Food Industry Manufacturers Meet Consumer Demands Using Software

What do your customers actually want? This age-old question can be easily answered by capitalizing on your unique food and beverage software stored data.

Consumers are tough to please, and with food and beverage options ever increasing, the competition for products is staggering. Past techniques – for example banking on health claims alone on packaging – now no longer make products stand out. So the big question is how do you make sure that your product is the one customers reach for?

Trend awareness: Convenience and health

Whilst shoppers are choosing the healthier option where they can, different additional factors come into effect for their food and beverage decisions. Time is a massive element when it comes to shopper considerations – ensuring that you prioritize the convenience and health benefits of a food product greatly outweighs a time-intensive product that takes too long to cook and eat. Cost is also a large consideration in the decision-making process – consumers will always seek value for money, but in these cash-strapped times of high unemployment this demand is even higher, and should be a big consideration for any food or beverage manufacturer.

Conversely, people with jobs are often working longer hours, which in turn mean they may have more money to spend on consumable products but far less time for deciding, preparing or even eating.

Health Benefits Not Just Health Jargon

With an increased need for convenience, your products have to get customers attention from the first glance. Suggestions have been made that rather than simple health claims and pointing out the various benefits of food and beverage products it is more meaningful to make your product their final choice. As an example, instead of highlighting the Vitamin D content, use the packaging to explain the benefit to bone health. Van Den Bos suggests further that ‘communicating the benefit, not the health claim is a must’ and utilizing a custom made ERP software solution will help you meet the demands of such customer trends effectively. This leads us to the question of how can a food and beverage ERP software help manufacturers keep ahead of their own unique trends?

By taking a look into your food and beverage software system, you can easily explore where demand for the product is at an increase, and to realize the changing buying trends of your customers. Managing your ERP data in an effective way will enable you to draw on these undeniable facts and help you to create more targeted strategies and will result in smoother processes. A wonderful example of utilizing food software and data stored to react to trends has been quite recently observed by the manufacturers of Weetabix. A British wheat crisis resulted in a massive upheaval for this popular product – instead of trying to find wheat elsewhere, all manufacture was stopped on their products. It was only then resumed when British wheat was available again, to respond to the UK customer demand not only fast, healthy and convenient food but British-sourced products as well. This ability to be able to monitor product supply and balance this manufacture with consumer demand was only possible by utilizing food industry software to quickly re-engineer business processes.

Utilizing food industry ERP software to effectively manage your data

Raw software stored information is completely useless unless it is properly managed. You can have vast amounts of information, but if there is no easy way to identify trends, or to distill purchasing fluctuations, from this data then it becomes very tricky to see how to make your products the customers’ first choice. The hard facts that are presented by data enable you to form a rational basis for innovation, whilst at the same time spotting potential opportunities or threats. A custom made food industry ERP software solution allows food and beverage manufacturers to notice exactly where and when their products are being purchased. As an example, if a certain food or beverage product is more popular online than in-store, it would then make sense to implement online offers to enhance value for money while still providing the convenience level consumers desire. A food industry ERP software system should easily be able to handle short-notice changes to promotions, such as online offers, where in the past a traditional spreadsheet-based solution simply would not be able to react fast enough in time for the next

Where and how should food manufacturing information be handled and funneled?

The potential of data and information can often be left untapped unless it is funneled to the correct people. Quite often, it is not your IT department who need this information it could be the sales manager or product developer or both, who need to see the differences in trends and customer shopping behavior. A food and beverage ERP software solution will enable your information to be accessed by the correct people when they need it. This will enable quicker responses to trends; potential problems and help create new opportunities, meaning food industry manufacturers can be on top of and respond better to customer demands.

Packaging Industry Manufacturers Can Improve By Listening To End Users

The Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI) recently shared a report which included some of the concerns of consumer goods packagers as they relate to packaging machinery and those that manufacture the equipment. While every packaging project will arrive with unique concerns and issues, based on product, container, speed, and other factors, listening to the expectations and concerns of a group of packages allows machine manufacturers the opportunity to not only better serve the end users, but improve the industry overall.

Expanded Consultation

End users of packaging machinery have always expected a certain level of consultation prior to the purchase and manufacture of the equipment. Those building the machinery must have the necessary expertise to find the ideal solution for any given project. However, packages are now looking for expanded expertise or knowledge outside of just the machinery being built. Ideally, packagers would like to see those building the machines become experts in the packaging industry generally, with knowledge of rules and regulations, information on the different materials and other similar issues. In the end, expanded knowledge and expertise leads to better communication and trust, strengthening the relationship between equipment builders and users and helping to ensure the correct equipment is used on each project.

Sustainability And Flexibility

Sustainability is a tough word to define, but everyone seems to agree that it must apply to the entire packaging process, not just the product and package. The energy and materials used to run a filling machine, capping equipment or an entire packaging line is a concern to the users of such machinery. Equipment manufacturers must look for cleaner, more efficient manners of both building and operating equipment to contribute to a sustainable packaging process.

