Process Optimization in the Food and Beverage Industry Using a Frontline Workforce Platform

Jul 5, 2023 10:50:00 AM . Julia Walsh

Like many other industries, the food and beverage industry faces multiple challenges, including process management, supply-chain issues, changing consumer preferences, and ensuring the correctness, quality, and timeliness of product deliveries. Frontline workforce platforms can go a long way toward addressing these challenges. Let’s take a look at how.


Understanding Value-Chain Challenges:


A recent post in Global Market Insights highlights the many problems that exist in the food and beverage industry.


Eliminating Plastic: The first major issue that most food and beverage companies have to deal with is the elimination of plastic from the supply-chain and manufacturing processes. To do so, companies must use recyclable, reusable, or biodegradable material, which proves to be a major challenge depending on the processes and packaging currently in use. Every time a company resolves to be more sustainable and move toward a larger commitment to a circular economy, process owners need to reengineer every aspect of the product delivery and ensure the commitments are met with the least cost impact and the highest possible product integrity. 


Changing Preferences: The next concern for food and beverage manufacturers is the trend of veganism and increasing health consciousness that drives consumers to choose products with different ingredients than the previously‘“standard” products. This change in consumption patterns and demand for more variants means that more recipes and ingredients are passed through a similar production process but with enhanced diligence. Inability to maintain the requisite variety and the process discipline it demands can lead to customer loss or even worse problems like complicated lawsuits and the erosion of brand identity.


Stronger Oversight: Organizations like the EPA, the FTC, the FDA, and OSHA are extremely diligent and want proper product treatment, complete supervision, requisite traceability labels, and a clean and hygienic production and delivery environment. While most businesses adhere to these norms, internal and external process changes can be complicated to implement from a compliance perspective depending on the kind of process being adapted. Digital platforms can go a long way toward ensuring compliance with minimal effort, as long as the right forms are implemented and the data collected is also stored and preserved in the platform itself.


Quality Challenges, COVID, and the War: Quality has been a paramount consideration for the food and beverage industry, with cases of improper warehouse storage conditions, delays in transportation, and inclement weather leading to damaged products or raw materials. Communication is an important part of preserving product quality when supplying perishable goods across the world. Supply chains need to be well connected with perfectly planned logistics. Cloud-based networks can do a world of good, along with process applications, which are structured to deliver value without raising costs. Cross-contamination is another major concern for food and beverage companies; there are multiple product recalls currently in place as a result of suspected contamination and inadequate prevention measures.


The COVID pandemic has also done its part to damage the global food and beverage supply chain and the operational capabilities of various food and beverage manufacturers. This led to food shortages and market uncertainty that persist even today. A lack of workers and the mass exodus of certain workforce cadres during the peak of the pandemic pushed manufacturers to look to digital tools.


The war in Russia and Ukraine has also contributed to food shortages, especially raw ingredients like barley and wheat, which is a supply-chain issue for food processors and beverage manufacturers around the world.


Turning It Around With a Frontline-Workforce Platform:


According to Statista, the food market is supposed to grow at 6.1% CGR with a revenue of 9.43 trillion US dollars in 2023. So all is not dark and gloomy for food and beverage manufacturers. Rather, the key is to leverage technology to fight inflationary energy costs, address traceability concerns, maintain quality, and ensure product integrity, all while becoming more efficient, more intelligent, and more digital.


Today’s consumers want to know not only where their food was produced but also how it was produced and what impact the supply chain had on the environment. They want supply chains to be held accountable and use circular practices. All of this calls for more oversight and more visibility. This is where Webalo comes in.


So, how does a worker-optimization and digitization platform help food and beverage manufacturers achieve excellence?


The Webalo Platform addresses all the food and beverage industry’s challenges in all areas and at all process stages: supply chain, manufacturing, warehouse management, perishable raw materials, and packaged finished goods. Let’s consider supply-chain visibility as the first example. With a platform that allows apps to be deployed across supply-chain partner networks and their frontline workforces, it is easy to track materials as they move through the supply chain.


From the time produce is procured from a farmer to the time it is delivered to the processing plant and moves through the production process, each and every aspect of product, quality, and visibility is recorded within these applications.


There are multiple challenges within the production process around maintaining the right quality, ensuring there is no cross-contamination, and ensuring that the right recipe is followed and the process is executed exactly as planned. When it comes to the treatment of raw material and food processing, whether it be controlling and recording cook temperatures or boiling/frying conditions, the Webalo Platform helps ensure the right recipe is followed by the frontline workforce each time.


With Webalo a plant’s whole manufacturing process is controlled through a single platform. Each recipe is stored digitally, each asset is monitored with bottleneck alerts in place, and each work instruction is conveyed through the platform in time with the production schedule. With a platform that allows real-time data capture, digital work instructions, and the ability to track and trace each individual batch as it is processed, quality products are always produced with the right recipe and through the right process.


The Webalo Platform is a necessity for food and beverage manufacturers. It helps them deliver greater value to their customers through ensured oversight and helps them meet compliance norms through securely and correctly stored data. Everything from the packaging to the label that goes on the final product and the master carton can be generated through a single platform. All the data is traceable and present for analysis through the Workforce Intelligence Center.  


Webalo delivers end-to-end traceability, which is a mandatory requirement for the current generation of food consumers. For manufacturers dealing with multiple dietary requirements, vegan trends and competing vegan brands are a challenge. Dealing with a multiplicity of recipes and ingredients that may or may not be included in a given product complicates process execution and recipe management. The digital frontline workflow platform becomes extremely important in this instance, as it allows for the clear bifurcation of individual recipes and ensures that recipes are followed exactly as per spec. Pictures and other evidence can provide confirmation of proper recipe execution throughout the process. 


With Webalo at your disposal, your process owners can execute their jobs with 100% precision and also gain insight from the data they have collected through visualization, which leads to optimization. The platform also allows frontline workers and other stakeholders to further improve through collaboration. With the right platform in place, food and beverage manufacturers can better collaborate with their inventory and supply-chain partners and also ensure that their processes are compliant. They can deliver the maximum value to their own customers with the required amount of traceability, thereby reducing the negative effects of shortages, supply-chain challenges, and even wars!