Country of origin GMO. Non-GMO Organic, transitional, and non-organic. Heavy metals. Allergens. The complexity of inventory management for customer-specific quality parameters is increasing every day. Food and beverage plants need to be able to manage all these attributes with the help of a single digital platform.

It is essential to control expiration dates and other quality attributes. This allows you to satisfy customer requirements, complying with regulations, protecting consumers (and your reputation), and operating profitably. Here's the catch: without the ability to collect and use actionable data, you won't be able to manage your inventory or make better decisions. It could cost your business revenue if you don't manage your inventory in the right way. Many food and beverage plants, including distributors and processors, are unable to connect their supply chains to manage inventory at the date-code and attribute-code levels.

Why can't food and drink manufacturers manage their inventory?

Multiple systems, legacy systems, and spreadsheets with outdated capabilities are all examples of obsolete systems. Many food businesses fail, and many try to do it manually. Don't. (Don't.) We have seen many companies make costly inventory mistakes when their inventory management systems don't allow them to manage both expiration and attribute. One distributor accidentally sent organic strawberries to customers who were paying for nonorganic. One distributor failed to fulfill a customer's urgent need for additional products. This was because the customer service team of the distributor didn't have enough information about when the next batch would arrive from the supplier. Supervisors can be alerted to possible mix-ups by using real-time inventory management software. Imagine an operator pulling the wrong item. Your people might prefer to find out this after the fact or while they still have time to rectify it. We'll take our word for it: the drinks packager who accidentally used the wrong flavor concentrate drum had to stop the line for 4.5 hours to get it out and put the right flavor in the tanks. An alert would have been appreciated. Substitutions can also be affected. Supervisors will not give operators an incorrect substitute if they have an automated list of substitutes. Your operators will be able to see the next-best substitute if they run out. A flavorings company saw its on-time delivery rates increase by 20% after it was able to manage substitutions according to date and attribute codes.

The use of non-integrated systems that don't support real-time information can lead to confusion, risk, and revenue loss.

How much control do you have over date-sensitive inventory? How much control do you want? Are you able to perform the following tasks with your inventory management system? ...

Use date codes and attributes to manage

Not selecting the "best" item? Alert operators

To avoid ingredients being out of date or being thrown away, recommend and prioritize the best substitutes

As you make substitutions, track what went into each batch

Connect attributes to customers and orders

To prevent stock overstocking, provide clear predictive models available on-demand

To avoid contamination, trace the usage of products and map where they are kept

Encourage your managers and operators to make smart business decisions

You need support options that allow you to get the right date-sensitive products at the right times to your customers. A date control is not a feature that's optional or a luxury. It's essential. Smart manufacturing platforms help you streamline your manufacturing process.

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It's time for your inventory management system to become smarter and keep up with industry requirements and demands.

Food and beverage are highly competitive. Do you want to open the door for a competitor or lose valuable retail placements? Don't let inefficiency leave you with no profit. You don't want to be in violation of regulations. Consider how customer service and profit margins could be improved if overhead was reduced and efficiency increased by automating and removing silos. Talk to an outside expert about your inventory management system. They can help you evaluate it and show you what is possible.