Inventory Management  |  4 Minute Read

Batch and Expiry Tracking For Food and Beverage Businesses

Food recalls happen more often than you think. Hundreds occur every year, mostly related to food poising or other times allergens or foreign objects make into the foods during processing. 

Regardless of the reason, they usually happen after people start getting sick. They cost businesses millions – and consumers their lives.

Recalls are the biggest threat to profitability for food and beverage companies.

If you are a food and beverage (F&B) business, you are always at the risk of recalls. You need to pay attention to your product’s expiry dates and specifically perishable products like fresh produce. They are vulnerable to spoilage due to improper storage. In the event of contamination or spoilage, you need to be ready to run a recall for the affected products. 

 

Batch Tracking: Helps you track your product recalls

In October 2019, Nestlé, the maker of cereals, coffee, ice cream, announced some not-so-sweet news. The company is recalling a few of its signature ready-to-bake Toll House Cookie Dough products “due to the presence of rubber pieces,” according to a company press release. The recall is limited only to the ready-to-bake with batch codes that begin with 9189 through batch codes that start with 9295.

Image Source: https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20191101/nestle-recalls-cookie-dough-for-contamination

Nestlé’s ability to determine the contaminated batches allowed them to alert their customers immediately. Recording batches on your sales orders will enable you to track the locations of your products in the event of a recall, as you will know where the products are. 

The most effective way to deal with a recall is a quick response. An order management system that has the batch tracking abilities will allow you to take a more proactive approach to recalls. You will quickly know what batches are affected and if it was used in any production process. It might allow you to stop the problem even before it reaches your end consumer. If your business does sell directly to consumers (B2C), you will have the ability to see which customer bought this batch and take the necessary action to inform them. 

 

Expiry Date Tracking: Knowing when to clear your inventory

You often see clearance racks for food products where items are sold at a massive discount. Sometimes the discounts are over 50% meaning the seller is probably selling a product without even trying to cover his COGS. 

The reasoning behind this is the product’s best buy dates are incredibly close and the seller needs to get rid of this stock. Recouping any costs is better than having to throw the entire batch away. Discounting items in massive amounts can make a huge dent in your revenue and profits. However, if you can track expiry dates and be alerted when the products are close to an expiry date will allow you to make better decisions much further in advance. 

Having an inventory tracking software provides the needed transparency, so your sales and marketing teams can access the information they need to sell more efficiently. Instead of offering drastic discounts on a massive quantity of expiring products, you can start offering smaller discounts and product bundles earlier.

When you are selling products at a discount, make sure you are alerting your customers about the reason. If they are unaware, you will have to deal with a wave of returns. Usually, when you are discounting items that are expiring, you will be adding a no-refund policy, so you will have to reject your customers, which will result in upset customers and bad reviews. To inform your customers, put up signs on your eCommerce stores, notes in the sales order description that the sale is final and cannot be returned. 

 

Conclusion

Running recalls and monitoring product expiry dates are hard and can require a lot of manual hours. To help ease this pain for your F&B business, Brahmin Solutions provides batch and expiry tracking, so you know where your batches are and when they expire. Have complete audit capabilities in a matter of seconds. Take a look at a case study of one of our customers, Sfoglini, a pasta manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer who depends on our batch and expiry tracking software to be better prepared for product recalls and audits. With this knowledge, they can focus on growing their business across more channels and reduce the time and effort of manually tracking these products on excel spreadsheets. 

 

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