Within the industrial universe, whatever is the market segment, the waste of raw material likewise signals financial waste. Because of that, companies develop strict standards for quality control and production chain analysis to detect in which processes there are waste and how to avoid them.
For a long time, the issue of input and food waste was part of the food industry universe.
However, better stock and ingredients management practices have been a way out to increase profits up to 10%.
According to the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, food industries from North America waste, annually, about 1.1 million tons of foods and spend about 59 million dollars in their waste management. The goal of any production chain manager is to analyze the most efficient ways and strategies to reduce waste in order to optimize the production and use of raw material.
See below some examples of good practices that may apply to the food industry in order to minimize the waste of input in the production chain as much as possible.
Application of stock control and analysis of input amount
A big part of ingredients in formulations don’t have long expiration date, which means it is even more important to pay attention to avoid waste, material lost and to keep high levels of food safety control.
This term is an important topic in input management. Therefore, to avoid big losses, there is no alternative but the application of intense stock control and deep analysis related to the amount of input acquired.
It all begins with the development of process control and stock analysis. The production requires this procedure mainly because of the vulnerability of raw materials.
In food industry, the companies use a series of control methods that are used periodically to assess quantities and conservation status of inputs. The most efficient practices include:
1. Quantity control
A company that has updated stock numbers at hand suffers less with losses and waste. The control needs to be applied for both inputs and on ready-for-sale products.
This process can be optimized with the use of smart control systems. These tools make this activity more dynamic and agile, besides performing the stock data collection for manager’s analysis.
The checking must have defined periodicity and must be respected by supply chain teams that are responsible for this activity.
2. Stock environment analysis
It may seem simple, but it’s actually an essential aspect in any segment, especially in the food business.
The quality of input stock environment has a direct correlation with conservation and loss. In case the environment is inappropriate, the stock may suffer constant losses.
There are several factors assessed to know what is the stock environment condition. Ventilation, lighting, temperature, humidity, displacement of people, contamination risks and many other aspects are taken into consideration.
Even though it seems something too strict, all the care is not enough, mainly to guarantee food safety to manufactured products.
3. Exact purchases
As the company dominates its processes and maintain control of its production and outflow, the stock management has grown simpler and reports fewer losses, after all, input purchases are also growing more accurate, and are an ideal quantity to feed the entire production chain with no waste or shortage of materials.
To get to this “ideal purchase number” a lot of stock, production line and sales analysis are needed. As companies operate in chains, a holistic analysis of all operations is needed to then define the quantities of inputs to be acquired.
Buying quality inputs as a way to reduce loss
When a company purchases inputs for their products’ production, there is a whole process of supplier selection. In most cases, buyers look for the best value for money.
Striking a balance between quality and price is the goal of all purchase sectors when carrying out input purchase requests.
When the product is not of quality, the company risks losing part of its stock, since this low quality may compromise the input’s life cycle and even affect the final product.
Companies must pay attention to inputs’ origin, mainly to guarantee food safety, which is a daily and constant worry in the food industries universe.
There are some international certifications that are able to give guarantee to industries that the inputs being offered by a certain supplier have the expected quality. They are:
PAACO – PROFESSIONAL ANIMAL AUDITOR CERTIFICATION ORGANIZATION
PAACO is an international organization that has as main activity the analysis and certification of animal inputs’ origin.
Through a strict auditing method, the entity does an interesting work looking for improvement in the quality of products and animals husbandry, an extremely important feature in this market segment.
GAP – Good Agricultural Practice
Globalgap is the most used certification program for agriculture in Europe.
The program is global but was originally created in Europe, where it truly made a change in the market. Higher input quality was required, as well as a further respect for the environment, tillage sustainability and food safety in cultivated products.
HACCP is a food safety evaluation system applied to food industries.
It maps the contamination risks for inputs and products in all production chain and analyzes the viable ways to reduce problems. Its use in Brazilian industries is already pretty known.
Although it seems only one more detail between so much information, the certifications must be taken seriously, after all, producers that offer quality inputs must be kept as good business partners, since they contribute in an essential way for the quality of products made by the company.
Keep a good relationship with suppliers
When a company establishes a good relationship with its commercial partners, there is the possibility of thinking about customization; that is, the development of raw materials that are most adequate to the industry’s needs.
Let’s see an example: imagine a tomato sauce and tomato extract company that establishes a good relationship with its tomato suppliers. As this relationship gets stronger, the industry realizes that it’s possible to create an even better product in case the tomato variety is changed, for example to an Italian tomato.
When a good relationship with a supplier exists, it is possible to have partnerships to foster planting of an adequate tomato species, doing a pre-purchase or signing an acquisition contract before the planting process is done, making the supplier safe to meet the company’s demand successfully.
This is only one example of how customization may optimize products, reduce losses and strengthen market relations.
Do not jump stages in the product development trials
Product development trials are expensive and laborious, but, extremely important to guarantee product’s quality, its production viability and food safety.
There are many tests applied to the food industry, being all intended to analyze the aspects involved in a new product’s conception and in the way it is produced.
To put a product on production trial is a necessary procedure to detect failures in the process and/or problems with inputs used.
To avoid waste, companies must avoid skipping test stages. After all, each stage analyzes the impacts of the production chain and final product’s quality differently.
The three most known types of development trials are the bench trials, pilot plant trials and industrial trials. Bench trials are the simplest and analyze the concept of the product before it enters the production line.
The pilot plant trials analyze how the product and the inputs behave in an industrial production simulacrum. The industrial trials are closest to production reality, being applied as faithfully as possible to a real-world production line process.
These are some of the best practices that can be adopted within food industries to avoid input waste and to guarantee the delivery of good quality products to the market.
Remember that loss reduction is the first step to optimize the company’s profitability and make the industry even more sustainable and less pollutant.
Inputs’ loss had already been considered part of the process. Nevertheless, new production techniques and more efficient stock control strategies are interesting ways to reduce losses.
When these efforts are added to other factors such as the purchase of customized inputs with guaranteed and tested origin, these are other things that give even more strength to the minimization of losses and increase in results mission.