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Fruit and vegetable inventory management
Fruit and vegetable inventory management and fresh Produce Stock Control
FarmSoft provides extensive fresh produce stock control of incoming fresh produce & fruit/vegetables from the very moment it is delivered to the pack shed. Comprehensive Fresh Produce Stock Control is delivered via labeling, movement tracking, temperature control, quality control, documentation, and registration of incoming produce – all of which is essential in creating a strong traceability audit trail. FarmSoft provides comprehensive Fresh Produce Stock Control for fruit, vegetable, hop, grain, flower, and other fresh produce.
Easily allocate traceability information for all inventory, allowing rapid recalls and traceability processes to meet the highest international food safety standards. Simple stock-take processes ensure continual accuracy of stock-take information across the entire farm. This minimizes shrinkage and waste, and ensures high levels of inventory accountability.
INVENTORY MANAGEMENT IN FOOD RETAIL IS A BALANCING ACT BETWEEN AVAILABILITY AND SHRINKAGE
A typical characteristic of fruit & vegetable products in the produce category is that suppliers, packaging and prices change throughout the year. Produce buyers know exactly when to switch countries but do they know how much they have to buy? How can they ensure optimum in-store availability without having to make expensive last-minute purchase orders that kill margins?
The supply chain for produce is extremely dynamic. Supply, quality and price depend on the crop yields in different countries. Furthermore, consumer demand can fluctuate hugely from one day to another. As a result, to find the right balance are often real specialists in this area, produce buyers have to be real specialists in this area.
They know the global fruit and vegetables market and they know exactly what is harvested when. For example, in the summer they source their cauliflowers from Dutch farmers whereas, in the winter, they look to Spanish or Italian suppliers. They also have to have a sixth sense when it comes to quality and price. Furthermore, the continuous and timely switch of suppliers is in their DNA.
CALCULATING DEMAND IN UNITS OR KILOS
Buyers of fruit and vegetables know everything about quality, price and country of origin, but are often left in the dark when it comes to the expected consumer demand. Order quantities are based on orders from the past without checking whether these purchase orders were actually right in the first place.
Moreover, the sales of fruit and vegetable are strongly influenced by the weather. If the weather is much better than expected, demand for iceberg lettuce and other BBQ-friendly products will rise while demand for many other fruit and vegetable products drop.
A good forecast is crucial for negotiating the right contracts with suppliers and placing daily orders. However, without the right insight, the risk of overordering and thus avoidable shrinkage is greatly increased. Equally, empty shelves are also more likely as a consequence of under-ordering. Because stock-outs are totally out of the question for many food retailers, buyers often have to place all kinds of additional orders with suppliers; or worse still… the competitors. The prices at this point are obviously much higher and as a result, these last-minute actions are real margin killers!
By distinguishing between generic products (e.g. cauliflower) and varieties of the same product (e.g. Dutch cauliflower, Spanish Cauliflower etc.) we always ensure that buyers have a complete picture of sales performance. Furthermore, the specific units used by different suppliers are automatically converted to the standard unit to ensure no misunderstandings arise.
OPTIMAL ORDER QUANTITY
Suppliers from different countries have different delivery times, delivery periods and pack quantities. In produce, the optimum order quantity is not a single number. Instead, you will have to differentiate the order quantity depending on the country of origin and supplier.
By using software that calculates a reliable forecast of the daily demand, ensuring the optimal order quantity per supplier, a buyer can optimally determine which supplier is offering the best deal. The rest of the process can then be fully automated.
In order to curb the extreme dynamics in supply and demand and make maximum use of the market knowledge of the produce buyers, food retailers must have in place advanced supply chain software. By giving purchase teams insight into the expected demand as well as providing optimal ordering advice, they can concentrate fully on their core responsibilities. Ultimately, by ordering the right quantities, shrinkage and "expensive" rush orders can be directly avoided.
Download the FarmSoft Packhouse Software brochure or watch the fruit packing video.
Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your opportunity to implement enhanced fresh produce stock control in your business today!
FarmSoft has a wide array of fresh produce management features, implement only the features and benefits required for your business:
- Receive fresh produce from your own farms, co-operative farmers, wholesalers, and importers/exporters – whilst maintaining the same high level of traceability regardless of the origin
- Label all incoming fresh produce with unique identifiers that incorporate human readable information such as supplier/origin, fruit & vegetable description, harvest date, delivery date, delivery company, initial storage location, plot/block/crop origins – apply Produce Traceability Initiative / PTI style labels and more…
- Apply bar code labels (which include human readable information as above) to produce to increase the accuracy of inventory management and allow bar-code reading from mobile devices
- Record multiple levels of traceability, one up one down is the minimum, FarmSoft goes further and allows tracking of origin two levels down the supply chain (instead of just one level as is supported by other solutions), providing a truly unique extra level of traceability management
- Describe product upon arrival, including quality, grade, color, size, and more, using ‘features’ that are configured for your businesses requirements.
