The food industry is undergoing a profound transformation, driven by the increasing demand for transparency and accountability from consumers and regulatory agencies. In response, food companies are turning to digital solutions to enhance traceability and food safety, which can bring significant benefits to the industry. However, this journey is not without its challenges and often times what we experience is that although the scale of the challenge may be larger, many of these will come up if you are a large, corporate organization or even an SMB sized operation.
Let’s start with the benefits:
First, digital solutions provide greater transparency into the entire food production process, from farm to table, enabling companies to identify and respond to issues quickly.
Second, these solutions automate manual processes, reduce errors, and increase the speed of traceability, improving overall efficiency and reducing costs.
Third, digital solutions help companies comply with regulatory requirements and meet the standards set for food safety and traceability.
And finally, real-time monitoring and tracking of food products with digital solutions enhance food safety, reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses and protecting consumers.
However, implementing digital solutions also presents several challenges.
The forefront often can be the cost of software, hardware, and training which can be significant. The more complex the solution (ERP etc.) generally the more challenging the integration and adoption.
The most common challenge though is the resistance, or nervousness around change. Many companies resist change, particularly those that have been using manual processes for many years. Overcoming this resistance and gaining employee buy-in can be challenging but the right solution which focuses on all ends of the communication change, from the front to the back can help with adoption and overcoming change hesitancy.
Certainly one of the more complex challenges that can present itself is the management storage and integration of data generated by digital solutions. Of course there is a benefit at a certain size in using the cloud to host much of your digital data needs, but for those companies with limited resources and IT capabilities who seek on-site storage, then it does need to be considered. Integrating new technology with existing systems, such as ERP and CRM systems, can be a complex process requiring expertise and resources as well.
With any decision, each individual business needs to make the best one for them at this time, and for the future. Regardless of the challenge your operation may face in taking steps towards digital transformation, once you overcome the obstacles and work through the process the rewards will be evidently clear.