manufacturer checking inventory on a tablet

Thinking about digital transformation? These five questions will show you where to start

Thinking about digital transformation? These five questions will show you where to start

Synopsis
4 Minute Read

Canada’s food and beverage industry is rapidly evolving — and you need to invest in digital transformation to ensure your business remains competitive. However, you risk lacklustre results and cost overruns without a solid plan for your digital transformation journey. These five questions can help identify where you should focus your efforts:

  • Do you rely primarily on spreadsheets to run your business?
  • Are your systems primarily on premises?
  • Have you experienced rapid growth or recently acquired a business?
  • Do you need more timely analysis and reporting?
  • Is your business a single entity, or do you manage a group of companies?

These questions can help you build a roadmap for success. Additionally, ask yourself if your business qualifies for government funding to pursue digital transformation opportunities.

Insight
Agility Insight

Canada’s food and beverage sector continues to evolve and is quickly becoming one of Canada’s most innovative industries. As your competitors look to technology as a differentiator and adopt new digital systems and automation capabilities, you may feel like you’re falling behind and struggling to compete with their digitally driven businesses.

While you will almost certainly benefit from upgrading your technology stack, the steps you take next are critical. You may be wondering what to prioritize or where to start. Needless to say, a shotgun approach to modernizing your business will likely result in cost overruns and lacklustre results. Instead, it is critical to keep the outcome in mind and take iterative steps that level up to sizable change over time — starting with the opportunities that allow for that first step down a path of digital transformation.

These five questions can help to point you in the right direction.

1. Do you rely on spreadsheets to run your business?

The humble spreadsheet continues to serve many useful purposes, but managing your accounting and operations is not one of them. Modern cloud finance solutions are affordable and scalable for businesses of all sizes, making this a worthwhile upgrade for your organization.

The right system can provide considerable time savings by maximizing the output of your finance team, reducing tedious data entry tasks, and automating many accounts receivable and payable functions. It will also offer in-depth reporting functionalities that can help you better understand your business's financial health and performance.

2. Are your systems primarily on premises?

Often teams may struggle to make timely decisions if they can only access internal systems in the office or when connected virtually via a virtual private network (VPN). Team members who work in the field (e.g., sales and merchandising) will be at a pronounced disadvantage — especially compared to peers with access to real-time information.

Cloud-based systems also offer automatic security and functionality updates as soon as they become available. Moreover, they’re designed to integrate seamlessly with other business tools (e.g., finance, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management) to limit data entry and provide a holistic view of your business.

3. Have you experienced rapid growth or recently acquired a business?

It’s common for your business to experience a dip in performance after a period of significant growth or an acquisition. While numerous factors may be at play, it’s generally worth assessing whether you’ve exceeded your existing systems’ capacity or inherited technology debt during the transition.

Incompatible or ineffective technology is one of the most common reasons businesses fail to capitalize on a significant growth opportunity. In that case, upgrading your systems or addressing problem areas where your systems are not properly integrated can be low-hanging fruit to improve efficiency and provide sizable cost savings.

4. Do you need more timely analysis and reporting?

To remain competitive, businesses must leverage data-driven insight to increase revenue and profitability, anticipate and avoid supply chain issues, improve the efficiency of their marketing spend, and more. That level of visibility is a significant advantage when time and margins are at a premium — and one you cannot concede to your competitors.

Signs that you may need to improve your analysis and reporting capabilities include:

  • Reports and analytics lack the depth and detail you need to make accurate decisions
  • Significant (and growing) variations between your forecasts and business results
  • Delays in providing reports to senior leaders and decision-makers
  • Your data lacks the necessary structure and governance for reliable analysis

5. Is your business a single entity, or do you manage a group of companies?

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems can help you coordinate the various functions across your operations, from procurement to manufacturing lines to sales and distribution. The right platform, properly configured, will ensure your business runs smoothly and everyone is working from a single source of truth.

If your business is a single entity, you’ll want to consider ERP in your long-term technology transformation plans. The case for change is far more urgent if you operate multiple food and beverage businesses under a holding company.

An ERP will provide a holistic picture of the needs and synergies across your portfolio, which can help you exploit opportunities, anticipate challenges, and allocate resources more effectively. Combined with a modern cloud finance system, these tools will provide the insight and operational agility your entities need to function at their full potential.

Bonus question: Do you qualify for government funding?

The federal government and several provincial governments are currently offering grants and low-cost loan opportunities to help small and midsized businesses to pursue digital transformation opportunities.

These incentives cover costs related to working with a digital advisor such as MNP Digital to identify opportunities where you’d benefit from enhancing your technology. You may also qualify for interest-free loans to reduce financial barriers to installing new digital capabilities in your organization.

Opportunities that may be available to your food and beverage business include:

  • Canada Digital Adoption Program
  • Digitalization Competence Centre (Ontario)
  • ESSOR Program Audit 4.0 (Quebec)

MNP advisors can help you determine which programs you’re best suited to and walk you through the entire process, from applying for funding to building your roadmap, installing the new digital tools, and ongoing change management.

Contact us

To learn more contact, contact Daniel Caringi, Partner.

Insights

  • Progress

    Your farm succession plan isn’t complete until it exists in writing

    The average age of farmers in Canada is increasing. Having a written succession plan becomes more important as you age, to help secure your legacy, protect your farm operation, and reduce conflict.

  • Progress

    How SMARTPro Helps Enhance Practice Value

    Learn how to get your practice into a ready state for a sale with SMARTPro.

  • April 10, 2024

    Unlock board value: key strategies for strong governance

    In the face of ever-present change and rapidly evolving challenges, having a solid board of directors can be a game-changer for your organization.