Why We’re Thankful for Manufacturing Technology This Thanksgiving

  • Modern Manufacturing

When you sit down this Thanksgiving to enjoy a feast with your loved ones, there will be many food options available to those who come together to break bread.

Grandma’s pumpkin pie might be the best pie you’ve ever eaten. Uncle Carl’s green bean casserole is, well, edible. My specialty is pecan pie!

This smorgasbord always shows up right on time, every year, without fail. It’s rolled out to the family to be dug into after an afternoon spent watching football and national parades.

Most of us take this food for granted. We don’t give the logistics behind getting the food from farm to table a second thought.

But those of us in manufacturing who work in the food and beverage industry know how much planning and work goes into ensuring food gets to where it needs to be on time for the holidays.

Chocolate producers, for instance, start planning their cacao procurement at least one year ahead to ensure the chocolate arrives in stores fresh for candy-heavy holidays. The producer, using supply chain planning software, applies statistical models to trends to project their needs, plus anticipated sales, further out than their sales team can forecast.

There is a lot of data that needs to be crunched and materials to be tracked, but it is made easier with the right technology. We should be thankful we have tools at our disposal that will help to ensure the food gets to where it needs to go, on time, unspoiled, and ready for dinner at the height of its freshness.

Sales & Operations Planning

Gone are the days of guessing how many turkeys to buy, only to sell the excess inventory at a deep discount on Black Friday. Manufacturers are better able to accurately predict future needs by digitizing sales & operations planning.

With supply chain planning, data-driven insights allow you to move with certainty and speed, providing rich visualizations of the data that brings everything into focus. This means staying ahead of the unexpected and making the right decisions every time. That’s why as your company grows, you should also make sure your technology is both comprehensive and prepared to scale with you so you can create and eventually take advantage of rich historical data that improves your forecasting accuracy the more you use it.

Lot Management

With Lot Management, suppliers control inventory based on “lots” —groups of inventory containers considered effectively identical for all end use purposes.

This means you can ensure lot-specific information—like Best By, Use By, and Sell By dates—is grouped together based on this specific information whether you combine or split lots for different products. Lot management is required to capture and report traceability as lots of ingredients move from supplier through production and on to customers.

Shipping and Receiving

With effective shipping and receiving in an inventory management system, you can streamline processes and make everything run more smoothly. Automatic invoicing, customer shipping, and customer returns, are handled with ease, ensuring that once-common disruptions are a thing of the past.

Inventory Management

It’s important to have oversight into every detail of your inventory. This allows you to maintain strict control of your lots, improve cycle times, and facilitate material handling so the right materials get to the right work centers at the right times.

Inventory management, baked into your system of record, gives you oversight into where your inventory is at all times, in real-time. It gives you mistake-proof, precise tracking of raw materials, to ensure ingredients are kept fresh and ready to go. It’s also highly customizable, so you can capture the data you want to capture and make it work for you.

While Thanksgiving tends to be a busy time for food and beverage manufacturers, a digital approach can mean that those of us who are working over the holidays can enjoy the fruits of our labor with a little more confidence.

Download this free white paper to discover how food and beverage manufacturers are gaining more visibility and control while driving down costs with cloud-based ERP.

About the Author

Stu Johnson, Director of Product Marketing, Plex Systems

Stu Johnson has more than 25 years of experience in the manufacturing industry since beginning his career as a mechanical design engineer. He moved into the enterprise software space working in various roles providing solutions for global manufacturers in the consumer, aerospace, automotive, and heavy equipment industries. Currently, Stu serves as Director of Product Marketing for Plex Systems and focuses on the future of manufacturing software working with the Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA), Smart Manufacturing Workgroup exploring topics like the Industrial Internet of Things and Industry 4.0.

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