In common with many others, I am sitting at home in a room hastily converted into an “office away from the office”. Remote working has increased in recent years of course, but circumstances earlier this month drove a dramatic change. Many believe our working lives will not be quite the same again.
Individuals and businesses alike are trying to adapt to new challenges. With more than 30 years’ experience in the industry, Hamilton Grant Software are committed to supporting our food & beverage industry customers.
A perfect storm
Supply-chain issues, market fluctuation, consumer demand variation, shifts in consumer habits, socio-economic and geo-political factors are not new. But the coronavirus pandemic has brought all of them into play at once in an unprecedented situation.
At Hamilton Grant, customers tell us they are adapting in various ways: shifting from food service to retail, looking for alternative ingredient supplies, dealing with shifts in product demand. The challenges are not just external; production, food safety criteria, safety of workers, general business continuity – all aspects are put under strain.
Nevertheless, challenges always create opportunity for those who are agile enough to respond. In the same way that video conferencing has become routine, technology can support core business functions.
As a technology provider, Hamilton Grant have seen at first-hand how the right technology choices enable businesses to thrive. Without a reliable system that ensures continuity in demanding circumstances, companies would be exposed and unable to respond to challenges, whenever they arise.
Running businesses from home
Hamilton Grant’s customers across the world face the same challenge: running their businesses from home.
At the most basic level, this means reliably accessing business-critical systems. Many of our customers report that, using our cloud-based Touchstone application they have continued to review specifications, create label data and even develop products from home. This is where cloud software comes into its own – software hosted on a business’s own servers can be inaccessible or unreliable (particularly when the IT department is also working from home).
From a business process point of view, technical product information must continue to flow through your business. Collaboration and approval processes must also continue as normal. Raw material specifications need to be collected from suppliers, reviewed, approved and passed to the product development team. Label data and product specifications must still be created, approved and submitted to customers. Specifications and certifications approaching expiry must be identified and renewed. All of this is hard enough to do without everyone working from their own office.
Rising to the challenge of disruption
As if this were not enough, the disruption created demands flexibility to respond. Product developers need to quickly adjust recipes in response. The potential impact of ingredient supply issues investigated by quickly searching through products and ingredients from suppliers. Alternative ingredients assessed. Having fast product development tools and a searchable single source of truth for product information allows you to respond quickly and stay ahead.
The next step
If you are not already a Hamilton Grant Touchstone customer, don’t worry. The company can set up new users with a pre-configured Australian account within a day. With an Australian nutrition database, PIF versions 5 and 6 and the ability to exchange information with suppliers and customers, the company will get users up and running, ready to address the challenges. All infrastructure and maintenance are managed by Hamilton Grant, giving reliable access 24/7 from any location while reducing the client’s IT overheads.
In time, the current crisis will pass, but things will never be the same. We will all learn new skills develop new approaches and create new opportunities.