One of the most common topics of concern in the food industry is the risk of infection caused by pathogens. That’s why the safety and quality of the processed raw products are the top priority for businesses. Strict regulations for food production make the industry pretty challenging.

The COVID-19 outbreak again emphasized the risks associated with the consumption of contaminated products, especially meat. This, in turn, led to even more customers’ concerns and shifts in demand.

Nevertheless, these are not the only challenges food production companies may face. Let’s discuss the most threatening ones and consider feasible solutions.

Compliance and regulations issues

Due to COVID-19 consequences, there has been unprecedented pressure on food processors. The intensified measures involve greater sanitization, cleaning, increased control and transparency within the supply chain cycle to avoid contamination. Therefore, food producers have to stay informed about coming regulations and make sure their current operations comply with the guidelines.

The emergence of robust ERP systems allowed businesses in the food industry to ensure the quality of the products. For instance, 1Ci ERP Solutions can automate monitoring of raw food processing and packaging as well as management of temperature conditions in storage. Additionally, you’ll be able to collect detailed storage documentation and create specified reports for regulatory bodies.

Supply chain disruptions and market shifts

The food production industry is especially sensitive in terms of demand shifts. Insufficient demand can have devastating consequences. Due to the short shelf-life of such products as dairy, meat and fish, oversupplies can lead to significant financial losses, as all products turn into garbage in a matter of days, while the risk of contamination increases at high speed.

There are several causes of demand instability in 2021. On the one hand, as a result of pandemic restrictions, there are now more people buying food at grocery stores and less – in places of public catering, like restaurants. On the other hand, as people are generally more concerned about a healthy lifestyle and coronavirus threat, their preferences might shift – for example, they tend to eat less meat and fish.

To meet the demand on time, avoid oversupply and prevent spoilage, food producers may successfully exploit ERP systems designed for the food industry. A proper ERP system allows businesses to enhance traceability of the date and condition of products and raw materials: whether they’re fresh, frozen, or close to the expiry date.

Poor communication and obsolete operations

Supply chain management is meaningless without effective communication. This is directly linked to the presence of up-to-date digital tools in business operations. Lack of collaboration, manual reports and guesswork impede growth and maximization of profitability. Taking into account the short lifespan of certain products, these practices are unacceptable.

Therefore, companies in the food industry have to aim to provide their business with a fully connected supply chain.

With the ERP system, all important stages within the supply chain will be connected, thus providing better communication between parties. Automated integration of multiple business functions will streamline data processing and minimize manual data entry errors.

Lack and absenteeism of labor

It’s important to mention that there has always been a lack of talented labor in the food industry. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak only exacerbated the issue. The industry is one of the most suffering ones as the number of employees tested positive is incredibly high.

Besides, the situation generally influences the mental health of the rest, creates additional anxiety and makes them afraid of going to work. Consequently, the declining number of employees pauses necessary operations and jeopardizes business.

Digital solutions for the optimization of business processes can address this trouble as well. With automation of some critical processes in facilities, you can give remote access to the system to some employees, so they’ll be able to work from home. But keep in mind that they’ll need proper training to exploit the software in the right manner.

Bottom line

End-to-end transparency in the processes gives full control of production, provides high service, keeps inventory levels as low as possible and helps deliver fresh products at the right time, at the right places.  

This level of efficiency is much easier to achieve with the integration of the ERP system into your business operations.