October 1, 2016      3 min read
No matter the industry, whether large or small scale, it is essential for a food manufacturer to have an inventory software that drives efficiency. Food and beverage makers are familiar with the idea of low margins. Most industries are so competitive in today’s marketplace that high mark-ups aren’t feasible. This means that even small improvements in efficiency can be game-changers for individual manufacturers. The best inventory management systems utilise modern software to track inventory at every step. It allows the user to record data, place orders, and also provides analysis and gives alerts without a manager having to lift a finger. Below are some features of this software that can facilitate efficiency for a food manufacturer.

Inventory visibility and tracking

A primary feature of inventory management software is the ability for users to view inventory in real-time. Item lookup can be by name, number, description or type codes. Visibility is important for all businesses, but especially so for those dealing with the risk of food expiry. Manufacturers must be concerned first with ingredients expiring before they are used in manufacturing, and then again with finished products becoming dated before they reach the customer. Being able to track inventory at all times allows managers to recognise particular items requiring immediate attention, and then over time to recognise pressure points in the supply chain where bottlenecks or other disruptions can occur. Other benefits of having constant visibility over inventory are efficient tracing of products and easy detection of theft.

Growth

Another vital feature that modern software can offer is the ability to grow with your business. New starters in the food industry often choose to focus on producing a limited number of items, but this typically isn’t the case for long. When the business expands, managers ideally want their inventory management systems to adapt seamlessly, but some systems cannot keep up. Systems built on the need to store data in separate spreadsheets or that require manual updates by staff do not tend to scale well as businesses get large. Inventory management software on the other hand can handle large increases in size without becoming significantly more complex or costly. However, a tailor-made software solution might be needed for the large “industry giants”.

Smooth integration of updates and improvements.

In many food industries, staying at the top requires frequent re-thinking of business systems and processes to ensure efficiency. This frequent change is positive from a competitive perspective, but in inventory management, the goal is for as little disruption as possible. If things have to slow or shut down, even for a short time, this begins to erode any advantage of the new change. Some inventory software systems may be better than others in this regard, so taking time to find what is best for your business is important.

Reporting and forecasting via inventory software

When margins are so tight, being able to collect and review data from your business is critical. Inventory management software provides managers with a range of reporting and analysis tools so they can be on top of the numbers. The software allows unit or concept sales, purchases, profit and loss to be viewed in real-time. Past sales data can be processed in user-defined formulae to create a basis for planning, and managers can forecast for a range of days, weeks or months.

Data access

Another advantage of using modern software is the convenient access of data. Cloud storage means data can be accessed anywhere and anytime by someone with an internet connection. This allows users within your operation to stay in-sync and keep up-to-date with any changes. Promotions or menu changes can be accommodated quickly. Products can be moved between storage locations and onto retail outlets seamlessly with everyone being kept in the loop.

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