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Technology is constantly evolving to help ambitious food and beverage companies invade new territory – geographically, through new sales channels, or by digging more deeply into their own data.

Some of the latest software developments – and some not too far down the line – could offer an early mover advantage for other fast growing Australian manufacturers, according to Andrew Dalziel, a UK-based senior director, Industry & Solution Strategy, at enterprise software company Infor.

Thanks to their client bases, companies like Infor have a unique insight into world best practice in food and beverage, Dalziel says. He will be sharing these best practices at the Breaking Boundaries LIVE forum, brought to you by PKN and Food & Drink Business.

For instance Infor's ERP software suite, M3, now offers the latest cloud capabilities to enable quick expansion for companies looking to open overseas operations.

And given the growing emphasis on food safety, global traceability is a crucial function for most exporters.

Infor has a software module which enables companies to track and trace the links between different lots in their supply chain.

Thinking ahead

Powerful search capabilities enable the tracing backwards from end products to identify potentially contaminated raw material lots or forwards to determine the potential consequences of product issues.

This allows companies to quickly generate customer ‘recall’ lists for potentially affected end-products with customers shipped to information and ‘lots in stock’ lists to contain an issue, reducing the risk to the public and helping to minimise brand damage.

Everyone's talking about omnichannel, Dalziel says, but managing the complexity of transacting in the digital realm, whether that be through a mobile app or a vending machine, in your local market or cross-border, requires discipline and strong backend inventory management and logistics support, he says.

With this in mind, Infor recently launched CloudSuite Food & Beverage, which delivers industry-specific good practice support of the core processes in a food and beverage company, and is available on a software as a service basis.

Delivery on the cloud as a service simplifies implementation, shortens the time to benefit and reduces business risk.

It also makes rollout to new operations in overseas markets as companies expand much faster and the cost predictable.

And while the Internet of Things (IoT) may sound like it belongs in the factory of the future, Infor has new business intelligence capabilities in the works that will enable manufacturers to dive even more deeply into their data.

Dalziel says many companies may already be capturing data that they could incorporate into their IoT strategy and leverage more effectively to identify new sales or service opportunities, efficiencies, quality or customer experience improvements.

Infor is investing heavily in business intelligence to support big data analytics and recognises that the time and cost to implement such solutions – and the fact that information is not accessible to the user when working within different applications – is a challenge for many companies.

Infor has already partially solved these issues and expects more news that food and beverage companies could benefit from soon.

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