Why is it that after investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a shiny new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, you still find yourself looking at spread sheets when trying to figure out the best plans for production, purchasing, inventory and distribution, decisions that have a huge impact on your bottom line?
The truth is that most ERP systems simply were not built to cope with the challenges of a food company, which are quite different from other companies, such as a car manufacturer. Most ERPs struggle with things like managing shelf life, finding the ideal batch sizes, maximising yield or dealing with reverse recipes and/or reverse material requirement planning (MRP).
The tools most companies use for planning today, such as MRP, older generations of advanced planning and scheduling (APS), or even the most common approach, manual planning in spread sheets, all have one thing in common: they do not offer the planner any kind of ‘intelligent’ decision support, but are based on simple, pre-defined rules (or ‘heuristics’ as they are sometimes referred to).
Functional Food: Perception Vs Reality
Food is an essential part of our lives, and consumer interest in foods and beverages that may provide benefits beyond basic nutrition, or ‘functional foods’, is thriving. These foods for health may consist of a variety of food components and provide additional health benefits that may reduce disease and/or promote optimal health.
These can include, for example, the naturally healthful components in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fibre in certain breads and cereals, calcium in milk, and fortified foods and beverages such as vitamin D fortified orange juice.
Dietary supplements can also contain health promoting functional components. As seen in previous years, the majority of Americans believe that foods have specific health benefits and remain interested in learning more. However, understanding what motivates consumers beyond interest to action is essential to help consumers obtain the benefits of functional foods.