Technology: The Not-So-Secret Ingredient for Success
It’s no surprise that prices have a big impact on consumer purchasing choices along with nutrition, safety, transparency and more but, especially since prices in food stores have dropped in 2018, how can companies stay competitive? A report from RSM found that reducing operating costs is a key to success, with 22% of food and beverage industry leaders reporting a double-digit rise in operating profits for their companies. Their secret: technology.
The best examples of success in the food and beverage industry today come from a technological advantage that delivers the benefits below. Here is why gaining a technological edge should be considered a top priority to ensure your company’s future.
Secure Vigilance & Efficiency with Automation
We are only beginning to harness the power of automation technology. Creative responses to the diversity of operations in the food industry, like innovative software and robotic agriculture, are increasing efficiency at every level of production.
The key is that technology gives fewer people the ability to do more, faster than ever before, and from anywhere – from monitoring inventory to controlling hazards to assigning tasks to employees. One manager can oversee multiple facilities through cloud-based technology that is accessible via desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones on the go.
All phases of food production from seed to sale can benefit from the unsleeping eye of technology: less human error, better monitoring, data collection and analysis, and increased efficiency across the board. And when technology is doing the tedious parts of the job like filling out paperwork and tracking down problems, your employees can focus on the important parts of their job, fully realizing their creative potential while maximizing productivity.
Invest in Certainty to Reduce Overall Costs
A company that prioritizes automation also reaps the benefits of reliability in a place that counts. Just as burglar alarms lower the cost of insurance by mitigating risk exposure, other measures can do so as well. Robust risk management measures, like automated food safety programs, make a business lower risk for insurance companies, providing agencies with the incentive to offer coverage at favorable rates.
It’s not just insurance costs that can be reduced, but also the risk of catastrophe. A food producer’s worst nightmare is a recall. The average cost of a recall in 2016 totalled $10 million in direct costs alone, to say nothing of damage to brand reputation. While nothing can prevent 100% of recalls, technology can greatly reduce the risk by catching problems that are often overlooked: ingredients nearing expiration dates, vendor non-compliance, maintenance failures, potential allergen contaminations, and so on. Food production management technologies go a long way in preventing recalls, and built-in traceability technologies help to surgically recall only affected products – sometimes even before they make it to the shelves – minimizing costs in terms of both financial exposure and diminished goodwill.
Investing in preventative technologies in the food industry, where profit margins are often razor thin, is a matter of survival in the long run.
Simplify Multiple Levels of Your Operations
Automation doesn’t just yield increased efficiency, it also simplifies your day-to-day life. You can unclutter your daily task list through any number of automated operations. For example, instant notifications handle the transfer of crucial information without human intervention.
Simplification also occurs on a higher level. The increasing demands of regulatory authorities have created a nightmare for those who haven’t incorporated technological solutions for managing programs and audits. There is no longer any need for paper binders or Excel spreadsheets; any food company that plans to continue with manual systems should plan on hiring an entire team to track compliance. Fortunately, that isn’t necessary for companies who use technology to aid with regulatory compliance since maintaining the required standards becomes immensely easier.
The highest level of simplification occurs at the level of templates, and as such is almost exclusively relevant to those who use and value technological advantages in the industry. Operations can be simplified dramatically through the standardization of customizable templates for recipes, production, inspections, lab tests, etc. Templates created in a software system improves quality, efficiency, accuracy, and ultimately profit margins.
Focus on Strategy and Growth, Not Minutia
When your life is simplified, you have time to focus on what really matters. In order to achieve goals and maintain a healthy work environment, leadership needs to focus on developing business strategy, networking, and mentoring their employees. Business owners and managers are freed to do this when effective technology handles the minutia of day-to-day operations like production forecasting, tracking employee training, and collaborating across the board with peripheral demands like invoicing and customer relations.
Technology can take over many day-to-day tasks and give leadership the time to do what they love to do: imagine a bigger and better business and determine the best route to get there.
Get the Technological Advantage to Stay Competitive
The food industry is competitive and fast-changing. Customers demand greater transparency and accountability while, in the days of instant news and a smartphone-wielding world, there is little room for error. Having complete knowledge of each ingredient’s origins, the ability to track progress through production, and to immediately determine the ultimate destination gives you power – and the backup you need to pass audits and weather recalls.
The ready adoption of technology is the best way to stay competitive. To put it simply, if the biggest, most successful food companies are incorporating more and more technology every year, why would you miss the boat?
Request a free demo of Icicle’s food production management system today.