Suppose you’ve ever struggled with juggling between spreadsheets to extract information, reading the messy handwriting of an employee from an invoice, or cleaning up the errors made on bills and invoices. In that case, you can tell just how difficult working with manual, outdated methods can be.
As your fresh produce business begins to grow in leaps and bounds, optimizing your workflow to keep up with increasing orders and workload becomes more and more paramount.
Hiring extra hands and training them on making error-free data entries, developing business insights based on data gathered, and making future projections for your business is barely scratching the surface. Your business needs more than that. This is where fresh produce software comes into play.
The right produce software should automatically sync all parts of your business, including inventory, sales, accounting, reporting, and payments. A software solution like Silo is also easily integrated with third-party apps like QuickBook and has a demo you may want to try out.
But you might be wondering at what juncture exactly your business needs fresh produce software. What are the tell-tale signs that it is time to switch things up?
- Frequent inaccurate inventory information
When the volume of daily orders increases, you continuously have batches of perishables shipped in and out simultaneously. Tracking this manually via paper-based forms or spreadsheet programs can be difficult. The process is also prone to errors and can be pretty time consuming.
Most often than not, poor inventory keeping comes at significant costs. One such cost is understocking or overstocking.
The good news is you can tell if your inventory keeping needs an upgrade. The numbers may fail to add up or you may find yourself with excess produce waste. You can eliminate these problems from the equation by integrating a food produce software or ERP solution into your work process. This reduces operational costs, human-related errors, and time spent taking stock by updating numbers in real-time. All your inventory numbers also become more apparent and precise and can be trusted when making orders for new stock.
- Poor decision making from a lack of information
Without software syncing all disparate elements of your business in real-time, it becomes difficult to manage data.
Your decision-making ability may also get hampered by a lack of access to data metrics showing your business performance, accounts, financial data, sales margins, and all other data relevant to the growth of your produce business.
A lot of analysis needs to be done to get the most of this data, which may only be available at the week’s close.
Implementing a fresh produce software makes all relevant data accessible to you by storing it all in one place. You can find all data about sales, finance, accounts, order fulfillment, revenue, and everything from a single dashboard.
A produce ERP software also gives you the luxury of getting a visual representation of all performance metrics, including financials, so you can keep track of profit margins and other relevant data.
Reports are also available in real-time. Gone are the days when it took an entire month or week to compile reports. With fresh produce software, these processes are simplified.
- Difficulty in lot tracking
One problem particular to the fresh produce industry is short shelf-life. The shelf-life of perishables is remarkably short so produce can go bad on the shelves. To reduce this spoilage, wholesale distributors are usually encouraged to employ the First In, First Out Strategy (FIFO), which means the lot that comes in first is shipped out first.
But tracking the lot and expiration date of the produce comprising these lots can be hard to do manually, especially where bulk orders are concerned.
If you have been having high turnovers lately and have had problems recalling lots when issues arise, it’s time to automate your workflow.
Begin by attaching barcode labels to each packaged produce. This barcode should reveal the supplier name, the date it was shipped in, the expiration date, and other relevant information on the scan.
As you ship out, you scan the ID tag or barcode, and all data attached to the barcode is automatically logged onto the database in real-time.
- Increasing customer dissatisfaction
There is the saying that the customer is king, and this applies to all businesses and industries, the fresh produce industry included. Increasing customer complaints is a sign that your business process is gradually becoming more and more inefficient.
Customers want to be sure they’d be able to access what they need in time. If it takes you too much time to sort out their order, chances are that they will be looking for an alternative soon enough.
It gets worse when expired produce is supplied to them. In addition to losing money, you may leave customers disappointed in your company and lead them to stop purchasing from you as a result.
An ERP software like Silo helps eliminate these by streamlining your processes.