ABM Advisor: The ABM Blog.
Category - Manufacturers

  • Mar 29 2018


    How will changes in supermarkets impact food manufacturers?

    Unless you're a food manufacturer that sells direct-to-consumer, the health of your business may well be heavily tied to the fortunes of the retailers that sell your food. The first quarter of the year has delivered a fair amount of news on this topic, signalling changes that will affect Australian food manufacturers.Aussie Farmers Direct goes into administrationFirst was the news that direct-to-door grocery subscription service offered by Aussie Farmers Direct (AFD) would be ending, as the company was going into administration.AFD said in a statement that they can no longer compete with the two major supermarkets and the mass of cheap imported produce. Some former franchisees, however, dispute this explanation, telling news.com.au that ill-considered expansion plans into non-perishables, among other things, contributing more to the company's downfall.

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  • Mar 23 2018


    Why your business needs to have an e-commerce division

    The mid-1990s saw e-commerce explode into the consumer consciousness. At the time, it seemed an unassailable truth that the internet would transform the way business is done - an idea the subsequent bursting of the dot-com bubble seemed to rapidly deflate.But almost 20 years have passed since that low, and now more than ever does the internet seem to embody the lofty expectations those early pioneers expected it would. E-commerce is a huge part of the Australian economy, and it's only going to grow further.In 2018, your business needs an e-commerce division. Here's why.The state of the e-commerce marketUnlike those early days, online shopping is no longer something only the savviest of computer users engage in. Australians spent roughly $24.7 billion on online sales over the twelve months to January 2018, according to the latest NAB Online Retail Sales Index (ORSI) report. This, the report explains further, is equivalent to 7.9 per cent of the spending at bricks-and-mortar retailers in the twelve months to December 2017.

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  • Jun 22 2017


    Food manufacturing is one ingredient away from the perfect recipe

    The food industry's future is looking up, especially in Australia.While grocery corporations continue to make headlines for technological innovations, such as the "smart" store that's slowly being rolled out by Amazon, it's the food manufacturing sector behind the scenes that's truly experiencing unparalleled success.Australian economy at largeThe Australian manufacturing industry has been in an upward trend for the last 8 months, according to the AI Group. It currently sits at a healthy 4.8 points above the neutral threshold, which is 50, and just two points below construction.The food and grocery sector composes 30 per cent of manufacturing.A recent report by Ernst & Young indicates its continued climb may not be ending anytime soon. The food, beverage and grocery sector now represents nearly one-third of the manufacturing industry's total worth. The sector is now valued at $126 billion AUD."While domestic conditions remain challenging, food and grocery processing is an area of strong export growth with an 11 per cent surge in food and beverage exports to $26b last year," Australian Food and Grocery Council chief executive Tanya Barden said.Sustaining successThe food manufacturing market will undoubtedly become more competitive in the coming years as larger corporations begin to use their resources to their advantage to push out small- and medium-sized businesses. Successful companies will be those that latch on to innovation not just for the warehouse floor, but for the back-end of operations as well.Streamlining manual processes like bookkeeping, project invoicing or asset management with business management software can help organisations in a number of ways. By eliminating human interaction, management can spend more time focusing on other ways to improve the business without having to worry about any potential mistakes being made that could put the company at a financial deficit. Technology on the back-end can provide the same benefits as it would on the warehouse floor. Integrating a platform that maps directly to your industry, rather than just the tasks you need to get done, is key. Businesses of all sizes should be aiming to create a technological ecosystem. For example, the stock control application should be able to seamlessly send information to the ledger and accounting module of the system.While food manufacturing continues its upward trend, the work that business owners do on the back-end of their business to improve efficiency and streamline manual processes will be the big difference maker. As it becomes a more competitive market, advantages will be found in technological integration that improves productivity and reliability across the board.Contact an Advanced Business Manager representative today to learn more.

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  • May 4 2017


    Online grocery shopping signals food distribution revolution

    Grocery shopping is going digital, and AmazonFresh, Woolworths and Coles are leading the way.But at the heart of it all, the biggest change won't be experienced by the consumer. The food manufacturing and distribution sector is undergoing a slight revolution as small- and medium-sized businesses now have to account for the logistics of omnichannel ordering and delivery.Online shopping is inE-commerce is certainly a welcome luxury for many food shoppers, with 29 per cent of Australians reporting they would contemplate using a digital food shopping service, according to Roy Morgan Research.29% of Australians would go online to grocery shop.AmazonFresh is primed to join the ranks of a food manufacturing industry that just posted its best monthly performance result in the last year, the Australian Industry Group reported. This brings even more competition to the burgeoning market."But the threat of AmazonFresh is not just about technology, it's about competitive pricing, service and real estate," Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, told Australian Food News. "With heated price wars already characterising the current Australian supermarket scene, a new player of this magnitude will undoubtedly appeal to grocery shoppers."This shift in behaviour represents an opportunity for innovation on the back-end of operations. As grocery shopping goes digital, food manufacturers and distributors will need to reevaluate logistics. Take advantage of the changeWarehousing software will become increasingly vital as grocery stores are faced with the prospect of erratic consumer shopping trends online and varying stock needs at bricks-and-mortar. The very source of the competitive pricing Levine mentioned will fall directly on logistics.Improvements in efficiency will need to be identified through effective asset management strategies, which will ultimately reduce costs across the board. Small business management software will become increasingly important as the need for real-time oversight of the entire operations grows accordingly. Online grocery shopping is still a fledgling concept, which means there are bound to be irregularities in shopping patterns.Above all else, it's likely that the spread of digitisation also extends to the back office of many small and medium-sized manufacturers and distributors. More focus and energy will need to be spent keeping up with fluctuating demands, urgent orders and potential issues on the warehouse floor. Accounting and finance information will be the last thing on management's mind as day-to-day operations become more hectic. It's entirely likely that many organisations will begin to take advantage of modern accounting software that's user-friendly and ensures consistent and accurate reporting.If you're interested in improving your warehouse and accounting management, contact an ABM representative today.