- Generate receipts for delivery of produce from external farms or suppliers
- Associate deliveries with existing Purchase Orders
- Assign ownership of incoming produce to customers (ie: if you are packing the goods on behalf of another company)
- Manage fresh produce of any type, from fruit and vegetables, to seafood and other meats
- Record the cost of incoming produce, or have it inherited from a Purchase Order
- Easily assign incoming produce to storage areas, for long or short term storage
- Incoming produce can be packed immediately, or stored for any period and packed to order when necessary
- Track details of transport companies immediately upon delivery of fresh produce
- Record expiry dates (where required) for incoming inventory
- Perform regular Quality Control tests at any step during the delivery, storage, processing, washing, packing, or sales & dispatch phases.
Download the FarmSoft Fresh Produce Stock Control brochure or watch the fruit packing video.
Contact your nearest FarmSoft consultant to discuss how FarmSoft can improve your Fruit and vegetable inventory management and fresh produce stock control processes & reduce waste and increase traceability.
Reference: fresh produce cold storage fresh produce distribution.
Accurate Fruit and vegetable inventory management of fresh produce
Ordering goods, fixing prices and controlling losses. These are the three difficulties in the fresh produce industry, and especially for fresh fruits and vegetables. The influence of the weather is considerable, so production volumes aren't stable. Fresh produce is dictated by locality, so it lacks standardisation. The market prices in first tier cities is unstable. There is no branding, so there is almost no costumer fidelity. Transport conditions are bad, there are losses in supply to stores. Even with these conditions, even with so many years of experience, the changing demands of costumers can keep you more than occupied. Be that what it may, are there solutions to connect the links, to create optimal circulation?
"We created the first Chinese retail shop information system. With loss control you order goods, settle the price and effectively buy and deliver or process. You can also analyse sales data, stock data, etc. So it helps chain stores to specialise their management. This means the gains of the system are not only for the store, but for the whole chain of stores," explains Mrs. Wang Jieying from Comteck in Ningbo.
Building an analysis system from sales data
Sales data is the easiest to obtain from a fresh produce chain store, but it is also very easy to overlook the value of that data. It is difficult to analyse the consumer habits from nearby shops based on experience alone. That's where an assisting platform and scientific analysing methods come in. "We are very aware of the uncertainty in the fresh produce industry, like the influence of the weather on production volumes. But in sales, chain stores can perform analyses on the sales data. This way they can estimate the customer demands and use more channels to increase or decrease the stock if necessary. They can also accurately adjust prices according to supply and demand."
Since ordering fresh products, stock management and delivery become more logical, the losses will be reduced. "In stock management, for example, the quality of fresh products depends on the environment. Storing conditions determine the selling phase and preservation time. Our system can clarify the stock situation and short-term demands. Managing personnel can use these two insights to protect the quality by reducing unnecessary movement of goods. Quality will be safeguarded more and losses will be fewer.
Repeatability with profit modelling
The goal of all fresh produce chain stores is to expand the sales volume and to preserve the profit. But consumer patterns differ by region, a problem that every expanding chain store needs to overcome. The profit modelling and business data of the X-SHOP system can help a store to solve these problems and realise a swift expansion of volumes.
"Consumer preferences may differ by region, but basic data like quality standards, stratified standards and analysing methods are the same. If we keep in account sales on the spot and the fast delivery processing, we can collect realtime data of the business. This way we consolidate the management and practical experience. It helps new stores to make management accurate, like getting through bottleneck of low profit margins."
UK: iFiniti Fresh Produce Management Software
iFiniti is being used in companies from all sectors of the fresh produce industry wholesalers, catering wholesalers, importers etc. helping them to become more efficient. iFiniti it has improved the profitability in all the companies where it is used and has given them that competitive edge.
iFiniti is 21st century windows software for the fresh produce industry. The iFiniti developers led by Bob Barrett have been designing software for the fresh industry for over 20 years. IFiniti is constantly being enhanced and clients get the latest enhancements and updates as part of our 24/7 support.
iFiniti Modules consist of:- Purchase Order Processing, Stock Control, Sales Order Processing, Traceability, Invoicing, Quality Control, Transport Cost Management, Marketing, Technical, Intrastat Reports and copious Management Reports. iFiniti integrates with Sage and Exchequer Accounting programs.
There are aspects for importers, primary wholesalers and secondary wholesalers that are essential to each of these businesses. For instance - fresh produce importers buying from Europe or anywhere in the world can track how much stock they have so that they cannot over sell. Primary wholesalers, who buy and sell must be able to have negative stock levels and Secondary Wholesalers who sell to shops, restaurants etc. need to be able to breakdown cartons and sell by the Kg, iFiniti has the ability to work for all these different situations.
The system is modular and can be used by multiple employees from the manager down to casual labour, access to information can be easily given or blocked. The system also has a messaging function. iFiniti is written with SQL server which is a very solid business platform and very robust.
iFiniti will run on Microsoft Surface Pro Tablets. It will also link to Scales so that weights do not need to be keyed in manually.
