Visibility is a fundamental requirement in business operations today, particularly in the fast-paced world of Food & Beverage companies. But what does it mean to have good overall visibility in your F&B business?
Having good overall visibility means that you are able to readily access up to date information about the key functional areas in your business.
Here’s the deal: the disparate nature of systems within many F&B firms lead to a limited ability to access real-time, updated information across the whole business. In many cases, managers are stuck having to use outdated or incomplete facts and figures to base their decisions upon, typically resulting in gut feel becoming a significant factor in the decision-making.
Many businesses do not necessarily lack the capabilities to report upon these areas, but may be hindered by inefficiencies in the data gathering and reporting functions, which delays accessibility to information. And whilst it is possible to achieve visibility using manual work and processes, it entails greater amount of effort and time and could limit your ability to better structure and plan your future activities.
There are plenty of reasons why increasing visibility in your food business matters. Accurate, timely information offers a complete, up-to-date view of sales, sales analyses, supply and inventory management, production, and labour planning, to name a few functions.
Without good visibility, you are at risk of suffering the following:
Sales and pricing
- Unknown buying behavior, such as which products are on an inclining or declining trend
- Poor visibility over the action of your sales force
- Incomplete sales analysis, such as which customer segments, postcodes or geographies are performing well
- Uncertainty over your actual margin
- Lost sales & profit because you are out of stock
- Tying up large amounts of working capital in inventory
- Wastage and inventory writeoff due to overstocking
- Limited product traceability
Labour and material production
- Higher-than-projected labour costs
- Inaccurate product costing leading to incorrect gross margin
- Inability to negotiate better deals and prices with your supply chain
The lack of centralised information capture, too, could translate to simple administrative mistakes and/or duplication of processing, which can compromise data accuracy or lead to planning and reporting delays.
This is where tight systems integration demonstrates great gains and potential for your business. Fully integrated software
, for instance, reduces administrative burden while allowing your existing teams to absorb increased order volumes. When you have integrated and automated processes, you can count on a more efficient operation that delivers greater cost recovery and improved business outcomes.
When you accomplish good visibility through effective integration, you achieve better buying arrangements. At the tail end of production, you are better able to trace your products and implement superior batch and lot control. This is crucial in a recall scenario, where you can precisely identify products affected by food safety issues and avoid the downside of a wider recall.
In today’s fast-paced business environment, it is a must to not just address profitability but also meet ongoing customer demands and manage all aspects of operations at optimum effort and speed. It will be difficult to thrive and seize opportunities if visibility across the business is limited.
Knowledge, after all, is power. When you are basing business decisions upon real, up to date, accurate information, you are lowering your risk and increasing your confidence. Without this it’s like driving your car looking in the rear view mirror.