My chair gave out a mild creak of wooden legs against the magnificent, marble-tiled floor as I leant back and stared at the opulent gold chandelier above me, speechless at what I had just experienced. It was my first time in Paris, and for all I knew, my last. Throwing caution and budgets to the wind, we’d decided to spoil ourselves and dine at one of the Eternal City’s most illustrious restaurants. We chose Epicure for its proximity to our hotel in the 8th Arrondissement, and the fact that it was a short distance from the Champs Elysee, along which we planned a late-night stroll after our meal.
From the moment we walked in and surveyed the opulent surroundings, I knew we were in for a treat. The impeccably dressed and manicured staff ushered us to our seats and brought us menus that promised something truly special. Epicure delivered on that promise with a procession of dishes that were breath-taking in their exquisite flavours, textures and visuals. The delicate Langoustines in Lemon-Thyme Sauce tantalised. The Duck Challandaise mesmerised. The heirloom tomatoes with vanilla-lime zest and ginger left us in raptures. It was getting on in the evening due to our late arrival in Paris, and we were the last ones left in the restaurant. We caught the waiter’s eyes and asked for the dessert menu, almost delirious with anticipation at what delights awaited. Our hearts dropped when the waiter regretfully informed us that the kitchen had closed and we would have to forgo the dessert course. Words can barely convey our disappointment at having come all that way at such expense only to be denied the crowning glory of what had otherwise been the most indescribably magnificent meal of our lives.
If your ERP system is a meal, then your Business Intelligence (BI) component is undoubtedly the dessert. Each module in your system performs a critical function to keep your business running efficiently and in unison. With each department’s activities integrated into the overarching framework, your company has the power to collate, manage and analyse a potentially enormous volume of data.
The question is: what are you doing with that data? That’s where BI comes in. Keeping operations running smoothly and accumulating critical information is vitally important. However, it is the decisions that you implement based on that data that will truly drive your business forward. An ERP without BI functionality is very much like that incredible meal without the dessert. It can do an outstanding job but is missing that finishing touch to make it truly exceptional.
Food for Thought
The Food and Beverage Industry is one of the most complex and challenging areas in which to operate. Managing the labyrinth of requirements can be a monumental task. Just some of the areas that need to be accounted for include:
- A supply chain that may incorporate numerous source countries, including transactions in multiple currencies, varying import duties, etc
- Complicated inventory management for products with a myriad of storage and transport conditions, shelf lives and other factors
- Aggressive logistics timelines to ensure the end-product arrives in the best, freshest condition
- Cost, margin and profitability calculations that must take into account all these factors in addition to the vagaries of sometimes volatile ingredient prices and exchange rates
- Diverse geographical and demographical sales landscape for both domestic and export markets
- A maze of government legislation, health and safety, quality analysis and other guidelines that must be incorporated into every aspect of your business processes
Making a Meal of It
These and myriad other factors can have a critical impact on the performance and profitability of your FaB business. For an industry in which margins can frequently be paper thin, you need to eke out every ounce of efficiency from your business to achieve sustained success. Timely, accurate and intuitive Business Intelligence is the key to getting the utmost from the data that your ERP generates and translating it into powerful decision-making tools. Including the right BI solution into your ERP suite is without question a critical ingredient that will ensure you get the most out of your business systems. Dare I say; it is the icing on the cake?
At Endeavour Solutions, we have over three decades’ experience helping clients in the Food and Beverage industry to navigate the complexities and potholes of a challenging field. To find out how we can put the cherry on top of your business systems, give us a call to arrange a time to speak with one of our consultants.