Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution for F&B retailers, brands and manufacturers

Today’s trends on food safety, skyrocketing supply chain costs, inflation and greater demand for sustainability prompt the urgency for digitalization. Food and beverage (F&B) companies need to adapt quickly to secure their share in the worldwide food market worth US$9.36tn this year and with a projected annual growth of 6.74% until 2028.

Case in point: a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution. But what does that mean for F&B retailers, brands and manufacturers to adopt PLM in pursuit of accelerating new product introductions, managing product portfolios, improving product margins and speeding time to market with limited resources?

What is PLM?

PLM is an end-to-end product development solution that provides a real-time ‘single source of the truth’ for product-related data to better manage products, people and processes across all stages and gates of the product lifecycle. Today, driven by increasing design and manufacturing complexity, globalization and competition, PLM solutions are employed in many industries developing, producing and selling fast-moving consumer goods.

Centric PLM is the flagship platform of Centric Software and is packed with market-driven technologies to optimize product development, accelerate time to market, maximize product assortments, shrink Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), negotiate complexity and make sound strategic decisions to meet business goals that drive revenue growth for F&B companies.

Learn more about how Centric PLM impacts 7 key parts of the product lifecycle.

  1. Optimize product development with workflows and dashboards

Chasing up people for task updates can be frustrating. Disorganized systems derail teams and slow down product development. To improve collaboration and avoid missed deadlines, Centric Food and Beverage PLM has integrated workflow management that can be built and configured within PLM to automatically lead users through each step and approval of the product lifecycle.

Centric PLM effectively streamlines communication and through the breakdown structure (WBS) dashboards, teams gain better visibility with an unparalleled ‘helicopter view’ of product and project status across different ranges and assortments.

Plant-based vegan convenience food company Wicked Kitchen reaps this benefit. Its Registered Dietitian and Director of Quality says, “Centric PLM is the system where we store all our information. Speed to market is key for us especially on the new product innovation side, because we want to keep fresh with our retailer.”

  1. Speed up new product introductions and recipe development

Responding quickly to market changes is a learned skill. Without the right technology, F&B teams struggle with bottlenecks and compliance issues. To retain competitive advantage and avoid costly errors, Centric PLM manages product briefs, recipe formulation and risk assessment to create detailed specifications for suppliers and start the process of new product development or updating an existing one.

With Centric PLM, F&B producers and private label brands can manage pantries and kitchen or store audits, handle ingredient traceability and create complex multi-level recipes that account for country-specific regulations on forbidden ingredients, food additives and raw material origins.

  1. Plan assortments and manage complex product portfolios

Bringing the right products at the right time through the right channels can be a hit or miss without access to accurate data. Powerful assortment planning and product portfolio management tools enable food retailers and producers to make proactive decisions for optimal SKU development and maximum product margins.

Centric PLM centralizes assortment plans to aid visibility and establish targets, track progress against seasonal plans, pinpoint products that are not performing well and continuously optimize assortments with real-time data. Merchandising and product development teams strategically design product offers, run ‘what-if’ cost scenarios and align assortment strategies with financial goals.

American F&B gifts innovator Modern Gourmet Foods testifies to this. Its COO shares, “We have the ability, from anywhere in the world, to make informed decisions about product costs, approvals and alterations… I know we’ve saved six figures a year in project management time, simply by having a collaborative system and a single, actionable version of the truth.”

  1. Streamline sourcing requests and collaborate with suppliers

Developing products at lightning speed requires a strategic relationship with reliable suppliers. Manually screening sourcing requests and finding qualified vendors every single time proves unsustainable in the long run. To streamline processes and improve speed to market, Centric PLM can automatically identify suitable sourcing partners, based on configurable criteria (e.g. valid compliance certification and up-to-date audits).

Product briefs contain detailed product specifications and requests for information from suppliers such as buying price, minimum order quantities and lead time. Demonstrating this in Centric PLM, Big Lots, a leading North American multicategory retailer sends out supplier requests en masse, receives product proposals from vendors, compares quotes and converts successful responses into products for development and retail, triggering the next stages such as quality, packaging, artwork and copy. This speeds up the process of quoting, promoting and adopting products for launch to market.

  1. Automatically create detailed packaging and artwork briefs

Mitigate the risks of data errors and wrong claims in product labels. Packaging and artwork management is fully integrated in Centric PLM and is linked to the product as it moves through development. Using artwork templates from your PLM library, placeholders for attributes such as ingredients, manufacturing information, weight, images, country of origin, etc. are automatically generated.

Elements such as nutritional labels can be configured into region-specific formats, and Centric PLM’s connection with vast nutritional databases makes it easy to insert accurate ingredient information. In-house 2D and 3D packaging designers can also easily connect directly to PLM libraries while working in their native Adobe Illustrator environment with Centric Adobe® Connect or 3D PLM connectors and seamlessly push artwork back into PLM.

  1. Reduce quality and compliance risks with greater visibility and control

Product data and processes are often managed in silos using a variety of tools. This can lead to errors, delays, and inconsistencies. Centric PLM’s quality control and regulation functionality directly involve laboratories in the PLM workflow to perform mandatory applicable tests that are automatically prompted by the software, making sure all bases are covered to avoid costly rework or recalls due to compliance issues.

Centric PLM gives quality managers the resources to make approval decisions including nutritional analysis, ingredient lists and test reports. The quality control process is more streamlined and less likely to result in costly quality issues when the product goes to retail.

  1. Trace and track everything product-related

Scattered data and outdated systems are two of the most common pain points in product development. To boost traceability and stabilize profits despite a volatile market, Centric PLM’s ‘single source of the truth’ approach to data and visibility at every stage makes it easier to trace ingredient origins, identify issues early and track the status of products in progress.

Meanwhile, complex recipe and price simulation tools make it possible to track the impact of changes in formulation on margins to facilitate more informed decision-making and boost product margins.

Overall, Centric PLM gives a firm digital foundation that can easily connect with other enterprise systems to boost new product introduction success, reduce time to market, optimize product portfolios, manage production complexity, increase efficiency and ultimately get closer to the end consumer.

Want to find out how a next-gen PLM solution equips C-level executives to achieve transparency and visibility, empowered teams, transformative ROI and ultimately, a future-proofed business?

CTA: Download our free eBook:

F&B: 10 Ways PLM Empowers C-Level Executives.