Industries across the board are benefiting from digitizing their processes. They’re adopting new line–of–business apps, launching new services for customers and employees, and turbocharging their operations with technology in all kinds of ways.
Food is one such industry. Businesses everywhere have used the power of digital transformation to improve operations in food manufacturing and drive efficiency and productivity in food services. Let’s look at how they’re doing it.
Collecting and harnessing factory data
Today, thanks to the low-code revolution, organizations can now more easily and quickly build their own bespoke apps to enhance productivity in the food manufacturing chain. Platforms such as Microsoft Power Apps can be used to put powerful new mobile applications in the hands of workers on the factory floor.
These apps can be used to input and collect data on equipment performance or safety inspections, for instance. Such data is instantly stored in the business’s systems along with other related data, and analytics can then be applied to gain insights that can help to achieve more efficient, productive, and safer manufacturing operations. Data can also be collected by “Internet of Things” sensors throughout the factory, providing real-time, at-a-glance information on operations to workers via their mobile devices or computers.
Strengthening the supply chain
Data gathered via such sensors or mobile apps can also be used throughout the food manufacturing and distribution supply chain to improve operations. With supply chains working on a “just in time” basis, opportunities to enhance efficiency in any way are extremely valuable.
And it goes beyond efficiency into business continuity itself. According to KPMG, digital transformation is increasingly important to businesses seeking to develop vital supply chain resilience to weather future disruption.
Helping and empowering restaurant and bar staff
The same technology used to improve operations in food manufacturing can also streamline work in restaurants, bars, and other food service businesses. Mobile apps could be created for employees, which can be used on devices provided by the company or their personal devices if permitted.
Using platforms like Power Apps, organizations can now cost-effectively craft these employee-facing enterprise apps around the unique needs of their businesses and workers. Information workers and other behind-the-scenes employees have long benefited from the “digital workplace”, but “frontline” (or “firstline”) workers have often been left behind when it comes to positive technological change. However, the new ease, speed, and affordability of developing solutions means their time has finally arrived.
Connecting the kitchen, servers, and others
The possibilities are huge and growing all the time, as businesses discover innovative ways to enhance food service operations with the power of technology. Here are just a few:
- Managing employee scheduling, staffing, and time recording
- Coordinating food and drink orders, preparation, and serving
- Monitoring and recording stock levels and ordering more
- Providing information resources (e.g., employee manuals)
You can also use technology to empower people on the other side of the cash register. Customer-facing mobile apps can also be easily created to create new experiences for the people you’re serving. These could allow them to:
- Order food and drinks from their table without waiting for a server
- Discover new promotions, products, or services and engage with your brand
- Make orders for home delivery or collection from your premises
- Take part in your loyalty scheme (e.g., collecting points)
And, of course, with your very own branded customer-facing app, you can also collect consumer data and use it to fine-tune your services, develop innovative new ones, and personalize customers’ experiences. I could write a whole article on this subject alone, but let’s just say this: it’s a very valuable area for businesses to explore.
Harnessing worker insights to improve operations in food manufacturing and services
As mentioned previously, the possibilities here really are expansive. Can you think of a business process in your own organization that’s not working as well as it could? Is it slowing down operations or resulting in mistakes? And is this bad process creating unhappy customers and dissatisfied employees? It’s highly likely that you can digitize this operational bad apple and create a new version that’s much more effective.
That’s the beauty of low-code platforms like Power Apps – non-technical specialists such as business leaders can play a far bigger and better role in imagining and creating technology solutions to their business problems. You can even harness the insights of your staff themselves – the ones who know best how your processes work and could be improved – to ensure your new technology does exactly what it needs to do.
If these processes have been shaped by employees’ input, to fulfill their needs, your employees will take far greater ownership of your technology solutions. They’ll be more enthusiastic adopters and advocates, and more effective users. And that’s the cherry on the cake.
Would you like to learn more about how technology can improve operations in food manufacturing and services businesses? Get in touch with us today.