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Mastering Snack Manufacturing: 4 Keys for Safe and Efficient Production

Mastering Snack Manufacturing: 4 Keys for Safe and Efficient Production

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Mastering Snack Manufacturing: 4 Keys for Safe and Efficient Production

Feb 1, 2022

John McCurdy
A spread of snacks.

Good news for snack manufacturers—snacking is on the rise. The sector was valued at $427 billion as of the end of 2020 and is forecast to grow at a 3.37% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2026.

For further evidence, consider that 46% of adults are snacking more as a result of the pandemic. With many restaurants still operating at only partial capacity and consumers having more time at home to munch on their sweet and salty favorites, it makes sense that such a spike would occur.

The trend is especially pronounced among millennial shoppers, who represent a growing share of the buying power on the market. About 70% of that demographic actually prefer snacks to traditional meals, and 90% replace at least one meal per week with snacks—with 7% saying that they eat no formal meals at all.

So, what does all this mean for you, the snack manufacturing business professional? First and foremost, it represents opportunity, as your company has a chance to capitalize on this snacking boom and drive greater profits and brand awareness.

However, it also represents a challenge—you need to ensure that your production is as safe and efficient as possible so that you’re positioned well to take advantage of the current market landscape. Read on to learn four keys to balancing these two concerns in the fast-paced and rapidly growing world that is the snacks segment, as well as how enterprise resource planning (ERP) technology can facilitate success in these critical areas.

1. Inventory Management

Whether or not your products require a wide variety of materials to produce, nailing your approach to inventory management should be a high priority for your organization. Without knowing what you have, where it is and what state it’s in, you run the risk of experiencing an unforeseen shortage at an inopportune time, scrambling to complete runs or even using ingredients past their window of freshness.

ERP solutions streamline the process of creating and updating your inventory records, using automated means, including integrations with handheld barcode scanners, to relieve your workers of manual information collection and updating your facts and figures in real time. The system also keeps track of expiration dates and helps enforce a first-expiry, first-out (FEFO) picking method, ensuring that everything used is fit for consumption while also minimizing waste.

One other benefit of ERP platforms related to inventory is the fully digital backend that makes introducing new providers in your supply chain a simple matter. With consumers keen on snacks with functional health benefits, low or no sugar and plant-based ingredients, that additional flexibility to add new sources can be a powerful advantage.

2. Maintenance and Sanitation

When you’re focused on maximizing your production floor uptime to fulfill all the orders rolling in, you’ve got to avoid mandatory maintenance or sanitation interrupting your operations and putting a crimp on the day’s output. That being said, neglecting those two necessities can create even larger problems should your machinery malfunction or a food safety emergency occur.

What your business needs is a way to schedule these crucial activities for periods of prearranged downtime. That could be between runs while fresh ingredients are being pulled for the next production run or during off hours, so long as it gets done and doesn’t interfere with maximizing your yield.

Here, ERP solutions are a game-changer, as they can automatically schedule preventative maintenance and mandatory sanitation for those times when production won’t be in process. You’ll never have to sacrifice efficiency for safety or vice versa ever again.

46%

of adults are snacking more as a result of the pandemic

3. Allergen Management

With about 1 in 10 adults suffering from food allergies and more than 200,000 requiring emergency medical care each year due to related illnesses in the United States alone, allergen management is not a concern that your business can ignore. To protect your customers and brand reputation, you need to not only keep allergens separate in your facilities but also properly label all items that contain them or were manufactured on shared equipment.

The first step in addressing this vital concern is knowing the “Big 9” food allergens, which were most recently released as part of 2021’s Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research (FASTER) Act. The list includes milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy and the most recent addition, sesame.

Even if your products don’t require any of those ingredients, you need the supply chain visibility and traceability that only a dedicated food ERP platform can provide in order to ensure that none of your materials came into contact with allergens in their journey. With end-to-end bidirectional tracking, you’ll know exactly where all of your ingredients have been and where they’re headed in case you need to pinpoint the source of a contamination.

What’s more, an advanced industry-specific offering like Aptean Snacks ERP will have the specialized features you need to keep allergens isolated by capturing what machinery and surfaces they have come into contact with so that they can be thoroughly cleaned before their next use. Such a system also allows you to set all packaging and labeling specifications for your finished goods within the interface, minimizing the chance that undeclared allergens negatively impact your clients and consumers.

4. Operational Analytics

You’ve likely heard before how much power there is in data, and one of the best ways for snack manufacturers to leverage this resource is to review results and determine ways to get more out of their operations. Greater efficiency means better returns for less money, and that’s a goal every business would be interested in pursuing.

As mentioned before, ERP solutions can automatically capture information through integrations, and that includes metrics on your production speed and amount. Then, by applying the robust analytical tools that these systems have, your company can unlock actionable insights that will have a real impact on performance and, in turn, your bottom line.

Additionally, those same functions can help you to identify where losses are occurring during manufacturing, allowing you to address issues and save on unnecessary expenses in the long run. Add it all up, and you’ll see there’s a lot to be gained through crunching the numbers.

Trust a Proven Provider

We’ve covered several of the compelling reasons ERP technology can make a difference for your snack manufacturing business, but it’s important to underscore the point that not all of these offerings are created equal. Only a platform built specifically for the food industry will deliver on all of these fronts.

At Aptean, we have decades of collective food and beverage manufacturing experience, and we’ve put that knowledge to good use in designing our systems for all of the sectors of the market. We know the best practices that lead to success because we’ve followed them in the past, so we build our products to help you do the same.

That’s not all—our solutions are also built on the foundation of Microsoft Dynamics 365, which means they have the familiar, user-friendly interface of other Microsoft applications and also benefit from all of the latest technological updates. Plus, we provide cloud implementations in addition to traditional on-premise installations for those snack companies looking to maximize flexibility and accessibility without sacrificing service and dependability.

Want to hear more about Aptean Food & Beverage ERP and how it can help you master snack manufacturing and the critical considerations that come with it? Contact us today.

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