Icicle Warehouse Management Software Expertise Featured in MRO Food & Beverage Engineering and Maintenance Magazine
The recent issue of Food & Beverage Engineering and Maintenance Magazine featured an article highlighting warehouse management software expertise from Icicle creator and CEO Steven Burton, titled “The Advantages of a Data-Driven Culture for Food Production.”
It appeared alongside an article from our allies at the Canadian Food Innovation Network on the advantages of automation for the food industry. Their top executive Dana McCauley helpfully explains,
While the shift to automation has been slower in the food industry than in other industries, the use of automation, robotics, and data analytics has the potential to transform Canada’s food and beverage industry. By investing in technology, the industry could become more agile, traceable, and transparent, while growing capacity and ensuring our food supply chain remains strong, safe, sustainable, and competitive in the world market.
Dana McCauley, Chief Experience Officer of CFIN
While McCauley focuses mainly on the robotics-side of automation, Burton’s piece instead focuses on building a data-driven culture for food production generally and warehouse management specifically – which yields unnumbered benefits in the vein that McCauley suggests. As a thin margins industry, the food and beverage sector needs to take advantage of all the tools available to protect profitability.
Warehouse Management Software Automation Success Requires Quality Data
Data-driven organizations show a clear edge across industries. A 2022 report showed that data-driven organizations show a 30% increase in annual growth in addition to being profitable and acquiring as well as retaining new customers. Access to usable data helps these companies make quick and confident decisions based on real-time information.
While data is important for every business, for the food industry it poses a solution to major challenges faced by every food processor and manufacturer. With a centralized, digital repository of data pulled from all aspects of operations, the quality of your data can lay the foundation for analytics insights as well as food safety, quality, and traceability compliance.
Burton lists the key features of quality data that are prerequisites for true automation advantages with warehouse management software:
- Accuracy – reflects reality of production in real-time to ensure compliance and visibility
- Standardization – systematically collected in a consistent format
- Uniqueness – organized granularly for traceability precision
- Completeness – covers all important metrics at the right intervals
- Validity – meets all requirements for documentation standards
- Visibility – easily transformed into actionable insights for business and auditing purposes
Opportunities for Food and Beverage Manufacturers
Icicle’s powerful automation tools focus on two main targets: collaboration and efficiency. Collaboration is opened up merely by the consolidation and digitization of data in accessible ways. Efficicies, however, require further action. They also add up, especially for high volume manufacturing operations. Burton tells the story of one Icicle community user who found that a mere six second reduction on each order picked from their large warehouse yielded over $100,000 in savings over a single year. In another example, complete production run records helped an Icicle client identify a packaging error that could have cost the company over $1.4M per year if it hadn’t been caught and corrected in time with warehouse management software.
The article concludes with a reflection on the present and future for the food and beverage sector – opportunities that are expanding at an exponential rate:
As a service provider to the food industry for over a decade, I have seen growing companies expand their distribution and export markets simply by freeing up the capacity to manage additional compliance requirements. Companies now required by law to implement highly data-driven traceability systems are leveraging that same information to reduce waste and improve efficiencies. Manufacturers and distributors are automating production and logistics processes to enhance quality – of data as well as of products – with IoT sensors and other forms of automated monitoring technology. Crucially, even small startups are using data-driven systems to design their operations for scalability and adaptability for tomorrow’s challenges, entering the market with the intelligence and awareness more often characteristic of large corporations with decades of experience and expertise behind them. These startups are taking advantage of precise planning and costing capabilities that used to be unaffordable even a decade ago.
Steven Burton, Founder & CEO of Icicle Technologies
The article was based on an Icicle presentation delivered at MRO Magazine’s Max Uptime virtual event in May 2022: “Data-driven Warehouse Operations – Evidence-based Insights for Amplified Productivity and Profit.” In this session, we discussed the advantages that automation offers to food manufacturers such as driving efficiency, growing team capacity and capability, as well as improve profitability by connecting all departments with an integrated warehouse management software solution tailored for the food industry.
You can access the webinar on-demand by registering below: