Technology solutions constantly shift as supply chains grow increasingly complex. Food manufacturers and distributors have faced several new challenges in recent years, and few other industries experienced more change than the bakery sector. The latest spike in consumer demand for baked goods means that a cursory idea of where your products are going and where they’ve been is no longer sufficient.
Companies that succeed in modern food and beverage manufacturing depend on granular data at every production stage, from the harvest fields to retailer shelves. Yet withal, achieving well-automated food traceability is no easy feat. Every industrial food production facility should develop a strategic plan that helps it adapt to a rapidly shifting marketplace. This method prepares to respond quickly after implementing a long-term, holistic approach for increasing operational traceability and visibility.
A comprehensive and forward-looking plan for implementing automated food traceability solutions is vital. Food manufacturing companies can’t expect to compete without boosting operational transparency and visibility. Why is addressing traceability in your food manufacturing business so important right now?
Let’s take a closer look at why baked food manufacturers are focusing on improving operational traceability and visibility now more than in recent years.
Increased demand for transparency and traceability
Consumers themselves have driven the recent surge in demand for better traceability in food manufacturing. Business owners have duly taken notice since it is ultimately the customer who decides whether or not a brand succeeds over the long haul. Studies show that more than 90% of customers are loyal to companies that provide high levels of product traceability and visibility.
The lingering impacts of the health crisis, the prevalence of mindful shoppers, recent outbreaks of E. coli, and growing concerns about food supply quality have driven public demand for transparent product information. Regulatory agencies also place an ever-changing set of demands on food and beverage businesses, yet another source of pressure to adopt higher standards for food traceability.
The Global Food Safety Initiative in 2000 led to the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011. Since then, the food and beverage production industry has experienced significant changes. The US Food and Drug Administration is ushering in a new era for smart food safety with multiple updated standards for keeping food products safe for consumption.
Food manufacturers should expect newly updated sections of the FSMA to include provisions for establishing stricter traceability standards and procedures. Regulatory bodies are actively searching for ways to update existing standards for sourcing and tracing food products and make the accurate capture of critical tracking points and other core data elements mandatory.
As new mandates and higher regulatory expectations rise, food and beverage producers should prepare to pivot quickly and adapt by forming new plans to modernize their warehouse management systems. But upgrading isn’t only about engaging the latest technology. In the near future, most food manufacturing facilities will have to implement several new industrial automation solutions to stay compatible with their trusted supply chain partners.
Improved food safety
Through the 2004 Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, the FDA identified several of the most dangerous food allergens found in common items like peanuts, soy, shellfish, and wheat. Producers and distributors of fresh goods like leafy greens, sprouts, and dozens of other vegetables have also displayed a recent and noteworthy uptick in poor food safety preparedness, elevating their respective contamination risk profiles.
Proper food labeling has played a clear role in preventing food-borne illnesses. You cannot overstate the importance of knowing where potentially dangerous food allergens are present in your supply chain at all times. Inventory management software and information control solutions from EzSoft identify which of your food products contain allergens and where these products our in the distribution chain. Effective warehouse management solutions let you capture all the information you need, including live-time product location data, which production lines the item ran on, and more.
Smart solutions like barcode and QR scanning integrated into a purpose-built enterprise resource planning system are becoming an industry norm. ERP software pushes your traceability efforts in several key areas. A well-designed ERP system provides precise and customizable workflows for critical events like recalls and other unexpected downtime scenarios.
News that you must recall a product is usually the last thing you want to hear. Developing strong traceability practices before a catastrophic supply chain event ever takes place is, therefore, paramount. Despite making your supply chain problems more manageable, a well-implemented ERP solution prevents contamination issues from occurring in the first place. Automating your information controls ensures complete and accurate data while reducing mitigation times.
The team at EzSoft possesses decades of invaluable experience helping food production companies like yours integrate scalable and affordable process control systems and ERP solutions. We help you leverage the latest software and technology to improve your supply change management and product traceability. Recent changes to the food manufacturing sector mean you can’t rely on clipboards and your memory to keep track of your valuable goods anymore.
For more information about developing a scalable, holistic strategy for automating your food manufacturing plant, complete our online contact form now or dial EzSoft today at (484) 568-5040.