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A smart approach to four challenges in the fresh food industry

  • Koen Peters
    Koen Peters

The fresh food industry has to contend with some unique challenges that make the work of producers and distributors increasingly difficult. However, by continuously innovating and digitising processes, they can master them.

Speed is one of the most significant obstacles the industry faces. After all, fresh fish spoils faster than laundry detergent. That is why the processes in this industry must be as efficient as possible, from order to delivery. In addition, three other trends in this fast-paced world put this industry under even more pressure.

1. Now more than ever before, the customer is king

Customers are increasingly in control: they want to order products on-demand, to be delivered to their home when it suits them. The many thousands of Coolblue and Zalando parcels that are delivered every day only prove this trend. However, retailers have also followed suit: everyone, from supermarkets to local greengrocers, they all make their demands. They want to place orders in a way that is convenient for them, at any time of the day, expect fast deliveries and invoices tailored to their organisation.

The Flexso way
At Crelem, an industrial bakery, we connected the existing SAP environment to a web portal where customers can place their orders 24/7 in a straightforward and user-friendly manner. The portal lists a product range and promotions that are relevant to the customer. Orders are sent to the SAP system for production and logistic processing, and delivered to the customer the next day. 

Want to know which other processes we tackled at Crelem Bakeries? Read the full story. 

2. Complex labelling requirements

To protect consumers and ensure food safety, food labelling must meet a wide range of conditions. The European labelling regulations are extremely complex. For some products, such as fruit, the ingredients do not have to be listed, but others require detailed lists of all ingredients, including allergens. Getting all this information on a label and ensuring it is correct can be quite a challenge. Moreover, the variety of fresh foods is huge. Just think of the many regional and seasonal products.

The Flexso way
Flexso customised the SAP Materials Management module for Crelem Bakeries to dynamically gather all the information for fresh produce and print it efficiently. Instead of generating a new ingredient declaration and technical specifications for each new product, all the data are now entered once-only in one place. The platform is used to combine all the data into labels, that fully comply with the law.

Find out how Crelem Bakeries digitised its operations. 

3. Increasing transport challenges and empty lorries

Delays in delivery cost the producers a great deal of money in terms of fuel and staff. In addition, they have to contend with unexpected service charges and reputational damage. Moreover, the more lorries are stuck in traffic, the more vehicles are used to get products to their destination. A vicious circle that is difficult to break.

The Flexso way
Smart transport systems that are connected to SAP offer producers and distributors the insights they need to automate and innovate transport processes. The SAP Cloud Platform helps them to achieve this by facilitating track-and-trace solutions and innovative IoT tools.

Find out how we tackle business challenges in the transport industry at ODTH logistics. 

4. Matching supply and demand

One of the significant challenges in the fresh food industry is forecasting daily fresh production. Moreover, because production takes place during the day and has to be ordered later, overproduction or underproduction is always a risk. Organisations can use the SAP Integrated Business Planning to digitise and connect all the aspects of their supply chain so they can seamlessly match their supply and demand. The result? Producers always know which product lines must be given priority, can quickly draw up planning schedules, and can adapt their activities to the fluctuating market.

The Flexso way
SAP IBP Sales & Operations is the ideal place to start matching supply with demand. Organisations can use this module to evaluate the different supply and demand situations at all product levels and throughout the entire supply chain. They can calculate exact quantities as well as the ratio between costs and profits for every situation. Find out more about this module. 

Flexso combines years of experience in the food industry with extensive knowledge of SAP solutions. Do you have a collaborative platform in mind and do you need reliable technical support for this? Contact us. 

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