The food manufacturing industry in India is governed by increasing constraints in finances, increasing and unreasonable customer requirements. Hence to sustain the growth and to be successful in the market, many food manufacturers are transitioning to Agile to efficiently and effectively plan and execute complex scenarios, reduce food wastage, deliver ingredients and products which meet the customers’ basic requirements and to position themselves as the complete food solution providers to their customers.
Customers in this industry are getting more and more demanding with their unique needs and they have also become more knowledgeable. Thus, focus has drastically shifted towards customers. This has forced several food manufacturers to improve product line planning, maintain better balance between resources and features and to innovate rapidly. They have realised that to stay competitive, they must provide superior customer service continuously throughout the life cycle of the product. Also, they have to effectively manage and communicate product information with suppliers to drive the product costs down, delivered at specified quality levels and meet schedule commitments.
Agile tools can help these companies in the following ways:
Bids and Proposals: A traceability matrix can be maintained which can link each and every bid and proposals with the clients’ specific requirements, to downstream design, planning, procurement, production, maintenance schemes etc.
Prototyping: Coordination between distributed design and manufacturing partners to communicate effectively and timely among them, so that the prototype developed covers most of the features or sub features of the original product and it also ensures that the prototype is scalable and flexible in nature. Similarly, in case a new trend is being tested as a pilot project, agile tools will help in frequent customer interaction and collaboration, which will lead to identification and tracking of defects/error of planning design etc. All these will be properly tracked due to which changes can be easily identified.
Supplier Management: There can be synchronization between the design and the sourcing teams so that the outsourced components meet the quality and performance criteria.
Product Portfolio Planning and Maintenance: All the various products can be tracked simultaneously, with dashboards providing vital information like resource utilization, number of features completed, cost incurred, due delivery date, constraints etc. for every project, thereby allowing a lot of flexibility in resource management and task allocation.
Post sales service and support: Tracking and managing performance of products once delivered, maintaining logs of any defects which the customer identifies, and coordinating among various stake holders helps immensely in satisfactory post sales service and support.
Thus, Agile is slowly being used by many food manufacturing companies to improve their efficiency, and it can only be assumed that this is only the tip of the iceberg. More will surely follow.