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How Food & Beverage Companies Can Leverage Technology to Gain Agility and Battle Supply Chain Disruptions


How can you keep products flowing to market amid market disruptions?  Having a solid digital foundation is a great start! At a recent summit with executives from top CPG companies like Coca Cola, P&G, General Mills, Mondelez, ConAgra, Smuckers and more, the number one issue on their minds following the meeting was cited as this: “If you’re not digital, you’re already in the dust”

Indeed, recent events have not only disrupted the supply chain but also dramatically changed consumer behaviors, requiring businesses to have a strong digital infrastructure. Modern Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software is key to reacting with agility, using resources efficiently and shortening product development timelines.

Armed with the right information, quick execution to get products to market gives companies that possess reliable, modern digital foundations such as Centric PLM™ a leg-up on the competition. At the back end, benefits are numerous, like streamlined workflows, improved communication and collaboration among team members and external suppliers. Invaluable insights garnered from real data allow companies to focus efforts on what is working or fix what isn’t.

Stretched Supply Chains

Supply chain issues have wreaked havoc on not just the cost of raw materials due to skyrocketing shipping rates, but the availability of those raw materials. In 2021, the cost of sending a container from Asia to North America went from $5,000 to $27,000.

Food and food ingredients are more global than many people realize. Certain functional ingredients come from overseas. Food & beverage scientists may find themselves having to make substitutions to avoid changing ingredient listings and re-doing packaging and other assets that comprise a finished product.

Centric PLM provides the ability to run what-if scenarios, showing scientists and product developers the effect of swapping out ingredients by easily re-generating the ingredient listing, nutrient amounts, Nutrition Facts panel, allergen identification and more. By running these alternatives, scientists can determine the best course of action when faced with unexpected raw material scarcity.

Supply chain issues obviously have a major impact on go-to-market plans, so speed and efficiency are critical to make up lost time. The latest version of Centric PLM (v7.4) includes packaging materials as part of the complete product Bill of Materials (BOM), streamlining the process of creating complex food BOMs to speed time to market. Sophisticated recipe support reduces duplicate data entry, cuts manual errors and automates complex calculations such as moisture loss, allergens, nutrient amounts, batch sizes and more. Teams can also create accurate, on-brand and highly visual product presentations that leverage real-time PLM data, reducing time spent exporting data and images to PowerPoint to create presentations for customers or stakeholders.

Agility is Key

Business agility to get ahead of changing conditions is crucial. Orders have plummeted in some categories of products but increased in others, especially the grocery and food sector. This results in unplanned amplified demand, leading to shortages.

With a nimble digital platform like Centric Food & Beverage PLM, adjusting your assortment and cutting production on some SKUs to focus on the basics is straightforward. By closely watching fast-moving consumer behaviors and having visibility on what is unfolding within their own teams, companies can keep up-to-date on the situation and are less likely to be caught by surprise.

“We’re seeing that automating workflows in PLM creates the right environment to speed products to market,” says Patrick Pilz, Pre-Sales Consultant at Centric Software. “More efficient project management organizes R&D teams to collaborate on product specifications with all stakeholders in the organization.”

Sustaining Sustainability

Amid this turmoil, consumers still want companies to be engaged in social causes and doing the right thing when it comes to equity, human rights and the planet. To drive and track sustainability initiatives and requirements, companies need digital infrastructure. Voluntary sustainability reporting is already here, and in Europe, mandatory reporting on the social, human rights, diversity and environmental impact of larger companies has arrived.

Tracking the origins and certifications of materials and manufacturing processes to achieve more environmentally friendly packaging, ethical sourcing, sustainable ingredients and no animal testing becomes important. Supply chain transparency in food product development is important to ensure that the eco-friendly and socially responsible conditions set by companies are met. Centric PLM ties all this information to each SKU and lays the digital foundation for a more sustainable future.

Centric’s latest release v7.4 was built to equip businesses with the best features and functions to tackle market disruptions.