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Let technology run your business for you

Article provided by Syspro

“Technology could be the key SMEs in the food and beverage industry are looking for to unlock their true potential and unleash unmatched growth”, says Deirdre Fryer at SYSPRO.

The food and beverage (F&B) industry in Africa is growing. There is an abundance of great locally produced food products, despite the pinch of rising fuel and VAT costs. In South Africa, the growth is expected to reach $82 million this year, showing an annual growth rate of 10.5%. By 2023 the industry would have reached $122 million in market volume, according to Statistics SA.

SMEs in the F&B industry are well-placed to take full advantage of these growth predictions. But the question remains, how can SMEs in the industry flourish when faced with short product lifecycles, tight budgets, changing customer demands, and increased regulations?

Food safety has become a global concern, especially since reports of listeriosis, salmonella, anthrax, and E. coli have emerged. Food and beverage products must always be stored and transported at the correct temperature in controlled environments. Thus, effectively managing the business while minimizing operational costs is critical.

Advancing how you operate

This industry deals with strict regulations; meaning tighter control of operations and a far more rigorous data collection process is needed. Not to mention the presence of social media as a watchdog, means room to make mistakes and learn is non-existent. If your product is found to be contaminated, the consequences are far-reaching and costly. Consumers are very quick to take to social media to name and shame.

The standard of service you provide your customers with makes all the difference in building solid relationships and gaining a competitive edge. This requires keeping track of customer sales-related information and details of internal and external business relationships. To make better business decisions regarding customers, products and market activities, you need detailed information and data to carry out an analysis.

Technology can address this and positively transform small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the F&B industry. The right tools can further equip SMEs to not only survive but thrive. Through leveraging new technologies, they can positively impact a company’s bottom line, bringing several benefits to the table.

The world over has seen many advancements of technology, from doing business on a small device like a mobile phone to being able to shop in the comfort of your home anytime. There are countless technologies that can improve the food and beverage industry. If there is a need, it shall be made. It all depends on the entrepreneurs and how broadly they are thinking and looking to find technology to assist them with growth.

SMEs usually operate on a shoestring budget with limited human resources. Therefore, finding a solution that can help free them up to focus on other areas of their business that need attention, such as gaining deeper insights into operational processes and ways to be more efficient- becomes imperative. An enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution should be the answer to achieving this mission-critical purpose.

Create a meaningful impact through the right solution

SYSPRO has developed industry-built ERP solutions to help handle the complexities faced by SMEs in the industry, where challenges of regulatory compliance, food safety, quality perishables and the demand for faster turnaround times and reliable deliveries are all important.

ERP solutions can help retain consumer confidence and maximise profits by mitigating the risk of product recalls, whilst ensuring quality control, and end-to-end traceability. It will allow you to keep a history of your sales data and individual customer-related product activities, so you can easily identify buying patterns and preferences. And as a result, help improve your customer service levels.

One of the main ingredients for an ever-flourishing business is the ability to make the best decisions and that comes through forecasting. It is no longer an inexact science thanks to ERP solutions that use sales history to identify trends and seasonal components of demand. ERP can assist SMEs in calculating more accurate forecasts, leading to better planning, reducing waste, and improving customer service levels.

For SMEs in the F&B industry, deploying an ERP solution should not be a mere consideration but standard practice. Looking to compete with established companies for the same market share is a tough feat. But, it’s doable thanks to ERP solutions making a little go a long way.

ERP solutions enforce accuracy with automated production of labels, barcodes, and RFID tags. This brings a wealth of benefits, like improved agility, increased productivity, better quality management and compliance.

The future success of F&B SMEs is closely linked to the ERP solution they use. To get the most bang for your buck, invest in holistic ERP solutions rather than a one-size-fits-all.

Syspro is a proud Member of the NSBC.