Food and beverage inventory software is a tool designed to help manage inventory for manufacturers and companies in the food and beverage industry, including inventory tracking and purchase orders.
Food and beverage inventory management solutions are often associated with restaurant inventory management, but this category of software is in fact tailored towards the manufacturing aspect of food and beverage products. While there are several tools and functions that restaurant inventory management software may possess that are similar to a food and beverage inventory management system, there is also a bevy of management features that are specific only to the latter and vice versa. Some of these features include, but are not limited to, bills of materials, work orders, barcode scanner tool and other production- or manufacturing-related functionalities.
Inventory management is among the most crucial aspects of operating or working in the food and beverage industry. This is mainly because of the fact that you are dealing in perishable goods; i.e., products that have an expiration date. Having too many perishable goods in your inventory can lead to waste and loss of profit, especially when you’re unable to unload, liquidate or sell the products in time before they expire. On the other hand, falling short on your inventory counts or stocks can also have an adverse effect on your operation, such as possible delays in the fulfillment of orders and loss of revenue. This is where food and beverage inventory software comes in as a manufacturing solution.
Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation operating in the food and beverage industry, your operation requires a delicate balance and the implementation of robust food and beverage inventory software to help reduce waste and maximize revenue. There is no doubt that inventory management can be a difficult challenge, even for larger and more established food and beverage operators, without an effective means of managing and controlling inventory.
With the right inventory management solution, companies and manufacturers can successfully realize significant improvements not just in how they manage their stock levels, but also in controlling wastage, ensuring product traceability and maintaining regulatory compliance. Most big manufacturers and enterprises, however, will often go with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution to help them figure out the most efficient approach when it comes to taking control of their food and beverage inventory management process. Unfortunately, an ERP system is not always the best or most cost-effective option for smaller operations, as it can require a great deal of effort and resources.
This is where cloud-based or SaaS food and beverage inventory software services come in. Inventory is at the core of any food and beverage operation, from manufacturing to restaurants and catering businesses. Without a consistent method and a reliable solution for managing and controlling inventory, companies are more likely to end up with a costly manufacturing process, poor and less profitable outcomes, more difficult supply chain management and riskier regulatory compliance practices.
There are many different stages that are involved in the manufacturing of food and beverages, from the acquisition of the raw materials to fulfillment. An inventory management solution is just one part of a smorgasbord of software systems designed for the food and beverage industry. For instance, food and beverage inventory integrates with accounting, fulfillment, compliance and order management to deliver a more comprehensive system that spans every step of the manufacturing lifecycle, from beginning to end. An ERP system can easily facilitate all requirements for food and beverage companies, while software-as-a-service food and beverage inventory systems rely on seamless integration to deliver the same functionalities.
A good example of a feature-rich food and beverage inventory software product is Yellow Dog inventory management system. It delivers a robust food and beverage inventory system for F&B operators, regardless of size and the type of operation. Yellow Dog’s F&B inventory system works seamlessly with a number of leading point-of-sale (POS) systems in the food and beverage industry as well as the hospitality industry as a whole. It supports single location businesses, multi-store chains as well as commissary operators. The vendor includes a mobile inventory app, which enables users to perform real-time physical inventory counts, on-hand lookups, manual adjustments, capture item images, item properties, stock transfers and requests, just to name a few.
Among the fundamental features of F&B inventory management solutions is the functionality for ensuring regulatory/industry compliance; i.e., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) compliance. Any business that operates in the food and beverage industry is under the authority of the FDA, and it is within the interest of that business to comply with the rules and regulations of the Administration if they wish to operate their business and avoid hefty fines and legal problems. Most F&B inventory systems in the market provide users with some type of tool or solution to help them meet industry standards and requirements. This includes tools for product expiration tracking, lot and serial traceability, inventory audits and handling yields.
Food and beverage inventory software gives you the ability to track your products based on their lot number and expiration date. This is an important function, especially if you consider the critical nature of perishable goods. You have to always be on top of your products’ expiration dates. It’s also crucial to be able to easily track your goods wherever they might be in the distribution and/or fulfillment process, in case you might have to recall products for various reasons. Lot numbers and expiration dates are two of the most crucial elements for inventory tracking that food and beverage operators can use to effectively manage their inventory.
Many F&B inventory management solutions also provide a native app that enables users to transform their tablets and smartphones into handy barcode scanners. They can use the software to print QR or barcode labels and then attach them to specific items, shelves and containers. They can just scan the QR or barcode to pick, transfer and/or reorder certain items that are running low on stock. When the F&B inventory software is seamlessly integrated into a POS system, every time an item is scanned during checkout, it will automatically reflect on the inventory data. This way, users will have real-time information on the inventory levels of every item.
For manufacturers, the food and beverage industry is arguably the most challenging, especially when it comes to optimizing inventory tracking and control. The complexity of having to manage products or goods that have a shelf life is not only difficult, when done poorly it can have a substantial impact on the company’s bottom line. This is why having the right food and beverage inventory software is crucial to the proper optimization of inventory control and management process.
One of the biggest benefits of implementing the right F&B inventory solution is the traceability that this type of software provides, especially when it comes to the visibility of the supply chain and its importance when dealing with goods that have a relatively short shelf life. This very important for F&B manufacturers and inventory managers as it affords them the ability to easily account, track and trace every item in their inventory in real time. Clear and consistent visibility into the supply chain is exactly what a good F&B inventory management solution is designed to deliver.
The total and complete visibility into each step or every movement of goods within an inventory through the supply chain can result in greater efficacy and efficiency along every touchpoint, from the demand forecasting process to material purchasing, product manufacturing, sales, distribution and fulfillment. A software solution that is designed to manage and track inventory in real time can be very useful in locating each item or product regardless of where they are in the supply chain. This will also significantly reduce the occurrence of mismanaged, mishandled or misplaced inventory.
Automation is something that many top-tier food and beverage inventory software products can provide businesses and manufacturers in the F&B industry. This is beneficial to businesses of all sizes when you consider that automation can result in greater efficiency and productivity, which will then significantly impact the overall profitability of the operation. A smart and well-designed F&B inventory management solution has the power to leverage automation technology to facilitate the key inventory requirements and processes of F&B operators, improving the efficiency of their procurement process, production, sales, distribution and fulfillment.
Finally, good F&B inventory software is capable of scaling with the inevitable growth of your business operation. Some of the best software products and services in the market are tailored to scale and evolve to match the ever-changing requirements of the company they serve.
Food and beverage inventory software is a crucial tool for food processors, F&B manufacturers, distributors and other operators in the food and beverage industry. It is equipped with features and capabilities that enable them to identify mission-critical goods as well as track items at any stage of the supply chain.
The software also provides tools that help users evaluate existing and new suppliers, distributors and retailers. There is also the compliance aspect that is very important in a type of business that is heavily regulated and deals with perishable products. For small businesses looking to implement this type of software in their F&B operation, there are vendors and service providers that offer a free trial or a free version of their product.