Identify opportunities for fresh produce growth with LINKFRESH forecasting

 

In our last eBook, we examined the practical uses and benefits of forecasting in the fresh produce industry, including how it will prove crucial in helping businesses emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.

This article expands on those themes. We’ll introduce the forecasting features of LINKFRESH’s ERP solutions; explaining how they help fresh produce businesses not only mitigate damage, but set a path for their growth as well.

What is LINKFRESH forecasting?

In the simplest terms, LINKFRESH ERP speaks the language of fresh produce and has been fine tuned to the needs of fresh produce businesses. LINKFRESH harnesses the organisational and forecasting power of Microsoft’s ERP solutions and uses it to face up to the specific challenges of the industry. LINKFRESH allows businesses to produce and manage three types of forecast:

  1. Sales. Forecast demand to formulate the most profitable sales strategy. In other words: what should be sold to whom, in what quantities and when? Constantly refreshed data gives revised predictions on the demand you’ll experience by product, region or customer.
  2. Purchase. Look ahead to future purchasing decisions to ensure you make the right ones for your production schedule. LINKFRESH ERP incorporates supply chain data to factor in any potential delays to delivery.
  3. Harvest. What will your yields be this season, and how should this inform your harvesting and sales plans? Combined with user-friendly hardware, ERP systems take data collected by you and from external sources to give accurate predictions for yield rates and produce quality.

LINKFRESH’s forecasting module is formed from a number of inputs - most significantly historical information. The more data available, the more accurately ERP systems can predict certain scenarios and offer solutions.

Forecasting in this sense should be seen less as merely useful insights that can play into decision-making, and more as a vital interpretation of information that has practical implications for how you organise your business. A LINKFRESH forecast allows you to prepare the fields, warehouse or factory floor more efficiently for the work that needs to be done.

For instance, a sales forecast will give a fresh produce business a good estimate of the demand they’ll experience over the next period. This can be directly used to create a production forecast - a projection of the volume of produce that needs to be grown, processed or packed to meet this demand.

The data can then be followed through to inform the most granular details of a business’ operations - e.g. the daily production profile and day-to-day tasks for the workforce. In this way, we can see how forecasting can be used to help businesses be more confident in the action they take, and implement data-led ways of working.

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Key benefits

Most ERP systems have a forecasting module of some description - although many are fairly rudimentary. However, LINKFRESH’s solutions hold several key advantages that place them among the most advanced and useful available:

  • Ability to import data to and from Excel. One of the overarching benefits of ERP is how it breaks down information silos. LINKFRESH allows for the easy import and export of data that will help feed into forecasting models. For instance this is important when accessing vital information from third party planning tools.
  • Tools to update sales order details. Demand forecasts from retailers themselves can too often be inaccurate, with orders placed or cancelled at very short notice. LINKFRESH allows businesses to quickly factor these changes into forecasting and planning, instantaneously updating daily production profiles.
  • LINKFRESH Factory Schedule view. Unique to LINKFRESH, Factory View provides businesses with a clear but comprehensive overview of all production orders by their production line and status. This data can be presented on a single screen visual planning tool, enabling production managers to alter tasks to meet demand as required.
  • Pack Ahead Profile. LINKFRESH’s Pack Ahead Profile is a flexible forecasting tool giving businesses the opportunity to pack goods ahead of time. It gives greater control and readiness over production scheduling, meaning problems with demand can be smoothed.
  • Share with growers in advance. LINKFRESH’s Finance and Operations systems allow for collaborative planning. In practice, this means production forecasts can be shared easily with growers in advance to prepare them for what purchases are required.
  • Advanced yield prediction. Within the farming module, yields can be projected to a high degree of accuracy. Expected yield can be factored in by area or plant to create the optimum profile. LINKFRESH takes advantage of all available parameters to offer one of the most advanced yield predictions available.

Find out more about the edge LINKFRESH’s forecasting and planning capabilities could give your business. Get in touch with our team at info@linkfresh.com.

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