United States

Visibility, flexibility and mobility

Your strategic traceability formula for food safety

INSIGHT ARTICLE

When a food and beverage industry manufacturer or business invests in a traceability solution, much like an enterprise resource planning (ERP) investment, it is typically done so because it’s necessary. Maybe there was a new industry regulation or a customer is requiring its vendors and suppliers to comply with a new policy. When determining what solution is best and what the financial impact of implementation will be, it’s easy to look at the price tag for the software and professional services as a means of measuring cost. However, more executives are putting traceability on their list of priorities, not simply because it’s necessary, but because they are finding additional business benefits that support their efforts to control costs, improve the customer experience and create efficiencies.

The hidden costs for food companies, when it comes to traceability, are not found in some unexpected implementation expense. Rather, they are found in what it costs the organization to not have the improvements that traceability can deliver across the value chain. When evaluating current or proposed traceability solutions, it’s critical to consider the following factors.

Visibility is key

Operational transparency, or 360-degree visibility across your value chain, from the grower or rancher to the retailer, is critical for food and beverage manufacturers when it comes to traceability, but also in optimal business performance and cost containment. Traceability solutions that provide visibility, or integrate into a solution built into your ERP platform, can facilitate enhanced business performance and efficient business processes, whether you are doing trace reporting or forecasting inventory demands.

Flexibility to meet dynamic demands

Flexibility is another key component of a good traceability solution and is also something that benefits the business as a whole. You should not only consider the flexibility of the traceability solution itself, but whether or not your ERP platform, and any enterprise-level solutions the traceability tool will be integrated with, can also support changing needs over time.

Mobility and connecting with consumers

Consumers are becoming more interested in the source and safety of their food purchases. Today’s food manufacturers have the ability to capitalize on this interest like never before.

Traceability solutions that leverage the use of QR and barcodes that can be read by consumer smartphones and tablets is the current and future state of source and safety information. It no longer has to be confined to the back of the house, and it is becoming a powerful and cost-effective tool to build strong emotional connections with consumers, resulting in new and profitable revenue opportunities, right from the grocery story aisle. Leveraging this consumer connection to include value-add data like new recipes or coupons, proactive email safety alerts and recall notices, not only helps to increase profitability, but helps build consumer confidence and loyalty.

With the percent of sales influenced by smartphones expected to rise 19 percent by 2019 adding up to $689 billion in mobile-influenced sales, the opportunity cost for not leveraging traceability and mobility strategies to connect with consumers is too high to ignore.

Conclusion

View your traceability solution strategically, not just as something to meet necessary compliance demands, but also as part of an overall operational and marketing enhancement solution. Ensure that the solution you are investing in provides you with the visibility and flexibility you need to not only meet regulatory demands, but also to mitigate the hidden cost of inefficiencies and reap the rewards of improved business performance and better consumer connections.

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Contact

Cristin Singer 
National Food and Beverage Sector Leader

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212.372.1184