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September 21st, 2020     6 MIN READ

That’s Been on The Shelf for How Long? 8 Signs Your Food and Beverage Retail Product Development Technology Has Surpassed Its Expiry Date

There’s no industry where the phrase ‘time is of the essence’ is more relevant and efficiency more key than in that of food and beverages. Not only are food retailers battling against time to hit seasonal deadlines, jump on the latest and greatest food trends and capitalize on unplanned, sporadic events, but the products being sold expire by nature.

Working efficiently and collaboratively at a consistent fast pace is vital to mastering the industry and increasing growth for food and beverage retailers. That’s why many brands harness the power of Centric Software® Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), which offers innovative solutions that empowers efficiency throughout all teams from merchandisers, buyers, R&D, product development, sourcing, quality and compliance and everyone in between, to reduce costs, boost product margins, optimize assortments and drive private label product success and growth.

Here are eight signs you’re in need of a technology overhaul and how PLM for food and beverage jumpstarts digital transformation for your retail business.

1. Time to market is currently running at snail’s pace.

Sales of a few products in a category are slow and you’re losing out on sales while forking out more and more on holding costs, not to mention each day that passes products get ever closer to their expiry dates, but who’s holding up the line? Well, that’s anyone’s guess; you’ve got no end-to-end view of your product development lifecycle. The only thing you do know for sure, is that no one’s about to openly admit to their team being the bottleneck. It’s time to do something about it. PLM for food and beverage retailers provides full product lifecycle visibility, identifying time consuming and ineffective workflows and empowering teams to become more efficient leading to faster time to market, optimized assortments so you can maximize price per square foot.

2. If I step back far enough and really squint this will make sense, right? …

Let’s face it assortment planning and inventory management are complex and managing all the SKUs and data involved is near impossible using hundreds of spreadsheets or disparate technology solutions. No visibility means overstocked and understocked lines are popping up left, right and center with inventory shrinkage and wastage are at an all-time high burning big holes in profits – it’s chaos and a clear sign for change. Food and beverage Retail PLM drive complete workflow and process management to reduce lead times in development, so products are fresher longer reducing inventory shrinkage as well as gives visibility into assortments to empower more profitable product mix of branded and private label products to optimize what to sell and where to sell it.

3. If these product margins get any smaller, we’re going to start losing money

After adding up all the costly hits from errors due to data disorganization, work duplication, slow time to market and losses through inventory shrinkage, product margins have become almost non-existent. You can’t keep pushing for lower prices to keep up with discount and online competition and you’re starting to wonder if there must be a simpler and more efficient way to manage your operations? You’d be right, this is a big flag that it’s time for reorganization and there is a better way to operate. Harnessing food and beverage retail PLM will centralize all of your product data in one single digital space, and manage workflows, estimate track costs, and streamline supplier communication to reduce avoidable operational costs and boost margins.

4. ‘Product launch’ and ‘success’ are rarely used in the same sentence.

There are few worse feelings than having put weeks or even months of work into bringing a new private label product to market and it absolutely tanks sales targets. Were the initial forecasts wrong? Was the merchandise planning off? You were so sure it was going to be a massive hit, but the reality is that guesswork is all you have to go on. Rise above the uncertainty and propel better decision making with Centric Food and Beverage PLM Merchandise Planning that empowers the creation of ‘what if’ scenarios to establish targets, track progress and optimize assortment planning.

5. The only packaging you want to hear about at this point is a luxury package holiday

Packaging is a whole new beast in the battle of private label product development. Trying to work through the endless spreadsheet storm of packaging supplier’s info to find the right match has you pulling your hair out. Didn’t we find a supplier to do this box in another material? Wait, it needs to conform to local regulations, is this one compliant? Once you’ve finally got the package rendering ready to go you find out there’s been a big change in nutritional information and now you have to enter all of that data into the brief to get the labeling right before you send it out again… not the to-do list busting morning you had in mind. PLM for food and beverage retail connects your packaging information directly to your product brief to reduce time heavy work duplication. PLM also increases workflow efficiency by facilitating a packaging library with past features/specifications, materials, dimensions, brand claims, manufacturing information, nutrition labels and more, increasing workflow efficiency. Additionally, food and beverage retail PLM empowers teams to harness canvas templates to create packaging samples and easily create localized labelling in multiple languages, with local regulatory requirements by automatically making changes to the sample connected to PLM packaging information.

Food and Beverage PLM

6. Shortlisting suppliers is ex(source)ting

You’re tired of wading through a sea of packaging and product suppliers every time you want to choose who to shortlist for sourcing. Who was good last time we used them? Who has the quickest timelines? Which suppliers can do completely plastic free packaging? You can’t find the suppliers info spreadsheets but you’re sure you saw them here last week… Why aren’t they saved in the usual folder? I bet Brian has moved them … where is he, I need to send the RFP out by the end of today! Time to do things differently. Working with food and beverage retail PLM streamlines product and packaging sourcing and creation by centralizing all product related data to eliminate multiple spreadsheets, thousands of emails and vastly improve supplier communications, and empowers quick and easy RFP creation and supplier responses, ideation and annotation in one digital space with product brief and packaging templates.

7. Finding the right product data is harder than playing Where’s Wally.

When you’ve got an evolving range of branded products sourced from multiple suppliers as well as private label products too, making sure you have all the right product information at any given time is like going on a wild goose chase around different teams with everyone having a different version of data on their desktop. 15 spreadsheets later and it turns out the most accurate information is with Linda who is on holiday for the next two weeks. Here come the countless awkward emails to suppliers checking what information is right – they’re not amused. Time for a data management rethink? Absolutely. Boost efficient collaboration across teams and suppliers with all your data in ‘one single source of the truth’ with food and beverage PLM whilst maintaining data privacy.

8. Is that a call from legal about a private label product… gulp.

It’s a huge one, an allergen discontinued from a product recipe has been found unlisted in the new product formulation. The wrong recipe formulation sheet was sent out to the supplier for production. Talks of a mass recall are underway; this is really bad news. No one wants to be caught up in that kind of mess. Mitigate costly and reputational damage to your business by ensuring you’re always on top of food and beverage compliance standards with a solution for sharing and tracking formulation changes. PLM for food and beverage capacitates streamlined quality compliance checks with built in process management and connections to compliance databases as well as gaining full visibility into all product related data to easily track and implement compliance changes, identify affected products and make quick decisions to apply regulatory changes so you can reduce errors and have the flexibility to adapt quickly to whatever comes your way.

 

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