In addition, end users expect packaging machinery to be flexible enough to handle the packages and products being run. Very few packages use one bottle and/or one product. The packagers want to see equipment that can handle a variety of package sizes and shapes, with quick changeover time to allow for maximum production on any given day. Flexibility also increases the opportunity to introduce new packages and products without purchasing additional equipment.

Clear, Precise Communication

Communication can really be seen as a running theme through each and every point raised in the PMMI report. However, packagers would like to see better communication at the RFP or quoting stage. Specifically, information regarding not just machine specifications, but details on testing, training, and installation as well. Additionally, RFP’s and quotes should be precise, not overpromising what can be delivered. Open and honest communication must run in both directions to achieve these goals, strengthen the relationship between packager and manufacturer and avoid unforeseen issues throughout the process of creating, installing and training on the equipment. Just like in the glass installation industry, clear and precise communication has been employed to fulfill customer satisfaction one service company exudes this kind of communication as sen on their reviews Click Here.

Proper Use Of Technology

Technology is always changing in an attempt to make packaging machinery faster, more accurate, longer lasting, more flexible or any combination of these goals and others. However, many of those packaging a product believe that some manufacturers are going overboard on technology. In other words, more technology does not always equal better technology or better machinery. Manufacturers of filling machines, capping machines, labelers, and other equipment must once again listen to the packager and understand what exactly is needed for any given project. The technology must meet the project and not exist on the machinery simply because it is available.

Better Lead Times

Finally, packages are looking for better lead times, which may be an issue that can never be completely righted. While manufacturers can work on improving lead times by trying to make processes more efficient or perhaps standardizing machines or components when possible, it still takes time to consult, build, install and train on equipment. The best solution to lead times may involve the overpromising in RFP’s and quotes mentioned above. Packagers need to understand that a few extra days or weeks can make all of the difference when production begins and that the process, from consultation to installation and training should not be rushed. On the other hand, manufacturers must realize that the end users are relying on the lead time given by the manufacturer to begin production and must be realistic and honest when quoting that time.

In the end, the discussion on packaging machine manufacturing by consumer goods packagers truly acts as a check on the manufacturers themselves. The group discussions should be used as a tool by the manufacturers to analyze their own practices and modify the same to give customers what they want and need.

Display Options for Industrial Manufacturers

 

How can you display your manufactured product at a trade show or in a sales call so that it not only looks good but it tells the story of your product? There are many options available and choosing the right one can be difficult at first. This article is designed to make your decision easier. Displaying your product is easy, however making it look attractive, expertly professional and with the ability to easily demonstrate its benefits can be difficult.

Industrial products, in general, come out of production looking very plain and standard. Many have casting marks and are made from unfinished metal which in a trade show environment looks dull and lackluster. To create an eye-catching display your product can be sanded, painted and plated to make it more attractive and project an image of higher quality. Going a step further you can include a cutaway section, in which areas of your product are cut away to reveal the inner workings and how they interrelate. A cutaway starts the conversation about the story and benefits of your product on its own. The characteristics which make your product different from the competition are on full display. Now, go even further with a working model.

Working models can be made from displays or cutaways and are electrically powered or hand operable displays which show your product in action. These models can have acrylic protection over moving areas so no one can be harmed when the product is moving while the movement of the product and its functions are clearly visible. Again, your product is telling its own story and demonstrating its own benefits, which helps your salespeople sell your product more easily.

In addition to actual physical product displays, you can utilize animation or models to demonstrate your product and story as well. This is especially useful if your product is large or heavy and transportation to shows is an issue. Animation can show your product and how it functions using models based on three-dimensional files. Video and other marketing materials can be added to get a full multimedia display. Another option is lightweight scale models. Again using three-dimensional files, lightweight scale models of your product can be made from a plastic composite. These models look like the actual product and can be made in full color. They can be made as cutaways too so the interior portions are visible.

Finally, if your full product is too large but you want to focus on a certain benefit you can model part of the design. The modeled part can be made from any sort of material, one lightweight and attractive option is acrylic. If your product is small or if you have many different small models to display it can be hard to find a way to show them and still keep them intact. POP (point of purchase) displays can help in this regard. Using a colorful and branded backboard the components or models of your product can be mounted as a static display or even a functional push-button interactive presentation. They can be designed to be removable for handling or permanently affixed so they won’t wander off.

Lighting, base mounts and containers for transit are the final considerations for your display. Some well-placed LEDs can draw attention to your product, especially the interior of a cutaway. A properly designed basement can draw attention to your product too by placing it at eye level or at an angle for better viewing or by allowing movement and literature placement around the product itself. A key concern when traveling to a trade show is the safety of your displays. If they arrive damaged your marketing plan can’t be executed properly. Reliable packaging needs to be considered when a display is created. Custom fit foam filled cases are useful for smaller items or wheel cases can be utilized for larger, slightly heavier items.

For items that ship continuously and in rough environments, it is worthwhile to have a custom fit shipping container built for lasting protection. While nothing is impermeable, a container with a steel frame, wooden sides, and interior with felted hold-downs can withstand repeated shipping and is designed to hold your display in place to prevent damage.