Well-planned software integration offers a world of possibilities for a modern food company’s efficiency and overall operations.
It can promote increased visibility
in the organisation – such as in sales planning, labour and material planning, and inventory management – and help business owners and managers act proactively and with greater confidence in their future decisions.
But unlike when introducing new plant machinery or personnel training, there could be a long way towards proper, timely software adoption. Certain prevailing systems, attitudes and practices can get in the way of full automation. They can leave the company stuck in the old ways, such as accounting systems and spreadsheets that, while helping run the business, may not provide the efficiencies that integrated software can deliver.
People and Management
There are a number of people-related factors that can affect software integration. For one, tech adoption requires organisation-wide consideration.
There could be some uncertainties or apprehension around having people deal with software, particularly if the current labour force is not used to working with computers or if management has learned to cope with numerous manual operations and administrative burden.
Some people may find it the natural way of things to keep deploying additional heads to perform the manual work they have been doing for many years. The company culture and mindset of manual work-orientedness could prevail and prevent effective tech adoption.
The idea of automating business processes through a software solution may also come from an outsider in the company, someone who has had the experience elsewhere. Software integration could be the outcome of discussions with accountants, consultants, and industry colleagues that have encountered inefficiencies tied to long, labour-intensive, manual operations in the organisation.
If there is minimal to no exposure to the concept of integrated software – as well as experts who know its potential benefits – one may get stuck in outdated business systems, keep flying blind, or stay within a reactive type of operations rather than drive one’s own actions.
Other areas of the business perpetuate manual work-oriented mindset and behavior, getting in the way of effective tech adoption. In your company, the following may still be prevailing as the standard way of doing things:
Order-taking through phone or face-to-face dealing
Manual batch and lot control
Daily inventory planning, versus the more proactive monthly or weekly
Impulse-driven supply negotiations versus forward planned purchasing arrangements
Paper-based invoicing and sales reporting
These are not necessarily a bane to your operations and may even be strong keys to survival. Subsistence, however, is not the goal: one has to thrive well and maximize opportunities for growth and expansion. Thus these processes need to be reevaluated so as to give way to the potential benefits of a sound software strategy.
Spending Priorities and Implementation
Budget plays a role in tech adoption, too. In some cases, IT expenditures may be of low priority and often take a backseat to the purchase of new production equipment and other tangible investments. Often times this is due to the belief that software is an expense rather than an investment that can mitigate future expenses and support future growth.
Sometimes, while you may have already decided to transition to automation, implementation could be the main barrier: there is lack of reporting, proper process documentation, and adeptness in using new tools and systems. Decision-makers should pay close attention to this aspect, especially when evaluating IT-related gains and process improvements.
All these demonstrate how software adoption, at the end of the day, is an organisation-wide initiative. Revisiting your company culture and procedures will help you get maximum benefits and returns from your technology investment.
A closer examination of your current state of operations will dictate the real need for an appropriate IT strategy and the shift from manual to fully integrated systems. Learn the 10 signs your food company need new systems
– and view your company’s true state of affairs.