The food service industry is one of the most lucrative and fast-growing industries there is. Statista approximates that the global food service industry reached $3.5 trillion in 2020. And it is forecasted that it will hit the $4.2 trillion mark by 2027.
But that doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing in this industry. The food service industry is a unique landscape that’s fraught with challenges that can complicate the inventory management process of its lifeblood. Here’s a look at some of those challenges:
- Seasonal Demand: Accuracy is important in any industry when predicting consumer demand to ensure that you produce the right amount of products. It is even more important in the food service industry, given the short shelf-life of foodstuff. When you factor in the rapidly changing nature of consumer trends and the availability of seasonal products, this challenge becomes even greater. That said, It’s essential that manufacturers have real-time access to inventory levels so that decisions can be made faster and products ordered quickly—an enterprise resource planning software or a food inventory software can help food manufacturers towards this end.
- Evolving Consumer Tastes: Changing consumer tastes and preferences have rocked the food service industry in recent years. Consumers are not only seeking healthier and more affordable options, but they also expect convenience in terms of distribution. In this fast-paced industry driven by consumer preferences, having the financial flexibility and a predictive model that helps you pivot when consumer preferences change is key to remaining competitive.
- Limited Shelf Life: The limited shelf life of most products poses a significant challenge for companies in terms of inventory management. It is essential to keep track of all foodstuff’s shelf lives to optimize overhead and eliminate waste. You can achieve this by using an automated inventory management software—its capability to survey the shelf lives of all products and alert production when a given product is nearing its end-of-use date can help eliminate waste.
- Risk of Contamination: The food service industry can be strict compared to other industries due to high food safety requirements. Not adhering to these requirements can result in food contamination. Traceability of all foodstuff and ingredients ensures that all the damaging effects on consumers are eliminated for future batches. Batch, traceability, and serial number tracking are crucial in accomplishing this task as they enable complete transparency throughout the supply chain.
Add these challenges to the need to identify, forecast, and innovate, and you have a huge problem on your hands.
The Logistical Excellence in a More Flexible Food Service Industry
Food service industry logistics professionals are pressing into efficiency. Given that most market conditions are difficult to control, leaders are finding ways to work around these obstacles to find alternative solutions. Here are some of the solutions:
End-to-end supply chain management is essential for gaining visibility into your supply chain. The software tracking platform eliminates the need to cross-reference your products manually and allows you to confidently track and trace all your products throughout the production process. With this software, you can easily maintain the visibility of perishable products using features such as serial tracking and number tracking.
A software tracking platform can provide you with “early warning” signs that enable you to make adjustments. As such, they can positively impact planning and afford retailers, vendors, and others the time they need to adjust.
What’s more, since this software can make forecasts based on supply changes, they help ensure that retailers don’t run out of stock. With the insights they get from the tracking platform, they can approximate when they may need to replenish their supplies. They can also find out periods when various products are available at lower costs.
Preservation of Freshness and Shelf Life
Foodstuffs have high perishability and can get spoiled quickly. Maintaining up-to-date information and storing foodstuffs in temperature-optimized conditions, environments, and equipment can result in better results.
Preservation of food products entails several processes. You have to ensure that foodstuffs remain fresh during transportation and during their shelf life. This entails proper packaging and storing them in a conducive environment. Remember, food spoilage can not only be detrimental to your profits but can also endanger the lives of the consumers.
Physical Operation Optimization
Optimization of physical inventory management operations is essential in ensuring safe transportation of food products and maintaining their hygiene. There are different ways in which to optimize physical inventory management operations, including:
- In-House Traceability Through QR Codes and Inventory Setup: Traceability is a critical feature of food manufacturing software. It ensures that product quality and safety are met. Similarly, streamlining your inventory setup can also ensure that products remain safe, are of good quality, and can be easily located in the warehouse.
- Well Ordered Space: Given the high perishability of foodstuff, it is important that you ensure that you offer sufficient space to enable proper aeration. This can help keep them fresh.
- Use Container System to Store Foodstuff: Using a high-quality storage container is crucial to maintaining food hygiene. It helps ensure the food is fresh for a longer duration, minimizes the chances of molds, and prevents bacterial growth. RSC boxes are ideal for storing foodstuff in warehouses and during transportation. These boxes feature unmatched load-bearing capabilities, meaning that you can stack several on top of each other. Flexcon’s RSC boxes are easy to use, eco-friendly, offer unmatched protection, are lightweight, and are available in various sizes. Apart from the food services industry, RSC boxes can be used in a wide range of other industries, including postal, automotive, agriculture, aerospace, electronics, chemicals, and lab services.
Flexcon Specializes in Designing Systems
Our team has a combined experience of over 150 years in the industry. We can design a plan that you will be able to implement right away or gradually, according to your specific needs. For more information about our solutions, reach out to Postal Totes. We love inquiries.