4 ways grocery retail operations can stay ahead of the pack

Aug 24, 2021
ERP services Retail Grocery

Vast improvements in nearly every facet of the retail grocery business have led some retailers to the belief that, as an industry, there isn’t much more they can do. This is dangerous thinking because, in fact, the grocery business is undergoing some of the most deep-seated changes since supermarkets first opened their doors 70 years ago. According to retail analysts, where a single store use to serve most of a consumer’s food and beverage needs, now buyers are shopping for groceries across more than a dozen different retail channels.

From a report in Packaged Facts: In the 1990s and the beginning years of this century, the greatest threat to supermarkets and grocery stores came from supersized one-stop shopping venues like supercenters and warehouse clubs. Today, the threat is spread out among all retail channels, including drugstores, dollar stores, limited assortment of chains and—the elephant in the room—e-commerce.”

Simply put, as a grocery retailer or manufacturer who wants to stay ahead of the pack, you need cutting-edge technology to support your business sustainability and growth goals.

Because your objectives likely include tighter cost control, better short- and long-term planning, and flexible inventory control, it’s critical to evaluate the ability of your current technology to support those objectives. A modern, leading enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform designed specifically for grocery retail can help you. Note the following four ways ERP can make a difference.

  1. Maximize profit with a streamlined grocery retail operation supply chain    
    Grocers can streamline the movement of goods through the supply chain by tightly monitoring their critical control points (CCPs). This reduces the number of delivery challenges and other problems caused by delays in data transfer, redundant data entry and lack of real-time visibility. This helps grocery retailers and manufacturers compete with drugstores, dollar stores and others more effectively. With a more streamlined supply chain, complete with more accurate inventory management, the right goods are always delivered at the right time and in the right quantities. Due to greater efficiencies, businesses can be more price-competitive as these savings are passed along to customers

  2. Reduce carrying costs and uncesscary spoilage
    Modern ERP plays a significant role in accurate inventory management and warehouse operations, helping organizations honor business contracts and manage shelf-life time limitations. Warehouse inventory control gives ERP users precise visibility into stock levels at multiple locations to reduce carrying costs and limit unnecessary spoilage

  3. Achieve enterprise-wide cost control
    The benefits of a cutting-edge ERP extend beyond the supply chain and the warehouse, integrating business processes across departments and streamlining intra-enterprise operations such as purchasing, production, sales, cost management, human resources and accounting. Eliminating redundant and manual processes, as well as increasing accuracy is perhaps the biggest advantage ERP systems provide, especially when it comes to enterprise-wide cost control and financial responsibility|

  4. Maintain Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) compliance
    It isn’t often when government compliance regulations and good business practices are compatible and well-suited to one another. However, in the case of the FSMA, aspects of this law do require that food and beverage (F&B) and consumer product enterprises meet government standards that actually help them run a more efficient and profitable business.

The pressure is on for all supermarkets, grocery stores, supercenters and other venues competing for customers in this $1.2 trillion market. Replacing old databases, archaic spreadsheets and homegrown financial systems may not be enough. Every serious player in the retail F&B sector should consider a modern ERP solution to help meet their compliance requirements by:

  • Providing information about supplier compliance with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations
  • Developing reports to warn suppliers of compliance issues
  • Identifying and disallowing importers that are out of compliance
  • Adjusting for price and cost changes associated with re-inspection fees
  • Storing and accessing certification and hazard analysis documents for FDA
  • Quickly identifying the origin and current location of received or produced products and related byproducts
  • Defining important data elements by category that can be used to trace products from farm, field, sea to fork
  • Supplying flexible product recall reports to give a view of inventory received, sold, produced and by stock location

The right ERP solution provides both an information technology backbone to support good business practices, and a system to meet FSMA requirements, allowing your enterprise a competitive edge in a dramatically shifting marketplace.

RSM contributors

  • Thad Neal