Improving inventory management in the bakery industry

Strong control over inventory is paramount for all food businesses. But in a sector like baked goods, where freshness is so crucial to the viability of products and entire organizations, its importance is even more pronounced.

But what does good inventory management look like for a bakery business? The cornerstones of visibility over shelf lives and the ability to track stock levels in real time are of course vital. But beyond this, the modern industry demands truly insightful and accurate reporting, quicker and more efficient warehouse processes and a roadmap for scaling up production.

Read on to find out what all this means in practice, and the type of enterprise resource planning (ERP) your bakery business needs to make these standards a reality.

Real-time stock tracking

Producers of baked goods know that to secure the best deals for their ingredients, they need to make smart use of bulk discounts. But they can only maximize the effectiveness of such a strategy if they take a longer-term view of planning. The further a bakery business plans into the future, the smaller the margin for error. For instance, prematurely depleting supplies of a key ingredient can grind production to a halt and cause a financial disaster.

Therefore, visibility over stock levels is essential. And not just visibility; producers need an up-to-the-minute overview backed up by reliable, real-time data that allows them to spot any problems early and take action. If your system can’t provide this, you’ll be at two disadvantages. Firstly, there’s the risk of running out of important raw materials. But this may also mean you lack the confidence to take advantage of bulk discounts - making your ingredient costs higher than they need to be, and your profit margins slimmer.

Reducing wastage

Shelf life management is also a major requirement in the baked goods sector. Not only do businesses have to ensure they don’t run out of ingredients, they must also use them before their expiry dates to avoid wastage. This requires careful planning of resources and the order in which they need to be used. Accurate forecasting is also crucial - given production numbers can change from hour to hour, the ability to accurately predict demand can be invaluable. When producing a range of products with a range of different recipes, this can soon become a complex undertaking.

If producers don’t have it under control, spoilage or wastage will be a frequent occurrence, damaging production schedules and becoming a drain on profits. The right ERP solution allows bakery companies to categorize their stock more methodically by expiration dates to vastly reduce the likelihood of costly wastage. Software like ERP is the key to achieving true “first-expiry, first-out” (FEFO) stock management.

Maximizing efficiency in the warehouse

All food manufacturers striving for improvement need to be quicker, more efficient and more reactive in the warehouse. Bakery is no exception, especially given the ever-changing consumer demand in the sector. To make this a reality, your business may need to look at an overhaul of its business software.

ERP built for the food industry can prime a baked goods producer to introduce a raft of new technologies and standards. From GS1 barcodes and blockchain integration for traceability, to smart scheduling software for optimal palletizing and mobile technology for a more flexible workforce, ERP helps businesses save time and reduce mistakes.

The right software implementation can also make bakeries more agile in the face of changing circumstances. Backed with reliable, high quality data from across an organization, as well as built-in business intelligence (BI) capabilities, producers are empowered to make positive changes to sales, purchasing and production processes.

Scaling up for what’s next

It’s an exciting time in the bakery industry - and there are certainly opportunities for businesses prepared to grab them. Baked goods are as popular as ever, and consumer demand is changing in a variety of exciting ways. Because of this, your bakery is likely to change significantly in the coming years - both in size and product scope. What you need is a software solution that can adjust with the changing size of your business - and even accelerate its growth.

Aptean’s food-specific ERP can bring a business considerable savings in time, money and resources. Straight away, this creates additional capacity that can be used to ramp up production or branch out into new products. Our solution is able to accommodate whatever changes you decide to implement - or whatever the industry throws at you - to help you maintain the consistency that is so important for growth.

At Aptean, we have years of experience in helping bakeries improve their inventory management to spur them onto the next stage in their development. Our solution, Aptean Food & Beverage ERP, is built for the food industry - and can be optimized for the specific needs of your bakery. To learn more about how we can help your business, get in touch with the team today!