The future in fresh produce management software
The Future in Fresh Produce Management Software designed for fresh produce companies to operate efficiently and profitably. Used by Companies from all sectors of the fresh produce industry:- Primary Wholesalers, Secondary Wholesalers, Importers and Market Wholesalers etc.
iFiniti is 21st century windows software. Developers have been designing software for the Fresh Produce industry for over 25 years. They know this business. Constantly being enhanced and updated it does not stand still in time like other software on the market. It is written with SQL server a very solid business platform. iFiniti will hold years of information for comparison purposes. Reports are available to give all the information required to make informed decisions.
There are aspects for importers, primary wholesalers, secondary wholesalers and market wholesalers essential to each of these businesses. For instance: Importers buying from Europe or anywhere in the world can track how much stock they have as they cannot over sell. Primary wholesalers who buy and sell must be able to have negative stock levels and secondary wholesalers who sell to shops and restaurants need to be able to breakdown cartons and sell by the Kg. Market Wholesalers who prefer to use touch screen hand held devices such as iPad’s and Mini iPad’s for their sales for efficiency. iFiniti delivers in all these different situations.
Addressing Inventory Shrink
Because fruits and vegetables are sometimes sold by weight rather than by unit, grocers must be able to account for any inventory shrink that may occur. If you order three cases of crackers, you can rest assured that volume won’t change over time. Three cases of avocados, though, will lose weight and value as they approach spoilage, and carrots lose value when shoppers tear off leafy greens they don’t want to pay for. You can’t re-sell those carrot tops alone, after all.
While no single solution can eliminate it, grocers must account for shrinkage in their inventory projections to maintain service levels. A planning solution that integrates shrink data into balance projections will better position planners to place orders that improve availability.
Accounting for Extreme Variability
Such challenges get even harder given a short assortment period. Harvest unpredictability means planners often work with just a one-week horizon for fruits and vegetables. You may expect orange season to begin in late October when planning six months in advance, but plans go out the window if it starts in November — and the same applies for season’s end.
Then consider that orange shipments come from multiple vendors from multiple countries providing multiple variants of orange. Each shipment can fluctuate wildly in amount, size, quality, and price depending on what these vendors can supply — and that’s just for one fruit out of all the fruits and vegetables you stock. Grocers working with long-term order projections need a system that allows them to proactively manage short-term replenishment, ensuring availability while preventing spoilage.
For more predictable products, a time-series forecasting model is quite effective — but even the most accurate historical data is useless in the face of extreme variability. By using a combination of methods, ranging from time-series forecasting to machine learning algorithms, grocers can ensure the most accurate, up-to-date forecasts and replenishment possible. Machine learning can, for example, adjust lifecycle demand patterns to match changing harvest patterns or use localized weather data to connect the dots between warm weather and increased demand for fresh fruits and salads.
The more flexible the planning system, the more quickly planners can adjust to the most recent information available within a short assortment period. A forecasting solution should, for example, let you move a time-series forecast out by weeks if the harvest starts late, while price elasticity can model demand against sell-prices to ensure your order amounts maintain availability and prevent spoilage.
Managing the Complexity of Product Variants
Variability also means fruits and vegetables experience large demand shifts based on availability, quality, and the store’s needs. Low availability is incredibly damaging in fresh, and stores must calibrate purchasing, planogramming, replenishment, and promotions to ensure full shelves. If yellow onions run out, it makes sense to fill that space with red onions, even if it’s not ideal — that’s simple enough. But if a store has too many red onions and not enough yellow, it could promote the red variety to force cannibalization, preventing a stock-out on the low-availability item while mitigating risk of spoilage for the overstocked one.
But one of the greatest challenges — and opportunities — in fresh management might be its massive amount of master data. Few grocers stock a single variant of apple, for example. Most stock a range, such as Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, and Granny Smith — plus the organic variant of each. Of these eight, each item may have multiple product codes that reflect supplier, country of origin, and so on.
Only a best-in-class planning system can effectively manage the volume and complexity of this master data. If you have 20 product codes for cucumbers, the right solution can aggregate those codes and forecast on the group-level rather than forcing planners to forecast each individual product code. It will also let you filter to forecast for locally sourced cucumbers, imported cucumbers, organic cucumbers, and so on.
Transforming the Value Chain
The health of a fresh department is critical to profitability, but suboptimal processes cost grocers millions each year. Of course, no single solution can solve every problem at once, but there’s an enormous, untapped opportunity to capitalize on these challenging ultra-fresh products. To do so, grocers must systematically improve the entire value chain: master your master data, ensure space and replenishment plans can react quickly to changes in demand, improve operational efficiency in stores, and enable longer planning horizons despite short assortment periods.
This kind of value chain transformation calls for close cooperation between a wide range of stakeholders — from supply chain to assortment planners, from planogrammers to purchasing. But those who are willing to redesign and unify their approach to fresh management have an opportunity to turn old challenges into a new competitive advantage.