Food waste is a serious problem. With hunger a pervasive crisis in much of the world, it’s simply wrong to waste food. Additionally, growing food that won’t get eaten is bad for the environment. It wastes resources and causes pollution. And, if nothing else, wasting food is the same as wasting money. It’s bad for business. The scale of food waste is a real eye-opener, too. Per capita, North Americans and Europeans throw out over 200 pounds of food a year—worth about $165 billion in the US alone. While some food waste is probably unavoidable, there are many ways to reduce it. Technology can help. Advances in Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) software now give food producers and distributors new ways to cut down on waste.
Causes of Food Waste
Food waste originates from a variety of factors in agriculture, food processing and distribution. Produce is the most common form of food to be wasted. A few prominent reasons for waste include:
- Foods that are not sold by the “best-before” dates and are thrown out by retailers
- Food purchased by consumers that goes bad before it can be eaten
- Restaurants that order excessive amounts of food they cannot sell
- Delays and other transportation problems that result in produce going bad before it can be sold
- Aesthetic concerns, e.g. size, shape color, that lead to edible food being discarded
- Regulatory issues, e.g. a food recall based on bacteria or pollutants
How ERP can help reduce food waste
ERP software offers food producers and distributors a number of capabilities that can help reduce food waste. Their implementation will of course vary widely based on each user’s parameters. In general, though, ERP contributes to cuts in food waste through better orchestration of business activities and analysis of data:
- Aligning food ordering with projected food needs—ERP gives you data to determine when and how much to order.
- Coordinating shipments to do better at matching deliveries with “best by” dates—With ERP, you get better visibility into the logistics of food distribution. You can identify shipments that are close to expiration and route them to customers that can take delivery the soonest to avoid waste.
- Develop a data-driven understanding of food sources and other issues that correlate with recalls and avoidable spoilage—Which producers seem to have the most recalls? Is there a root cause that can help avoid these problems? ERP, with data analytics and data visualization, can highlight previously hard-to-spot elements that result in food waste.
- Get better at tracking and traceability—ERP gives you information about where food products come from, a key element in preventing food wasted due to compliance issues. Learn more in Food Traceability: How Acumatica Cloud ERP Can Help.
Solutions for Food Manufacturers and Distributors from Cloud 9
We have extensive experience working with food and beverage companies on ERP implementation. We enable you to build systems that result in optimal food production and distribution operations to:
- Gain visibility you need to implement a Corrective Action, Preventive Action (CAPA plan)
- Understand every element of your business and avoid getting caught off guard when a recall happens
- Minimize risk and disruption with real-time data ready for the challenges of the recall process
- Integrate your entire system to facilitate tracking, traceability, and communication
- Increase your reputation by providing the highest levels of transparency to consumers and regulators
Here is what one of our happy customers had to say:
“Accardi Foods is a Fourth Generation, food importing and distribution company based outside of Boston, MA. Our business consists of 75 employees including outside & inside sales reps and office staff. We have a fleet of 12 trucks that deliver within the New England area 6 days a week. The mission at Accardi Foods is to provide our customers with quality products and uncompromised customer service. With that said, we require our ERP to be one that not only supports our everyday needs, but one that will continue to grow with us over time and will work with our newly implemented WMS. Our search for a new ERP included several solutions, one being Acumatica. Presented by their partner Cloud 9, we were educated on the platform as well as the prime food service platform. It was obvious from the first few meetings that this was the correct choice for us. Cloud 9 ERP Solutions listened to our requests and concerns and was able to address all of them. We’re looking forward to a long partnership with Acumatica and Cloud 9!” - Angela DeVirgilio (Sales/Marketing, Accardi Foods)
If you are interested in learning how we can help your food business run more efficiently and cut down on food waste, let’s talk.