Any food manufacturer will tell you that the basis of their success, apart from having excellent products of course, is all about reducing the costs, raising the standards, improving efficiency and thereby growing the profits. As we enter the “fourth industrial revolution”, or Industry 4.0, there is now another rapidly accelerating dimension that all firms need to embrace in order to stay ahead of their competition – that of technology innovation. Market research carried out by the SMB Group in 2016 stated “Mid-sized manufacturers that view technology as critical to improving business outcomes are outpacing their peers in profits and business growth.”
Many food manufacturers however don’t fully understand how effective IT solutions can help their business and springboard accelerated growth through integrating applications, implementing new solutions and getting better insights from their data. But what does “technology innovation” actually mean? And perhaps more importantly, how do you go about it?
All manufacturers use IT to one extent or another. Whether it’s simply Excel spreadsheets and Outlook or a range of off-the-shelf and bespoke programs dealing with separate areas of the business, by using them more effectively and in conjunction with each other the company will see stimulated growth and increased efficiency. Knowledge is power and using data more effectively will also have the same benefits, as will making sure all your technology is customer focussed. It all sounds fairly logical and sensible, but at the same time rather technical and most likely expensive too.
Technology enablement is undoubtedly a specialist area where you need expert advice – get it right and you will reap the rewards, get it wrong and it will cost you dearly. The sort of companies that provide this service up to now have tended to be large and have only really dealt with big manufacturers that can afford their fees. There seems to therefore be a gap in the market for SME’s to access end to end technology delivery capability at affordable prices – the successful providers here are likely to be those that not only enable technology, but those who will deliver quick wins and good ROI at each step of the way. I’m sure that this is an area of business that we will see grow quickly over the coming years, as will the companies that utilise this see themselves grow too – and most likely ahead of their competitors!