Environmental certification, local produce and waste reduction are all major themes in food and beverage marketers’ toolkits. Of course, to market your products as a ‘green’ option, your business has to make its environmental impact a key consideration across the entire supply chain. Procurement and inventory management is no exception.
Does My Business Really Have a Waste Problem?
If you’re a small or medium sized food and beverage producer, chances are that your product is already more environmentally sustainable than most. Major issues, like the issue of palm oil, tend to rear their head a lot more in large scale food manufacturing where cost reduction is the main factor driving procurement and supply chain choices. So what’s the big deal? Why focus on ‘greening up’ your business’ inventory management?
In truth, many businesses have ample room for improvement. As much as 50% of all food that is produced never actually enters a human mouth. Even small businesses have a role to play in reducing waste and increasing efficiency.
Improving Inventory Forecasting
One of the most straightforward ways that food manufacturers can leverage food manufacturing software to reduce environmental harm is by improving the quality of inventory forecasting. Many manufacturers hold more raw ingredients in inventory than they really need, with a lot of this inventory regularly spoiling and going to waste. By using food manufacturing software to analyse historical inventory data, food manufacturers can more accurately predict customer demand and scale production to suit.
Lean Production for Food Manufacturing Firms
Some businesses knowingly hold excess inventory as a hedge against stock outs. The thinking is generally that it’s better to risk wasting low value raw materials than miss out on a sudden stream of high value sales. Although this approach would have been prudent a decade ago, the ability of inventory management software to support lean procurement and manufacturing methods means that holding a large buffer of safety stock is now generally an uneconomic, not to mention environmentally harmful, waste.
Smart Inventory Tracking
Over the last decade, small businesses have gained access to the same smart inventory management tools that their larger competitors use. Today’s food manufacturing software can use barcodes or RFID tags to track batches, keep an eye on expiry dates, avoid overstocking and prevent cross contamination.
Responsive Product Recalls
When something does go wrong, users of food manufacturing software can reduce the risk to human health and the environment by leveraging inventory data to support a quick and responsive product recall. This means using traceability data and batch tracking to understand the source of an environmental or health issue and to quickly identify affected products.