Food and beverage executives discussed the impact 2020 had on their operations and the outlook they have for the year ahead .
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
CHALLENGE Employee recruitment and reliability have become increasingly challenging , causing food and beverage executives to move away from relying solely on their labor force for production .
SOLUTION To combat labor shortages , most companies have evolved their automation strategy by investing in equipment that improves efficiency and quality . This allows labor to be redeployed to alternative areas of the business .
CHALLENGE The pandemic emphasized the need for technology and exposed that a facility can only move as quickly as IT resources allow . Many companies have difficulties with different ERP systems causing standardization issues .
SOLUTION 2021 will revolve around understanding and implementing different technology . This will help to standardize production and increase efficiency in areas where it is difficult to retain employees .
CHALLENGE It has been difficult to recruit and retain qualified drivers in the distribution space and employees for cold storage warehouses , manufacturing and processing facilities .
SOLUTION Many companies have implemented initiatives to retain employees such as increased wages , recognition programs , and employee competitions . Executives have found that employees have a desire to contribute to the company ’ s success and that recognition should be value-based and tangible .
CHALLENGE There have been several demand shifts across the industry over the past year . As food service quickly shut down , retail businesses saw large increases almost overnight .
SOLUTION Shifts in demand allowed companies to focus on servicing retail businesses and partnering with companies to add product offerings , which has helped improve growth and profitability .