Although baking is often viewed as a simple business, it relies on the scientific principles of chemistry to produce delicious bread, muffins, pastries, cakes and other baked goods. It is especially true in the commercial manufacturing settings focused on this sector.
As commercial businesses, bakeries must consider various concerns that differ from other food service establishments. These include the management of supply chains, profitability and brand reputation, customer satisfaction and safety.
Let’s look at the bakery industry’s challenges and how purpose-built technology can help overcome them. To illustrate the point, let’s focus on four baking challenges and how ERP software and products lifecycle management (PLM) solutions drive digital transformation throughout a bakery chain.
1. Shelf-Life Management Challenge
When customers bite into a loaf of bread and find it stale, it can devastate your bakery’s reputation; this industry is very competitive. You must ensure that only the freshest and most delicious items leave your facilities and end up in clients’ hands and supermarket shelves.
Of course, this can be easier said than done. If your recipes call for perishable food material and your goods are only viable for so long once they’ve been properly baked and packaged, keeping track of expiration dates can be cumbersome. Using a simple spreadsheet or recording everything by hand is impractical when you’re busy trying to keep up with orders on the factory floor.
Managing Your Expiration Dates
Expiration date tracking and management are critical features of bakery-specific ERP systems. A fully digital system is needed to manage the sheer volume of data and functionalities that enforce a first-expiry, first-out (FEFO) picking order for ingredients and finished products.
The Acumatica Expiration Management module makes it easy to set expiration windows and receive alerts when items are approaching expiration dates. It helps you maintain customer satisfaction while reducing waste from spoiled food products.
2. Minimize Allergens
Food safety and allergen labelling are top priorities for today’s shoppers. Suppose you’re in an industry that produces or sells food. In that case, you may need to comply with allergen-labelling requirements to maintain a safe shopping environment for customers who suffer from allergies or sensitivities to certain foods.
When baking goods such as bread, cookies and cakes, allergy control should be a significant concern for your business, industry-specific software can help you overcome this challenge by providing allergen reporting and allergen-specific recipes.
Ingredient Segregation and Proper Labeling
Keeping ingredients with allergens in a separate area is essential to ensure food safety. The same goes for products manufactured in a space where cross-contamination is possible; they should be labelled accordingly.
With the Product Specifications module of Acumatica Food & Beverage ERP, you can easily manage your ingredients and capture allergen information. You’ll also have access to traceability so that we can quickly track any food contaminations to their source and identify affected items.
3. Supply Chain Disruptions
Bakery companies across the spectrum of sub-industries are shouldering the challenge of keeping up with the demand for fresh products in a splintered, sprawling supply chain. At the same time, food and beverage companies of all types have had to get used to the unexpected when managing their complex supply chains.
Though some disruptions will happen no matter what you do, you can minimize the impact on your business by proactively planning for supply chain disruptions.
Enhanced Planning and Distribution (EPD)
To help you maintain the right balance between supply and demand, we have developed the Production Planning module for Acumatica Food and Beverage ERP. This module allows you to identify which items need to be produced by seeing sales orders and current inventory side by side. Intuitive filtering lets you easily see which items require production activities, and alerts can be deployed if the balance is upset.
Production Scenarios offers you the flexibility to create different plans executed according to the situations at hand and lets you set which will be the primary and which will serve as backups. Our Vendor Item Catalogue modules make re-ordering easy, and our faster order entry functionalities save your valuable time and resources so you can reallocate them elsewhere.
4. In response to changing consumer preferences,
A key trend in the bakery vertical is the proliferation of new product varieties. Low-carb, gluten-free, fortified and indulgent offerings are popping up constantly, while personalized items are becoming more popular. To stay relevant as a brand and capture your share of the audience that these items appeal to, you need to iterate on ideas and launch new offerings quickly.
Though that’s only a given for some companies, especially those focusing on efficiency and the bottom line in delicate economic circumstances. Those bakeries that rely on their most popular bars and don’t try to keep up with changing tastes could hamper their future profitability more than they know.
New Product Development Made Easier
Product lifecycle management (PLM) software is a solution to get new baked goods out the door and into the marketplace. These systems are the “single source of truth” that all the teams involved in new product development—from research and quality control to marketing—need to have for a streamlined and successful process.
Acumatica helps you to launch new products quickly by linking all the ingredients, reducing data silos, making company collaboration seamless and generating packaging information that can save you time. The interface is so user-friendly that using Acumatica is intuitive; recipe and formula tools will help you get your product right on the first try.
Tayana Solutions provides end-to-end eCommerce software consulting, helping companies create and manage vendor portals, integrate with WooCommerce and other eCommerce platforms, and map their business processes. The company’s expertise extends to process manufacturing – a term used to describe businesses that produce goods according to a series of steps – and it has Gold Certified VAR and ISV status with Acumatica.
Sangeetha brings 20 years of experience in Information Technology which includes Solution architecting, building micro services, research, and evaluation of business applications, integrating apps.