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Using Enterprise Software to Achieve a Competitive Advantage

Published on: Feb 04, 2016

In the past few weeks, we’ve discussed the need to establish transparency in the food manufacturing business. While implementing the technology needed to achieve transparency may require investment, there is also a significant marketing advantage that can improve your return on investment; enterprise software.

Consumers are increasingly putting great importance on the origin of their food as well as the methods used to grow and process it. They are motivated by health, safety, and environmental concerns and expect to receive information about food including contents and production practices. As a result, the food processing industry is under increased public scrutiny resulting in a need to provide transparency, traceability, and food safety.

How can food manufacturing transparency provide a competitive advantage?

Whether you sell directly to the consumer or to distributors, transparency can grow your revenue and enterprise software is necessary to provide this transparency. Putting a marketing focus on transparency will let customers know that you are dedicated to transparency in your operations and processes, providing you with a major competitive advantage over companies who only do the minimum required.

Transparency indicates accountability. Customers want their food manufacturer to take accountability for their product rather than hiding problems when they occur. Being transparent puts a “face” on your business rather than an operational “black hole”. Transparency nurtures a certain level of responsibility on the part of the company and gives customers a better idea of where their money is going.

Transparency builds trust. Transparency can help build trust in your brand, making you stand out from the competition and increasing customer loyalty. Because consumers are a large driver of the need for transparency in food manufacturing, companies that deliver on transparency may increase customer perceptions of their product, improving brand equity and product revenue.

Transparency increases customer engagement. Customers typically consider many factors before selecting your product. Some of those are obvious—price, quality, service—while others are less tangible—perceived value and trust in a particular brand. While it may be easy for a competitor to match your price, once you have established trust with your customer or consumer, you will have a significant advantage. Customers will come back again and again because they know what to expect from you.

Transparency reduces the effects of unforeseen problems. When you are using your operational data wisely, you mitigate brand-damaging problems like recalls as you avoid spoilage and eliminate cross-contamination of allergens or contaminants.

Transparency increases your customer focus. When you share data with your customers, you are improving your ability to meet their needs. By extending metrics programs and performance reviews to your distributors, you are forced to be more focused on your customer. Having a customer focus can improve your operations and increase sales.

Are there any risks to transparency?

When you implement transparency using enterprise software, your operations information is more easily available to everyone; not just your customers. Your competitors may try to copy you, but without a dedication to transparency, they cannot be as successful. Also, once you have established trust with your customer, they are more likely to remain loyal to your brand.

Having transparent operations means that you will be under more scrutiny by consumers. This means that it is important that your operations are safe and reliable. In fact, you shouldn’t tout your transparency when it is more important to make your product better first.

Enterprise software improves transparency to the customer

Enterprise software like Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3) is necessary to implement a transparency program. Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3) can help you be more transparent with your customers by allowing you to:

  • Track properties and nutritional content by product
  • Include formulas or recipes in quotes to customers
  • Manage samples for prospects and customers
  • Create Certificates of Analysis by lot and send them with the shipment or sample
  • Track lots across the product lifecycle—all the way through sales.
  • Use business intelligence to better predict demand
  • Be better prepared for a recall
  • Get real-time visibility of consumer preferences
  • Customize your product to meet the unique needs of your distributors

IWI Consulting Group can help you implement transparency in your food manufacturing business with our enterprise software, Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3). Contact us to get started.

To learn more about the need for transparency in your business, download our free whitepaper, Improving Transparency in Food Manufacturing.