People buy food that tastes good. Everyone knows this. But tastes are different and the compositions of a recipe are virtually infinite. This variety can only be managed – and finally optimised – efficiently via specific software programs. CSB System can show you how.
An efficient management of recipes is vital for the food producers if they change their recipes dynamically. Only those who have 100 per cent control of the composition of their products can meet the strict requirements of trade and the sensory expectations of the customers, as well as react quickly to new events on the procurement market, and conduct an operational and strategic risk management. Not least, the recipes are a lever to reduce costs in the industry afflicted by low margins anyway.
This does not, however, work without a central body managing and optimising the recipes and providing the right information everywhere – what is needed here is a specific software for recipe management.
The perfect batch: A question of recipe management
Formerly, the recipes were a more or less simple composition of ingredients and work steps – either on paper or even only in the heads of individual employees. Today, production is not possible anymore without objective figures, reliant standards and continually reproducible results.
Thus, the recipes are becoming the technical data hotspot of each food processor assuming important control functions, where all the threads come together, from product development to calculation, up to material procurement, coverage planning and production. Variable factors like raw material quality, shelf life and blending ratio must be considered in the same way as potential by-products, processed in other products.
Managing all this only works if the software in use has been developed especially for food production. Only industry-specific systems like CSB Recipe Management are capable of managing recipes in an optimal way and thus planning the production, calculating the costs of a product, optimising mixing proportions, identifying allergens, nutritional values and ingredients, as well as securing traceability.
Another key word is the reproducible quality. If the same quality must be produced every day, it is important that the software enables an automatic research and quick access to each recipe. Of course, item lists, technology descriptions and work instructions must be available in electronic form also in the production area, for example on an industrial PC or even mobile devices like tablets.
Connections to scales or silos ensure that employees follow a strictly defined procedure – that may be defined as best practice – and thus a standardised, consistent, high product quality of each individual batch is achieved.
What is more: almost as a side effect, a well-functioning risk management is established. Since the employees cannot do otherwise than produce the products exactly according to specifications and legal standards, the risk of defective goods or even expensive recalls is diminished.
The IT-supported recipe and batch management furthermore enables a transparent documentation, since in the end, the recipes provide a complete picture of the production processes. Material flows, quality relevant data or changes in the procedure: everything is recorded exactly and automatically.
Optimise the recipe and save money
But what can you do if the product is always consistently tasty, but unfortunately too expensive at the same time? Then many consumers prefer a cheaper variant. In particular, the exchangeable products, so-called commodities, almost only sell by price. Thus, the difference between a top seller and a shelf warmer often are only a few cents.
In many cases, this is due to raw materials getting more expensive all the time. And all this in an industry where the costs for material input with more than 60 per cent of the sales proceeds are particularly high.
Therefore, it is necessary to optimise recipes in order to achieve higher margins.
CSB Recipe Optimization for example calculates the most cost-efficient composition of products with consistent high quality considering chemical and technological restrictions. Important production and food-specific data are taken into consideration include:
- Least-cost raw material use;
- Consideration of production losses;
- Consideration of additives in the mixture;
- Food law requirements; and
- Sensory conditions like taste, consistency and appearance.
In principle, two different starting situations can be the basis for the optimisation.
In the first case, the optimisation basis is production planning. At this time, when the raw materials for the planned orders are not yet ordered, the “plan optimisation” is a means for optimal raw material and component procurement.
In the second case, the scenario is less favourable as the raw materials are already on stock. Optimisation is carried out on the basis of the components available on stock.
The tolerances of each ingredient are checked, compared to the respective prices developing the optimum recipe in view of quality and economic factors.
This should be as good as a comparable product manufactured according to conventional recipes in the whole assessment range regarding food law and sensory features. The most important results of this process: a clear component specification, a transparent determination of the analysis values and the consequent transfer of the optimised recipe into the recipe master.
The results of the optimisation are transferred as components into the alternative recipes carrying out the material procurement planning and material supply procedures on this basis. In order to be able to react to strongly fluctuating raw material prices, the CSB-System provides variable recipes.
These enable additional flexibility in the production process and permit a direct cost comparison between existing procedures and new production alternatives.
By optimising the materials used, material costs are reduced and gross margins are increased for every product. Dependent on the initial situation, a saving of more than five per cent of the material input is possible. On average, further savings converge around one to four per cent.
Produce individual products economically
Good recipe management does not only signify standardisation and cost reduction, but also enables a more economical production of individual products. The growing demand for more and more individual food requires meeting the wishes of consumers increasingly tailored to measure in the future.
Market researchers forecast that consumers will ask for food matching their special preferences and eating habits or that is good for their health. There are people who don't like raisins, others don't like caraway and some have a lactose intolerance. Therefore, customers have been able to compose their muesli or chocolate according to their taste in online shops like MyMuesli or Chocri for some years now.
Recipe management with its data regarding ingredients and additives, allergens, nutritional values and GMO constitutes the basis to be able to follow this trend at all. You want to order the fat reduced grill sausage directly in the online shop of the producer? You want to order another marinade for the soused chicken fillet? You prefer the potato salad without eggs and mayonnaise? Individualisation enables the producers to stand out from the rest and establish a direct relationship to the customer.
The degree of complexity, however, in the production of individualised products is high and
demands a lot of the ERP system and its recipe management. Only if information can be adjusted and checked quickly and without much effort and if there is complete cost transparency regarding raw material input, small batch sizes can be produced economically. Of course, this is only possible if the used production technology is designed for it.
Will the recipe soon control the machines?
Recipes are an important contribution in the context of the integrated factory, too. It is for example possible to connect the recipes, specifications and nutritional value information saved in the ERP system with the sensors of the production machines. This integration not only enables a more precise production planning and automated quality management, but also increases food safety. In the end, the recipe can become the core of digital production – and coordinate the whole information and material flow of complex multi-level productions even better. No matter how this integration will concretely look like in terms of Industry 4.0. the ERP system with its procedure master will form the bridge to it.