Small and midsize food and beverage manufacturers are no stranger to narrow margins. At times, it can feel like an uphill battle to sustain profitability, especially when procurement costs suddenly skyrocket, or retailers are applying pressure to lower prices.
It’s true that many of these factors are out of a manufacturer’s control, but there are ways to manage their effects. By closely monitoring your sales and inventory numbers, you can minimize the impact of financial ups and downs. An ERP system with mobile capabilities enables manufacturers to gain critical business insights in real time and take necessary action immediately. Here’s how mobile ERP can help support healthy margins for your food and beverage manufacturing business.
On the Shop Floor
In a business where margins can be small, food spoilage can be a big threat to profitability. The best way to get ahead of it is to order just enough inventory, accounting for seasonal ebbs and flows, so that waste is kept to a minimum.
Barcodes have become a mainstream tool for identifying inventory, and Wi-Fi-enabled, handheld scanners are becoming more popular on the shop floor. A barcode-based inventory system becomes even more useful when paired with a mobile ERP solution. Automation solutions as part of a robust ERP provide a user-friendly interface that provides employees with only the most relevant data when scanning barcodes, facilitating accuracy, efficiency and improved productivity. By pairing modern technologies like handheld scanners and touch screens with an intuitive interface, employees can access the robust capabilities of their ERP solution in the warehouse and on the shop floor. Floor workers can also receive real-time status updates on material activities, including picking or shipping orders, goods receipt at the dock and floor replenishment. This ensures that rather than filling out paperwork, parsing printouts and inputting numbers into a database, manufacturers have the information they need to optimize inventory levels right at their fingertips.
On the Road
As inventory moves in and out, so, too, does an organization’s cashflow. In the midst of this, product is being sold and contracts are being signed. Remaining aware of these transactions is essential to ensuring the financial health of the company.
ERP solutions allow authorized users a controlled, up-to-date view of pertinent financial information from their mobile device. For example, executives can tailor their view to be a quick reference of key metrics like Cash Balance, Today’s Shipment and Order Backlogs. For a deeper dive, similar to Controller’s view, they can sync up with Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable and turn on notifications for late shipments, over-budget accounts and other scenarios that require immediate action.
In addition, food and beverage manufacturers can keep a close pulse on their sales pipeline by having salespeople enter Sales Orders, Leads, Opportunities and Contacts from the field. To support client relationships, alerts can then be set up notifying salespeople of an order shipping to a specified customer, a lead being assigned to them or a customer order being placed on credit hold.
In an industry of global competition, pricing pressures, quality concerns and changing regulations, the ability to adapt can make or break your bottom line. The only way to safeguard your margins is to have full visibility into your operations with your fingers on the levers, so you can respond as quickly as possible. Having a mobile ERP solution allows just that, so that anytime, anywhere, your organization is poised to seize the opportunity or surmount the hurdle, whatever it may be.