A future in the clouds: selecting the right solution for food and beverage

As the food and beverage industry becomes increasingly competitive and fast-paced, manufacturers that fail to update technology and processes will eventually fall behind. In order to increase profitability and maintain growth, businesses will need to rethink the way they operate and consider bold new strategies, particularly when it comes to deploying critical business applications.

With cloud deployments gaining momentum, more food and beverage manufacturers are considering the benefits that can be derived from Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) rather than on-premise implementations. Selecting the right vendor that can help the business evaluate both a cloud and an on-premise solution is critical to adequately compare options and is often the most important factor for overall return on investment (ROI). When selecting a new system for cloud deployment, manufacturers should consider the following:

  • Does the solution provide the same level of functionality as the on-premise version?
    Companies should search for a system that delivers flexible, industry-specific functionality to minimize the need for customizations. This includes tools to solve challenges such as short shelf life, attributes, yield, and catch-weight.
  • Is it a complete suite that will help to unify operations?
    Manufacturers cannot maximize the benefits of cloud implementation if they have to deploy numerous separate applications just to keep production up and running. Companies should select an option that provides all functionality that is critical to their specific businesses within a unified suite, including capabilities for forecasting and demand planning, tracking and traceability, and recipe management. A single solution in the cloud will create enterprise-wide visibility and help to streamline operations for greater efficiency.
  • Is it secure?
    Security is often the number one concern for companies considering moving to the cloud. Manufacturers should confirm that the solution follows industry best practices and protocol to protect data from compromise. Checking to see if vendors have a dedicated business unit tasked with the implementation and deployment of cloud technology is often a reliable way to confirm that security is a priority and that consultants have extensive experience with SaaS-based implementations.  
  • Is the solution available with flexible pricing options?
    Seeking out a subscription-based pricing model helps to reduce upfront expenditure and gives food and beverage companies the flexibility to add additional functions and users as the business grows or becomes more complex. A per-user-per-month model increases transparency for cost projections and allows manufacturers to realize all the benefits of the cloud without committing to a rigid contract that may no longer meet their needs in a just few short months. 

Moving critical applications to the cloud allows food and beverage manufacturers to generate savings and increase ROI, while simultaneously utilizing industry-specific functionality built with their unique challenges in mind. Cloud deployment will also support globalization, creating a more flexible IT environment, and allows companies to capitalize on the latest applications without the need to invest in additional infrastructure or staff.  Organizations should begin to ask how, rather than why, they should move to the cloud in order to keep pace with competitors and remain poised to take advantage of the next wave of technology innovations.