The key to innovation

Apr 24, 2023
  • food

Together we can achieve more than alone. Companies can optimize collaboration within their supply chain by using real-time data exchange between suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers. In the column 'The key to innovation,' Roy Meenderink, our expert in the field of Food, shares his vision about data sharing.

"Are you that old already?" a customer asked me when I recently told him that I have been in the food industry for 38 years. But no, I simply started early. In all that time, I have seen a lot of product innovations pass by in the field of ERP and IT. From using loose spreadsheets and paper, we went to ERP software and 'Bring your own device'.  

Digitisation produces large amounts of interesting data. Data that can be input for product innovation. More and more food companies are embracing Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, IoT and the transition to the cloud. This leads to innovative practical solutions. Such as a bread supplier that uses an algorithm to consider factors such as weather, time of day and demographic factors. The combination of this data determines how much bread of each variety should be delivered to supermarkets. The result? A remarkable 25% reduction in wastage! 

Nowadays, you don't just have access to your own data. With the unlimited availability of data, you benefit from a treasure trove of information to optimise processes and make better decisions. IT is the enabler to develop better products and production methods. However, I still often notice that food companies are hesitant to share their data, such as performance data of machines with the supplier.  

What I have learned in all these years: together you achieve more than you would be able to do alone. A friend once said "sharing is multiplying" and I firmly believe in that. Don't be afraid to help someone else: you can only improve and... that's how real innovation is born! And believe me: you can't start early enough. 

Source: Vakblad Voedingsindustrie

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