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  • Apr 26 2017


    How is manufacturing contributing to Australia's food export boom?

    In the last five years, Australia's food export industry has increased from $27 billion to $44 billion. In that same period, the country has also gained 400 more food manufacturing plants. The two are very much linked, according to Anthony Pratt, who opened Melbourne's Global Food Forum on March 28. Australia's food manufacturing sector continues to growLast month, the Australian Industry (Ai) group's monthly indices saw a 1.6 point increase for food and agriculture on its performance management index (PMI)."Our agriculture sector just made its highest contribution to GDP growth since 2008," said Mr. Pratt. One of the key contributors to this is the increased number of food manufacturing plants, meaning Australia is now able to supply the demand from overseas.For instance, according to Pratt, the country is now one of the largest exporters of goat meat in the world at $250 million. Fruit and vegetable exports to all countries are also up 200 per cent, to $3 billion. Likewise fresh meat exports have increased by 90 per cent. 

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  • Apr 19 2017


    How can virtual reality help your manufacturing business?

    Around 500,000 virtual reality headsets are expected to be sold in Australia this year, according to the Telsyte Australian VR & AR Market Study. It's not just television and entertainment that's benefiting from the advance in virtual reality (VR) technology, however.At ABM, we understand the need for efficiency and safety at all stages in the manufacturing process. This is why we believe VR is going to be the next big thing in the industry. Here's three ways VR can make your manufacturing business run more smoothly.

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  • Apr 7 2017


    How to keep your manufacturing workforce engaged

    Around one-quarter of manufacturing employees are looking to leave their jobs, according to a survey by Global Manufacturing. At ABM, we know how important productivity is to your manufacturing business. One of the best ways to improve that productivity is to increase employee engagement. So, we've compiled a guide to engaging your manufacturing workforce, to help you retain staff and create a happier working environment.1. Frequently review payPay was the most important factor in job hunting, according to a survey conducted by ResourceMFG of over 2,500 manufacturing employees. So, you need to get your starting pay right, and frequently review it to make sure you're staying competitive. The best way to do this is through market research - make sure you're offering salaries that fall in the upper quartile of the industry's pay range.2. Provide a sense of job securityThe second most important factor for manufacturing staff was job security. This means employing them, as much as you can, on at least a 40-hour week basis, and communicating with them about upcoming work and projects, so they know their work is secure in the future.Another way to contribute to job security is train your staff up - if they have more manufacturing skills, you will be able to give them much more work than if they are only able to do one or two jobs within your company. 

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  • Mar 21 2017


    Australia's manufacturing industry grows

    February saw Australia's manufacturing sector grow to its highest level since May 2002. The Australian Industry Group's monthly report showed an increase of 8.1 points to 59.3 on the country's Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI). This was the fifth consecutive month of expansion.A breakdown of the figuresThe PMI ranges from 0 to 100. A normal manufacturing level is considered to be 50, so anything above that figure indicates growth, with the distance between 50 and the month's overall PMI showing the extent of this expansion. The Australian PMI is broken down into eight separate categories - nonmetallic minerals, food and beverages, textiles and furniture, wood and paper, printing and recorded media, fuels and chemicals, metal products and, finally, machinery and equipment.Seven of these eight sub-sectors recorded growth in February. Nonmetallic minerals posted the highest PMI figure (66.3 points), followed by machinery and equipment (60.1 points) and food and beverages (58.8 points). The only sector to remain below 50 was printing and recorded media, which had 45.1 points. Wood and paper managed to recover to 51.9 points, having recorded shrinkage the previous month.

