The food and beverage industry has evolved in response to changing consumer demands, supply chain disruptions, and other issues. From coffees, teas, and alcoholic beverages to gluten-free, plant-based, and local foods, we’re seeing a rise in trends that business leaders can’t ignore.
Now more than ever, consumers expect more convenience products — a huge driver of innovation. For companies in the food and beverage industry, convenience means pivoting to such things as product offerings, sustainability, and local sources. Moreover, these companies must consider jumping on the digital transformation bandwagon and integrating new technology into their business processes — ERP for the food and beverage industry is a must. Here’s why.
Top Trends in ERP for Food and Beverage Industry
Sustainability tops the list of trends in the food and beverage industry. About 40% of decision-makers believe sustainability is the most important trend, while 88% of consumers stay loyal to environmentally friendly companies. What’s also essential is that plastic isn’t necessarily the worst type of packaging. Aluminum foil, styrofoam, cardboard, glass, and bubble wrap have consumed landfills, waterways, and public areas, taking up space and lasting forever with nowhere to go.
The good news is that many companies have taken steps to become sustainable businesses, an attractive attribute for consumers. In food and beverage production, these sustainable offerings can come in various forms: plant-based foods and beverages (e.g., oat milk), eco-friendly material sourcing (e.g., fair trade), and natural packaging (e.g., biodegradable cups).
An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) platform can help businesses achieve sustainability goals, including reducing waste and increasing efficiency.
2. ALTERNATIVE PACKAGING
Containers amount to over 23% of all materials in landfills, with food and beverage packaging comprising a sizable portion. Companies looking to reduce their environmental footprint are turning to alternatives, particularly experimental packaging designed for people on the go. This includes ready-to-drink (RTD) options, such as bottled cold brew coffee and boxed wine. There is a push for containers made with biodegradable, recyclable, and renewable materials.
Using ERP food and beverage, businesses can configure their system for specific types of packaging, ensuring a correct match between product and container.
3. NOVELTY DRINKS AND FUNCTIONAL FOODS
Consumers sought ways to stay entertained during the pandemic lockdowns and quarantines, including indulging in premium drinks such as spiced rums, hard coffees, bubble teas, and seasonal beverages. People have also become more concerned about their overall health in recent years. A reported 65% look for function in their foods, opting for more plant-based and organic foods free of harmful additives. Many foods and drinks are now made with locally sourced and immune-boosting ingredients (e.g., probiotics, CBD infusions).
ERP for food and beverage industry can handle new food and drink formulas right down to the necessary precision of measurements and adjustments. Integrated and automated processes also help manufacturers meet compliance requirements and ensure proper labeling.
4. SUPPLY CHAIN SHIFTS
The pandemic caused a significant supply chain crisis for food and beverage and other industries, with trade tensions, labor shortages, limited inventory, etc., forcing manufacturers to shift how they source raw materials. By sourcing supplies locally rather than internationally, businesses can control the materials used for their products.
Incorporating modern technology like ERP for the food and beverage industry also helps to increase flexibility, improve efficiency, and lower costs. With ERP food and beverage, companies can effectively manage their processes across multiple operations through manufacturing software while ensuring compliance.
5. DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER (DTC)
Online shopping rose along with the supply chain crisis. As a result, food and beverage manufacturers have been moving toward a more direct-to-consumer (DTC) approach to meet consumer demand. Since approximately one-third of Americans see no difference between making purchases online and in stores, companies must be ready to adapt.
ERP is crucial to keep up with the ever-changing demands in the food and beverage industry. New technological innovations make it easier to manage all matters of an eCommerce business, including manufacturing, finance, operations, and other key functions.
Green Business Systems (GBS) offers NetSuite ERP solutions for manufacturers looking to streamline all business processes from CRM and data management to supply chains and procurement.
Choosing an ERP for Food and Beverage Industry
Many software systems are designed to improve business processes. However, not all are created equal. It’s critical to find a cloud-based ERP that’s specific to the food and beverage industry.
When choosing a new or upgraded ERP, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Business Functions – While industry focus is essential, an organization must also consider the needs of the entire business across all departments. Food and beverage companies often have issues related to supply chain management, consumer safety, product labeling, and financial forecasting.
Company Size – ERPs are typically based on the actual size of an organization. An ERP designed for small businesses will not meet the needs of a large business. Likewise, a small business selecting an ERP better suited for large corporations will spend money on more than it needs.
Automation Needs – Analyzing the entire company’s needs helps determine the right ERP system for automation. There is no one-size-fits-all, so decision-makers must choose wisely based on what functions they need to automate.
Platform Type – The days of on-site systems are gone. Nowadays, cloud-based ERP solutions allow businesses to integrate their operations without being responsible for maintenance, security, and upgrades.
ERP implementation is a vital step for any business, and the decision must be based on a company’s unique needs and available resources. When set up right, ERP for food and beverage industry can increase a business’s bottom line.
For companies that desire to move forward with NetSuite ERP implementation, GBS ensures that food and beverage software is done right the first time.
Get Started with a Cloud-Based ERP for Food and Beverage Industry
The pandemic, supply chain disruption, consumer demand, inflation, and other issues have wreaked havoc on businesses in the food and beverage industry. Economic uncertainty and rising inflation are major concerns expected to continue over the next several years, so the importance of modern technology can’t be expressed enough.
Despite the evolving industry, many businesses consider ERP as an option. However, the decision comes down to when a company should implement ERP, not if it should. Just look at the latest trends in food and beverage processing.
As a NetSuite partner, GBS helps streamline business processes for food and beverage industry companies. NetSuite for Food and Beverage is a customized ERP solution that can handle all unique issues in the industry. From ordering to delivery to payroll, a sound food processing ERP ensures prompt and reliable service. No third-party software is required. All business leaders must look to automated processes to stay competitive, keep up with consumer demand, and grow.
Contact us to learn more about our ERP food and beverage solutions!