The Covid-19 pandemic has hit every industry and business in the world. The Food & Beverage industry has had its share of challenges. It has had to make adjustments to the new normal to sustain itself. The pandemic has also acted as a catalyst for the food & beverage business to embrace digital transformation and adapt their processes. ERPs like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central have been at the forefront of this digital transformation.
Let us first understand the challenges faced by Food and Beverages manufacturers. Also, we will look at how they can make their businesses more effective and efficient in this new normal.
Due to the pandemic, there was a disruption in the global supply chain. There were lockdowns in many regions that resulted in a lot of irregularities and delays. The social distancing norms also meant that a limited workforce was available at a given time.
Certain items saw increased demands as people entered a panic buying mode. It was mainly due to the uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the lockdowns. No one knew the exact duration of the lockdown and hence essential food items experienced a demand surge.
At the same time, there were some items whose demand fell drastically and were moved from the shelves back to the warehouses. Some of them have limited shelf lives resulted in their wastage.
With so much fluctuation on both the demand and the supply ends, the companies needed real-time data access. Businesses that did not have this kind of access had to undergo a digital transformation. The ones that could not match up had to shut down.
The uncertainty also meant that the forecasting, both on the supply and the demand side, had to be highly accurate. If flawed, it could impact the bottom line of the businesses hard.
In the food & beverages industry, there are multiple raw materials required to produce the final product. Many of them have different shelf lives. Hence the supply chain schedule has to be mapped with extreme accuracy and precision. The final product also should be delivered on time, especially in the case of perishable items.
New Normal required effective cash flow management for the businesses. Some businesses were facing financial difficulties, whereas some were holding on to the money. It meant there was limited spending, and hence every dollar spent was like gold dust.
In some cases, the situation was so bad that businesses like restaurants, small-time retailers, QSRs, etc., had to shut down as they could not manage their finances effectively. Also, due to lack of money, some businesses could not pivot their business models post the digital transformation ushered in.
Social distancing norms meant distributed workforce, which was the new norm. An increasing number of team members would work from home, and only those who had to be physically present only would travel to their work locations.
In certain countries, there were mandates about the number of people who can be on-premises. Hence collaboration and communication amongst this distributed workforce posed a significant challenge.
The manufacturers needed a system that could help them resolve the issues mentioned above.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a comprehensive system that helped companies solve the pain points listed above. Let us look at how the food and beverage manufacturers can benefit by using Business Central.
Like we mentioned earlier, supply chain management processes were under stress due to the disruptions caused by the pandemic. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central helps businesses effectively monitor and track inventory.
It would help ensure that any raw material required is available at the right time at the right place. Also, on the demand side, it can help plan the deliveries, as per the demand of the product.
Business Central helps smooth data flow across the organisations. It is a cloud-based ERP, and hence data is available anytime, anywhere and on any device. It ensures that there are no bottlenecks in the communications. Data can be easily shared across different departments preventing data silos.
Also, Business Central has role-based user access to ensure that data confidentiality and data security are not compromised. Also, you get best in class security because Microsoft handles the datasecurity on their servers. It ensures almost 100% uptime for all your data.
The manufacturers needed to be flexible when it came to managing the stocks of their products. Business Central helped them track the stocks of the products which were flying off the shelves. It also provided intelligence about the products which saw reduced demand.
This way, the businesses could adjust the SKUs per the demand changes. They could also manage the supplies of raw material effectively of the products accordingly. Also, companies with a multi-location or multi-regional setup need access to all the data from these different locations or regions. With Business Central, the stakeholders can access this critical data across departments and multiple locations in real-time. It provides a holistic view of all the business processes at any given moment.
As mentioned above, Business Central is a cloud-based ERP. It provides real-time data access and insights. It allows the stakeholders to analyse the data and take decisions quickly. They can react to the market changes faster. Also, they can track instantaneously the raw materials required, their transit schedules, plan their production according to its arrival time, delivery of finished goods to outlets, financials, etc.
Business Central also allows the automation of routine processes. It will free up some time for the executives handling these tasks. They can then focus more on critical strategic business aspects.
Business Central also can help your business forecast better. The real-time insights from multiple locations in the market assist the business gauge the product demand. They can change their production plans and delivery schedules as per the market intelligence they receive.
The more accurate the forecast, the better will be their ability to meet the market demands. It will result in a positive impact on their bottom line.
Business Central also helps businesses reduce a lot of their overhead costs. The cost to manage infrastructure for the company reduces sufficiently. They can scale up or scale down as per their requirements. The company need not make significant infrastructure investments as all their data is hosted on the Microsoft cloud.
The security, uptime, and maintenance of the system are handled directly by Microsoft. The business can manage its technological requirements with a lean IT team, thus resulting in lesser overheads.
Pandemic forced companies to widen their net in terms of vendors. Businesses realised that they had to expand their vendor network and minimise their dependence. It meant managing vendors would be the key.
Business Central has a vendor management module that assists businesses in ensuring timely payments, placing orders, tracking vendor supplies, and various other aspects related to vendor management.
If you are a Food and Beverage Manufacturer and want to know how Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central can help you navigate current tough times, reach out to us at CocoonIT Services Pvt Ltd. We are a leading Microsoft Business Central ERP and Microsoft Dynamics 365 partner located in Mumbai.
We are a trusted Microsoft Gold partner offering intuitive Enterprise Technology Consulting and Automation implementation. We also provide ongoing support as per your business requirement.
We help businesses in their digital transformation journey by delivering Microsoft Business Automation tools, Power Apps, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Power BI, and other technology solutions services and support.