One of the vital industries of our world is Food and Beverage and often it is taken for granted. The end customer goes to the supermarket or other food store and shop for items expected to be there with no consideration for how they got there.
The supply chain for fast moving consumer goods is complex and relies on getting the product to where it needs to be as quickly as possible to maximise shelf life time. But is there a way this process can be more efficient? The answer lies in the need for Business Intelligence for Food and Beverage suppliers.
Price changes, short supply of competitor products, over supply, external environment factors (such as pandemics) and more will affect the demand for your goods.
For supplying to this demand, it is necessary to have some analysis of the trends to keep up, if you are a new player or have a new product starting to gain favour you can easily run out of stock to supply. If you are a regular supplier, you need to know if demand changes and react accordingly. If your product is going out of favour with shoppers for something new you need to react either in marketing the product or reducing the purchases. And the scenarios go on and on.
The obvious answer is that you supply chain manager will notice this from the daily reports and make sure that the supply is sufficient, not overstocked and enough product is on the way. This is a complicated process, there is often more than one buyer, they need to get someone to approve purchases, and your supply chain manager might leave or get promoted. Having systems in place to understand what is going on is vital and this where business intelligence will make a difference to your supply chain’s efficiency.
With a capable business intelligence system you can easily see when products are trending up and down, receive alerts to notify you when these are happening, you can investigate the changes – is it a supermarket chain or a district or something else where the changes are happening. The beauty of a good business intelligence system is that is not only helps you see changes, but it provides insight that empowers the knowledgeable purchaser or planner to investigate more thoroughly.
We all know a banana can’t sit on the shelf for too long, it’s a little green when it goes out and just turning yellow when some people buy them and on sale as they start going blacker. But that is not the only factor when considering the seasons. Pricing comes into play depending on demand versus the availability. Early season strawberries might fetch a very high price or out of season courgettes can be very expensive.
Availability and pricing are just two of the factors supply chain managers consider when considering the supply of seasonal items such as fruit and vegetables. Having the right information to hand daily is vital in managing the cycles of different products and to complicate it even further there is a lot of overlap during the seasons. Business intelligence systems, like Qlik Sense can be even more important in helping to understand this season’s peculiarities and making sure you maximise the potential of each product line.
Consumers all want the product with the longest shelf life whether it is a meat pack, a carton of yoghurt or even a spice packet. The shortest shelf life items get the most attention but something with a longer shelf life can bring on complacency or lack of attention. When your pallet of baked beans is stored next the other pallets how do you manage the first in first out requirement. You can rely on your warehouse employees to keep an eye on it, you might have the best storeman in the state and she will make sure the systems in the warehouse are performing optimally. But relying solely on individuals can be risky and a robust system to aid employees in their daily tasks will be worth it in the end.
Business intelligence systems can help you manage shelf life of products, analysis of stock nearing expiry thresholds, analysis of goods leaving the warehouse in the most efficient time to expiry, and forecast of overstocking with current demand and potential disposal. Standard reporting falls short and business intelligence systems add the extra benefit of creating insight on top of good management.
There are many factors to consider when managing products in the Food and Beverage industry. In a world of FMCG the F is the operative word, fast and food are often linked together and if you are not ready for the challenges of fast-moving goods the problems come around just as fast. Having BI systems to analyse, to alert and to create insight should be one of the standard tools of a successful Food and Beverage operator.
AIMED AT SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGERS
WHO USES THE BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE IN FOOD & BEVERAGE – WHO MAKES THE DECISIONS