Food industry going digital
Poland is currently the seventh largest producer of food in Europe and the Polish food industry is considered one of the most modern in the European Union, which additionally contributes to its rapid growth, despite the high costs of raw materials.
The food sector in Poland (farmers, processors, exporters, retail chains) is represented by over 32 thousand business entities showing an average annual turnover of 5.86 million PLN. Over 6,000 (19.7% of all companies) are enterprises from the SME sector. Just over half of the total turnover of this industry, amounting to PLN 100.3 billion, is exported, mainly to Germany (22%), Great Britain (9%), the Czech Republic (7%) and France (6%). Companies in the food sector operate under specific conditions: margins are relatively low, competition is strong, and the life cycle of products is usually very short with a relatively large number of transactions. In addition, there is a need to strictly comply with legal regulations and quality standards that guarantee safety for consumers.
The key success factor in the food industry is to ensure efficiency in the area of production management, so as to maintain productivity dynamics, meet standards, reduce losses and maintain satisfactory economic indicators. The level of production efficiency is not the same in SMEs as it is in the large companies. SMEs can reduce this gap by implementation of good practices supported by IT solutions. Each category of a company active in the food sector has different functional requirements but there are common features characteristic of the entire food industry, such as the need to identify deliveries, keeping records of purchase contracts and settlements with suppliers, handling quality procedures, etc. These functions are available in the systems supporting companies in food sector.
A system supporting business management needs to work on strategic level, both in terms of planning and implementation of business strategies. Access to the detailed data from the area of production and sales (forecasts, contracts) allows companies to better plan the production process and proper planning, which is primarily to avoid the creation of production surpluses, preventing part of the food or raw materials being wasted. The IT systems supporting the management of enterprises operating in food sector allow to significantly reduce such waste. First, it identifies in advance the risk of inventory surpluses, second, it integrates the Sales & Operations Planning process by clearing the flow of data between the sales area and its forecasting and production scheduling, third, it allows to optimize the production schedule for many factors affecting the final results. This solution also allows to manage the quality of products manufactured and sold, with particular reference to their limited shelf life.
Among the key functions for the food industry, the IT system should be equipped with: tracking raw materials, tracking the costs of cooperation when part of the production is outsourced, managing dates of expiration, quality control (e.g. system compares samples according to ISO 2859 standards), indication of the presence of allergens in products, calculating active amount of the substances in the product and its concentration. Another important feature of IT solutions, especially for companies exporting or planning expansion, is multilingualism and adjusting to multi legal systems.
Source: Portal spozywczy