In mid-November 2018, food manufacturer Cargill announced a new approach to Thanksgiving turkey.
The manufacturer partnered with several family turkey farms to use the Internet of Things and blockchain to track 200,000 hens slated for holiday tables. Each turkey will have an identification code that can be entered into a website that can trace the bird to the farm where it was raised and learn more about the operation and the farmers.
It’s just one example of technologies like IoT and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions are revolutionizing the food is made.
Here’s a closer look at how the IoT and ERPs are changing the food and beverage industry.
IoT and ERP explained
The Internet of Things is the collection of billions of objects, from smartphones to sensors, equipped with tools that measure, collect and transmit information. ERPs are software platforms that allow companies to streamline operations and share data across all areas of the company, from finance to inventory management to manufacturing.
Here are just a few of the ways the IoT is transforming the industry throughout the supply chain:
- Food monitoring. Sensors connected to products and places can measure environmental factors like temperature and humidity and send alerts when issues arise, allowing for perishable food to saved and reducing waste.
- Farming. Farmers are using sensors to monitor soil moisture levels and making adjustments as necessary. GPS tools on tractors help to plant straight rows to optimize the placement of irrigation equipment.
- Food safety. Tracking tools on lots and batches allows companies to respond to food recalls quickly, tracking ingredient sources and tracing customer purchases to issue prompt alerts and assess the impact.
- Inventory management. Sensors can track in real time inventory levels and alert staff about the need to reorder (or reorder automatically).
- Consumer demands. Consumers today want more transparency in where their food, turkeys and otherwise, is coming from. IoT tools allow brands to interact with consumers and share information in both directions.
The relationship between ERPs and the IoT
IoT devices collect and generate massive amounts of data. For food and beverage manufacturers, the key is how to collect, report on and use that information effectively.
That’s where ERP solutions come into play. ERPs, many of which are cloud-based, allow companies to collect information easily. Dashboards, reports and charts can help distill that information into actionable insights, both in real time and from a broader strategic perspective.
ERPs are powerful solutions for companies because of the interconnectivity of data. With information readily available in one system, there’s no need for complicated conversions or work-arounds to access data in different technologies. Employees can use the same data simultaneously and to foster better collaboration and transparency.
The ERP solution’s robust analytics allow companies to:
- Gain deeper insights into customer and consumer behaviors
- Forecast future demand and suppliers
- Assess the impact of new SKUs quickly to make decisions for expansion, retraction of discontinuation
Together, the rich data sets and powerful analytics make the use of IoT and ERP solutions a smart choice.
At NexTec, we help companies identify and deploy the right food ERP solutions that drive better operations and new revenue opportunities. Our expert consultants work with food and beverage companies to articulate solution needs and compare vendors and products.
Learn more about ERP and how it can make a difference for your company.