Innovative Food And Beverages ‘From Farm To Fork’

From strict regulatory requirements, increased consumer awareness, market consolidation and more complex supply chains, food and beverage (F&B) manufacturers face constant challenges today to deliver innovative products more efficiently to the retail market and consumers. Successful businesses need to be able to react quickly to specific market demands, ensure their products meet the highest quality and security standards, and keep development and administrative costs minimal to increase profit margins.

The F&B industry is characterized by complex product structures and production processes, making a process-oriented concept in product development indispensable. Companies need to maintain and manage comprehensive, coherent and accurate product data in all internal systems and exchange information with trade partners as required. Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) manages data for all stages and areas of the product lifecycle, integrating them into a single solution and facilitating efficient and transparent information management. This comprehensive and cross-functional solution can streamline and improve company-wide processes that are associated with the development, production and launch of products, allowing producers to drive innovation, minimize costs and risks, and eventually gain a competitive advantage in the market.

SpecPage, a global provider of integrated data management and compliance software, understands the needs of the recipe-based manufacturing industry and has extensive experience in developing cost-effective solutions to address the challenges in this field. The return on investment for PLM software can be quite impressive as it leverages productivity and reduces risks, ensuring long-term success and profitability for F&B producers. Research has shown that by adopting a PLM approach the efficiency of engineering and formulation solutions can be doubled.

To date, many manufacturing companies manage product information isolated in different departments and do not create company-wide visibility. They are therefore not able to utilize existing resources and expertise; nor are they able to control the entire product lifecycle efficiently, which slows down projects and delays product launches. Within R&D departments, data is often recorded several times instead of updating and modifying existing product specifications and recipe formulations. Manual data entry and modification can result in high costs and inaccuracies, and may also lead to missed market opportunities as companies are not able to react to customer demands in time. Industry experience has shown that formulation software can save >56% of the development staff’s time by reusing resources and avoiding the creation of duplicates.

With the help of PLM solutions, businesses can develop innovative products optimally, boost efficient production and enhance their performance. An integrated solution can create a global project framework that can easily be adapted to regional and local requirements.

Besides effective cost management, quality assurance plays also a critical role in ensuring company success. Packaging and labeling processes are a substantial part of the product lifecycle and are receiving more attention than ever before not least due to the increasing regulatory requirements and demands from trade partners. Designing informative and appealing labels involves the work of engineers, design and marketing managers, and compliance specialists, where keeping information in data islands can slow down the time-to-market. Manufacturers need to fully integrate quality assurance processes in product development and management, and ensure compliance across the entire product lifecycle to mitigate risks and avoid product recalls. The implementation of a PLM solution helps companies to proactively and transparently manage information throughout the product lifecycle and supply chain. Standardized processes enable traceability, and ensure quality, safety and regulatory compliance. By preventing lost, misplaced or unapproved documentation and records, 20% of the development staff’s time can be saved.

A PLM software investment is often initiated by a single department such as product development or quality assurance, however the financial benefits are visible across the entire business. SpecPage’s PLM software Return on Investment (ROI) calculator has been programmed on the basis of best practice and successful projects over the years. With minimal data input, the ROI calculator produces clear outcomes using easy steps to measure financial benefits that can be achieved with the help of SpecPage’s solutions for product development and information management. These have been developed to meet the specific needs of the F&B industry, and can easily and quickly be implemented and deployed; specific functionalities like nutritional databases, global compliance and label support are available out of the box and offer users great value.

To cope with the growing challenges in the industry and to remain competitive, F&B manufacturers must take an integrated approach in product development and quality assurance, managing all phases of the product lifecycle – from concept to marketplace. This enables them to use existing resources and expertise efficiently and drive innovation. PLM is becoming a standard in the industry and is a crucial step for long-term success.

-By Severin Weiss, CEO at SpecPage