Australia’s food and beverage (F&B) industry is among one of the most dynamic and competitive industries in the world and it is driven by consumers who are looking for greater quality, diversity and value in their F&B choices. The Australian economy holds the world record for the longest period of growth among developed economies, and the food and beverage industry significantly contributes to its powerhouse economy. What’s more is that changing consumer shopping behaviour, a shift towards private label products and entrance of overseas retailers is significantly influencing the industry’s trading conditions—thereby presenting exciting opportunities for wholesalers and retailers.
The Australian F&B industry relies on top-notch supply chain efficiency. Regardless of the size of the company, there’s an increasing need of closely linked and thoroughly monitored complex production processes that comply with industry-wide manufacturing instructions and ensure a steady delivery capacity.
Australia—A Premium Global F&B Supplier
Local niche producers and multinationals have cemented their place in the Food and Beverage sector and their products have solidified Australia’s reputation as a global F&B supplier. Furthermore, Australia’s climatic variance and multicultural population has further diversified the sector’s offerings.
Following are some of the many areas of the Austrade that provide endless business opportunities:
- Food packaging: This industry sector offers tons of biodegradable options and long-distance solutions.
- Organics and wholefood: Covering over 35 million hectares, Australia has the largest area of certified organic farmland in the world. Moreover, industry revenue is expected to amount to $2.2 billion with a forecasted growth of 18.2% in the current year.
- Functional food: This sector involves production and distribution of foods that provide health benefits, including “low-in” and “free-form” foods.
- Dairy sector: This sector involves the use of innovative technologies that can extract and purify proteins.
Another reason why the Australian food and beverage industry is critical to its economy is the large number of jobs it creates. Furthermore, well-established R&D institutions like the Dairy Cooperative Research Centre, Australian Wine Research Institute and Food Science Australia play a significant role in the country’s superiority in the field. Apart from being a major contributor to exports, the F&B sector is set to further enhance and solidify its position in the domestic market over the coming years.
Drivers of Change in the F&B Industry
It doesn’t come as a surprise that the food and beverage industry is evolving at a rapid pace in response to new business models, technological advancements, changing consumer demands and structural economic changes.
A major driver of change in the F&B industry is vertical integration and consolidation. Drivers of innovation, SMEs, are being acquired by business giants to bring innovative ideas to fruition. Moreover, growing awareness of waste management and sustainability issues has led to an increased focus on using biofuels and new waste reduction methods.
On a global scale, consumers are diversifying and are demanding protein-rich, high-quality food, along with transparency about its supply chain and origin.
Technology is another driver that has changed how food and beverages are manufactured, produced, distributed and marketed, enabling the production of new products with:
- Enhanced nutritional profiles
- Improved shelf stability
- Reduced environmental impact
- Attributes that meet changing health needs
Furthermore, predictive analytics and big data are providing valuable market insights that are used to get the right products from the supplier to the retail customers in a timely fashion. State-of-the-art technologies such as distributed ledgers (blockchain), automated order management systems and barcoding practices are fuelling R&D interests across the whole supply chain.
Challenges Faced by F&B Wholesalers
Australia’s F&B wholesalers must overcome several challenges to take advantage of the industry’s emerging opportunities:
Competitive Business Environment
It’s becoming hard for wholesalers to remain competitive with international and domestic wholesalers who are operating in areas with less rigid regulatory environments.
The cost of food waste in Australia is estimated to be nearly $20 billion each year. Another 2.2 million tonnes are disposed of by the industrial and commercial sector. The food waste, when sent to landfills, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
As a result, the food and beverage industry is actively looking into innovate solutions to meet the waste management demands, including improving energy efficiency, reducing input costs and waste volumes.
Fragmented Supply Chain
Traceability issues, inability to maintain inventory of products in stores and warehouses are some of the many inefficiencies caused by fragmented supply chains in the F&B sector.
What’s worse is that a survey of a thousand businesses in the U.S. concluded that 24% business don’t track inventory, while 8% of all small businesses still use pen and paper for inventory management.
Keeping up with consumer demands and effective inventory management are some of the major challenges that the F&B industry faces today. What wholesalers and retailers require is an order management system (OMS) like OrderTron that automates order management and order processing, thereby resolving the challenges of increased consumer demands and fragmented supply chain.
How an Order Management System Helps
OrderTron is a B2B wholesale cloud-based solution that allows suppliers to keep up with the demand pressures by improving their order management processes.
What this means is that the software seamlessly connects foodservice suppliers to retail customer segments such as restaurants, cafes, caterers and commercial kitchens. It does the work of processing, managing inventory, setting orders and determining how much and how often these establishments need to stock up on supplies, thereby keeping track of multiple clients and eliminating the problem of poor communication. It’s not only easy to work with but it’s undoubtedly a valuable investment for small businesses.
Let’s look at some key features that order management systems have to offer:
The Use of Analytics to Forecast Consumer Demand
Business intelligence and data analytics is all the rage right now. These data management solutions collect historical data and use statistics to analyse raw information and deliver valuable insights to the end user that help in making better future decisions. In fact, studies show that the Global Business Intelligence Market is expected to amount to $29.48 billion by 2022.
Similarly, you’ll find analytics and forecasting tools in OrderTron’s order management system. These tools forecast what order levels you should expect in the upcoming months and they also inform you of the projected costs and profits, helping you construct a detailed business overview. They allow you to make well-informed decisions and prepare for unexpected market fluctuations that may throw you off your inventory plans.
Optimize Warehouse Operations
Processing commodities that are used in daily functioning can be a time-consuming process—but not with the use of an OMS. As an online retailer or supplier, you can cut this time down by implementing an online Point Of Sale system. As soon as an order is placed for the consumer, an automated inventory management system can trigger a process that notifies agents in the order fulfilment process to expedite order fulfilment.
Shorter delivery time not only puts your service above your competition, but consistent and timely order delivery also ensures consumer loyalty, which ultimately means more sales. In fact, studies have shown that order processing systems can improve productivity by 25%.
Improved Inventory Management
Order management has a direct relationship with inventory management. The goal is to avoid any situation where customer places an order for a product but you’re unable to meet their demands. Needless to say, your business’s profitability lies on the promises you make to your customers and failing to do so can lead to commercial failure.
Order management software like OrderTron not only keeps up with customer orders but also streamlines your operations by seamlessly integrating accounting platforms and eliminating cash flow headaches.
What’s more is that you can expand your inventory process by integrating different aspects of your POS system, supply chain and accounts. The best part? It ensures order fulfilment in a timely manner.
Product Management Is A Breeze
OMS software is installed with product characterisation function that lets service owners uniquely separate products based on product type. By using product catalogues, you can set pricing tiers and easily implement discounts across each category when needed.
Moreover, OrderTron’s OMS allows you to manage your inventory with separate categories for order and billing units so that you can track the units that you ordered from those which were billed. This two-tier product cataloguing and management service helps owners create effective revenue reports.
Push Notifications for Marketing
With OrderTron, business owners can send push notifications to consumers to inform them of new offers or products which were previously out of stock. Customised notifications allow you to make your marketing efforts even more effective.
An efficient way of keeping up with the challenges and demands of the food and beverage industry is investing in order management software that streamlines all your operations in a functional and timely manner.
OrderTron helps Food Service Suppliers and retailers improve long-term business potentials. They also have an easy-to-use mobile application that takes the pain out of placing and receiving orders. You can learn more about this software here.