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  • Jan 26 2017


    Smart technology in food manufacturing

    It's 2017, and we're another year closer to the futuristic society that cinema was dreaming up in the 1980s and '90s. The past decade has certainly heralded the dawn of smart technology, automation and, with it, a mounting concern over what these will mean for future production processes. Will 3D printing mean the end of food manufacturing?3D food printing works by shaping a product physically and chemically from a digital blueprint, called an Additive Manufacturing File.For those in the food manufacturing and distribution sectors, 3D printing is a contentious development. On the one hand, it has opened the door for manufacturers to drastically reduce their production costs - creating casts or complicated production lines - by removing the laborious steps required in manufacturing.On the other, the technology has afforded those with even basic computing knowledge to design, create and produce their own 3D-printed masterpieces from their home.But which has the more viable future in food production? The answer could very well be: Both. 3D food printing works by shaping a product physically and chemically from a digital blueprint, called an Additive Manufacturing File, but the quality is entirely subject to the capabilities of the printer itself. This presents an incredible opportunity for manufacturers, allowing them to create and test prototypes at a fraction of the cost and time. Cheaper machines, however, produce a lower-quality result from the same file, making them unreliable for mass production.  Imagine 3D printing this dessert in your own home. As the global marketplace becomes more consumer-facing and a greater importance is put on the recipient and their experience of the product, crowd-sourced prototype development will not be uncommon.Think of it like beta-testing a video game, but for physical objects. Your business has a select group of highly devoted customers with 3D-printing capabilities at home, who can then 3D print a prototype and provide feedback in real-time. As the costs for 3D printing are minimal, this furthers both customer relationships and product development. Imagine if, in the near future, you could sign up to test new ice-cream flavours, trial desserts from around the world and help influence the design and composition of a new kind of ravioli. If the food production industry adopts new technology as it emerges instead of fighting it, advances like 3D printing could benefit both the consumer and manufacturers alike. The world's first product scanner can now reveal chemical components, calories and other data in food.New smartphone technology could boost food developmentAre you've deterred by others handling fruit at the supermarket, squeezing and prodding produce until it is covered with polka-dot finger marks and unattractive.A new smartphone unveiled at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this January is the world's first product scanner that can reveal chemical components, calories and other data for food, pharmaceuticals and even plants. For manufacturers within the food industry, the development will allow for greater monitoring of consistency in products. From a consumer perspective, it both demands and affords transparency towards the food we are putting into our bodies - you'll never have to buy bruised, ruined fruit again.Dror Sharon, CEO of Consumer Physics, believes the technology is the next leap in smartphone evolution."Just as the smartphone put the power of the internet and a vast knowledge base into our pockets, this innovation will put the capability to learn about the chemical and molecular makeup of materials into the public's hands," he said."This is the next leap forward not just for mobile phones, but for all sorts of connected devices. The Changhong H2 and smartphones are only the beginning."Smart technology for the food industry will require software that is both intelligent and adaptable.

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  • Dec 22 2016


    The future of food will be automated

    Automation is the use of various control systems for operating equipment with minimal or reduced human intervention. Many industries have seen the benefits of automation, with completely automated systems providing far greater accuracy and precision over time than humans are capable of.Take the automotive industry, for example, where robotics are put to great use and have removed much of the need for human labour in vehicle manufacturing. Assembly line robotics are just one example of automation improving quality while reducing or eliminating the need for humans to put themselves at risk. Furthermore, the accuracy of robotics ensures limited wasted materials, and allows human workers to take on positions in less hazardous areas.One of the biggest impacts in the coming years and decades will be on the food industry. Already, automated robotics are being put to use in the agricultural sector to monitor crops and distribute liquid, while 3D printing is changing the face of fast food by creating processed meals for the elderly.3D printing makes the most of out meatFor those who have trouble chewing, or swallowing in the case of dysphagia, 3D printed meals offer an appetising solution to traditional pureed food - creating authentic, realistic-looking meals. Recently, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) examined the benefits of 3D printing red meat, saying the benefits to the consumer would be disease prevention, convenience, appearance and decreased malnutrition for elderly aged care patients. 3D printing food could lead to lower food waste and a greater level of happiness for aged care residents. In aged-care facilities, the use of 3D printers to generate meals for the elderly reduces the strain on staff and creates a greater number of meals than a human chef would normally be capable. Due to the need for food safety, much of the food in aged-care facilities can be tough due to being overcooked. The limited resources of such a facility can then mean that many patients slowly develop malnutrition and, most importantly, don't experience a high quality of life. 3D printing, and automation of food processing, eliminates much of the dependence on human chefs, and maximises the use of a facilities' resources, which could lead to lower food waste and a greater level of happiness for residents. In the world of production and automation, however, robotics are being put to use in the agricultural sector - where a solar-powered farming robot from the University of Sydney is making life easier on the farm. The robot caretaker changing agricultureRobotics specialists from the University of Sydney have created RIPPA - Robot for Intelligent Perception and Precision Application - a robot capable of detecting weeds and eliminating them using a directed micro-dose of liquid. RIPPA is an example of how automation is generating higher levels of efficiency in commercial food production, and quite possibly just the first in many future farming robots.  Could robots one day help manage our land? Systems engineering and operations specialist Mark Calleija, who built the solar-powered farming robot, believes their creation is the key to farms of the future. "The technology can be used to automatically apply the correct dose of fluid required anywhere on the farm at high speed," he said."It will enable farmers to capitalise by minimising application input costs and improving information quality for better high-level decision making. This type of new technology will assist growers in taking their farms into the future."Automation is the key to future manufacturing and food production and, in a few cases, the future is already here. Automated accounting software with ABMAdvanced Business Manager is software comprised of a core accounting system that can be custom-tailored to your suit the specific needs of your business.

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