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Key Components of a Bakery Inventory Management System

Key Components of a Bakery Inventory Management System

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Key Components of a Bakery Inventory Management System

Jun 15, 2022

Jack Payne
An assortment of different bread loaves and rolls.

Your bakery is a complex operation requiring consistent execution of specialized processes while ensuring high quality, full regulatory compliance and, of course, a healthy level of profitability. One more matter that can’t get lost in the shuffle and is no doubt every bit as important as any other is inventory management.

After all, without your supplies of ingredients, how can you produce the baked goods that your loyal customers have come to love? And, as consumer preferences shift to include gluten-free, keto and organic varieties, you may be working with new suppliers and materials now or in the near future as you prioritize new product development. This means keeping your inventory organized is even more important than ever.

Of course, that becomes more challenging as your business scales up and volumes increase. Keeping track of all the facts and figures would be impossible for a single individual or even a full team of employees—you need the right technology, namely a bakery inventory management system within an industry-specific enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform, to establish a sound approach.

Here, we’ll focus on the inventory management practices that bakeries should prioritize to unlock improvements, as well as the ways that a dedicated bakery ERP can facilitate dependably excellent outcomes on each of these key fronts.

Real-Time Updates

The primary and most obvious reason your bakery inventory management system needs to update quantities in real time is to make sure that you always have sufficient stock of ingredients to meet your production goals. Facing an unexpected shortage at a critical juncture could result not only in lost income, but also damage to your reputation among clients.

Beyond that, real-time inventory updates are also critical if your bakery wants to take advantage of bulk discounts. Knowing that profit margins in the food and beverage industry are slim, getting the most “bang for your buck” in terms of raw material purchasing can have a significant positive impact on your bottom line, and you have to know what you have room for in the warehouse in order to seize the best discount opportunities.

An advanced bakery ERP like Aptean’s own offering pipes all the latest inventory data into the unified, organization-wide interface—your “single source of truth” for all aspects of operations. With our solution, you’ll always know that the numbers you’re looking at reflect the latest changes, and you can thus make informed, agile decisions when it comes to purchasing and re-ordering.

Automations and Integrations

On the subject of updates to your inventory system, you no doubt know how much work can be involved in the information collection procedures necessary for good inventory management. Doing it all by hand is time-consuming, and worse, prone to human error and memory issues that can compromise the data in your system.

That’s why automating the process with handheld barcode and QR code scanners is the preferred approach in modern bakery settings. When all it takes is the squeeze of a trigger or push of a button to record volumes, varieties and other data from critical tracking points (CTPs) along the supply chain, the entire exercise goes much faster and can be trusted for accurate results.

An ERP platform designed for companies like yours should have the capability to wirelessly integrate with your scanners so that the most recent readings are relayed right away and updates are applied. Meanwhile, your staff will be able to take care of their data collection tasks much more efficiently, freeing up more time to concentrate on other critical functions.

Expiration Management

Shelf life plays a huge role in the bakery sector, as today’s discerning shoppers expect the products they purchase to be at peak freshness and never stale. That puts the onus on your personnel to make sure that date ranges are recorded correctly and finished goods are picked for order fulfillment using the first-expiry, first-out (FEFO) methodology.

The same goes for your raw ingredients, as anything that you don’t use within its window of viability represents a financial loss through waste. Spoilage can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line if not enough attention is paid to proper management of expiration dates, as you’ve already invested in the assets and can’t recoup those expenses if they go bad before being incorporated in your items.

Good bakery ERP systems have tools dedicated to the practice of expiration management, prompting your personnel to pick the right lots of raw materials to get the most out of what you’ve already purchased. Automatic alerts can also be set up to notify your employees of any goods approaching the end of their date ranges so that they can be utilized before they are compromised.

Demand Forecasting

Knowing what to expect in the months ahead can be a huge advantage in your bakery’s inventory management efforts, as that foresight will allow you to tune your raw material purchasing precisely according to expected demand. Optimizing your stock levels with additional insight into the future helps you ensure that you’ll have enough supplies on-hand to capitalize on a surge in demand and seize revenue-earning opportunities.

Likewise, if you can foresee a drop-off in the popularity of a particular line or offering, you can scale back your purchasing for the associated ingredients and thereby prevent unnecessary waste that might occur if you were to automatically re-order at previously specified levels. Whether it’s a seasonal decline or the beginning of the end of a particular product’s lifecycle, you’ll be in the know and can plan in advance.

How, though, do you create reliable demand forecasts so you can unlock these benefits? Again, a bakery management system with ERP technology is the answer, as platforms built for the sector have tools that combine past sales data with emergent trends to give you reliably accurate projections that inform smarter inventory management.

Getting the Edge with an Aptean Solution

If reading this post helped you realize that an excellent bakery inventory management system is necessary for continued success in the future, then now is the time to invest in the technology that will facilitate success on that front going forward. The great thing about purpose-built ERP software is that it serves not only in this capacity but in many other vital areas of operations.

Aptean’s bakery ERP comes packed with modules that help you tackle quality assurance, regulatory compliance, traceability, supply chain management and more. That’s on top of the cutting-edge inventory management features it offers, powered by the latest in integrations, automations and analytical functions that keep you a step ahead of the competition.

One more reason to consider us your preferred provider for bakery enterprise solutions is our long track record, with thousands of successful implementations to date, and in-depth expertise derived from decades of collective food and beverage industry experience. We also offer cloud deployments on a software as a service (SaaS) model for maximum flexibility, security and accessibility.

So, ready to hear more about Aptean’s bakery ERP and how it can boost your inventory management performance? Contact us today, or schedule a personalized demo.

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