Fresh produce is an encompassing term for freshly picked or plucked fruits and vegetables that have not gone through processing. They are also known as perishables because of their short shelf lives, which presents a unique challenge that needs to be addressed when working in produce distribution.
The safety standards in the fresh produce industry are quite high and difficult to uphold without having good inventory practices in place. Perishables are likely to go bad on the shelf without proper stock control and shelf-life tracking.
For these reasons and more, fresh produce software has become commonplace, and is a popular choice among progressive grower-shippers and businesses.
Fresh produce software offers solutions that help wholesalers, growers, and shippers stay ahead of possible recalls, maintain visibility over the entire supply chain, cut down on administration costs, create more efficient inventory systems, and make payments as seamless as possible.
With reliable fresh produce software and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms like Silo, users are guaranteed better control over their processes and margins. Users can access a vendor portal to get reports about the produce they’ve shipped to their distributors, including all relevant metrics like price per vendor and price per shipment.
Benefits of fresh produce software
Fresh produce software presents a plethora of benefits to fresh produce businesses. Some of the stand-out features for grower-shippers are:
1. Help in origin tracing during recall
If and when a recall occurs, a distributor may need to trace the contaminated or recalled produce back to its source in investigating the source of the contamination. The availability of fresh produce information makes this easy. From its database, it’s possible to get information about the produce lot or unit numbers, shipping information, and the supplier’s name.
Based on this information, one can recover the rest of the contaminated stock and isolate or dispose of it as recommended in the recall notice.
Spoilage, improper labeling, or contamination of produce by allergens may trigger recalls, so being able to quickly identify the likely origin point can help minimize losses as a whole.
2. More efficient invoicing and billing
Invoicing is prone to many errors when tracked and sent out manually. It can also be monotonous and time consuming, taking up valuable productivity hours that might instead be directed towards other tasks.
As your business expands, it’s important to have more efficient methods of tracking invoices. Fresh produce software can help in tracking any unpaid invoices, and can help avoid delays by automatically contacting customers about payment timelines when their invoice is due.
Some fresh produce solutions can generate invoices in minutes, and can even settle them as soon as payment is processed and received.
3. Better inventory control
Inventory management is way more manageable when you use fresh produce software. You can easily reconcile both inbound and outbound orders, and maintain near perfect accuracy when using software solutions to maintain oversight over your produce supply chain.
Fresh produce software can update inventory data in real-time and ensures that you are never understocked or overstocked at any point in time.
Some fresh produce solutions like Silo also have a dynamic search button that allows you to look up specific information about any produce item or lot within minutes. There are keyboard shortcuts and smart algorithms that limit the need to memorize item codes. Most software will allow you to enter the first few characters of the item codes, and find suggestions to quickly find items in the database.
You’ll also benefit from high visibility and tracking oversight to properly manage existing lots, and ensure they’re sold and transported on time. Since these software solutions are built especially for the fresh produce industry, they’re also designed to track expirations so that the first produce items shipped in are also the first to be shipped out.
4. Generation of business insights
Proper analysis of data and generating actionable insights can help a business make more informed decisions about their buying and selling behavior.
Through these insights, grower-shippers can understand which produce is doing well in terms of revenue, which suppliers’ produce has the quickest spoilage times, how much is spent on fueling during deliveries, and more. Based on this information, they can make adjustments to their process and optimize areas that need improvement for better performance.
It’s also possible for businesses to compile their performance data from previous quarters and compare it to current metrics to identify trends and overall improvements.
5. Better communication with customers
Fresh produce solutions can aid in smooth communication between suppliers, wholesale distributors, and shippers. Several shipping and contract documents can be seamlessly sent from one end to another, and some offer a centralized portal for collecting and sharing all data relating to lots and purchase orders.
The ability to communicate this way in real-time and access necessary information provides less room for miscommunication or dissatisfaction between relevant parties.
6. Faster payments
The convenience of paying digitally from an invoice is a huge benefit that can be realized using fresh produce software. Automated invoice generation, delivery to customers, and regular payment reminders are all internally managed and tracked, saving you the hassle of manually following up with customers.
Some fresh produce software platforms can also process payments, so customers can make their payments directly after their reminders through their invoices.
7. Data security
Data is an important aspect of any business, and the produce industry is no different. Collecting data on paper, ledger books, and even spreadsheets can be dangerous due to their physical nature. They’re naturally less secure and are more vulnerable to disasters such as fire and flooding. Physical storage also necessitates physical security, which means hiring additional personnel and driving up your costs.
Using software not only eliminates the need for physical protection, but it can host your network data on the cloud, which means you’ll never run the risk of data loss due to any physical, location based issues.
Any fresh produce business can benefit from the better traceability, accurate inventory management, and improved interpretation of data provided by software solutions. Additionally, you’ll also be able to direct your employees towards more productive tasks that benefit from personal oversight.
Fresh produce software solutions like Silo can offer automated payments invoicing and communication, and streamlined accounting processes.
It also gives your business an advantage by consolidating the disparate elements of your produce supply chain under a centralized network. So don’t hesitate; make the switch today.