IFFA 2019 brings the digital revolution to the meat industry
Digitalisation is the main word at IFFA 2019, as the meat industry is confronted with the lack of qualified, specialist staff. Modern, digitally supported technologies have proved to be the solution that adds a whole new dimension to customer relations.
From social media to automated business procedures, digital applications are key points in simplifying the activity for the meat industry.
Bechtel, a butchery firm in Zella, have opted for solutions relating to business procedures. This meat company, which has three subsidiaries and a wholesale business, operates with a fully automated time-log system for its staff. Johannes Bechtel, a Master Butcher with a Bachelor’s degree in economics, finance and accounting, is driving the digital revolution in his parents’ butchery firm. He says: “Time-logging made things hugely easier for us. Another sensible digital application is the use of telemetry in our sausage dispensers, that stand outside two of our subsidiaries. I check the stock on my mobile.”
Max Esser, Master Butcher at sausage specialists ‘Wurstspezialitäten Esser’ from Erkelenz, explains how the work is done his production departments, which includes 25 subsidiaries: “Digitalisation is, for us, a means to an end. We are not successful simply because we have gone digital, but because we offer quality products and expert advice. However, we might well not have achieved this without digital help. We use digital applications above all, to make the job easier for our staff – like the shop scales. With so many different item numbers, we can’t expect staff to be able to get their heads round them very quickly; and this is particularly true of trainees and people who come into the profession from other areas. We currently have a mix of digital and still too many analogue systems in operation and this mix is too much to make life easier for our staff. We must become more digitally efficient. As long as we need to enter the item number somewhere on the scales by hand, the digital scales are not efficient enough. There is no one perfect solution – most are actually too complicated. Everyone must take a look for themselves and see what suits their business best. If a digital solution doesn’t make the job easier, then it doesn’t suit the business”.
The Association of German Butchers (Deutscher Fleischerverband) has created a strategy committee to deal specifically with the ‘Digital Revolution’ and has thus made the issue an important aspect of association policy. The members of this think tank meet regularly and will, amongst other things, be devising recommendations for action for their professional colleagues. Gero Jentzsch, Head of Communications in the Association of German Butchers says: “First and foremost, we deal with issues that serve to optimise business procedures. A butcher’s shop will always remain an artisan business, producing high-end artisan food – that is its strength - but the way in which the concomitant procedures work - I mean things like, for example, the ordering process or other office procedures – can be improved through the use of digital services".
IFFA is the number 1 port of call for the butchering and meat processing professions. From 4 to 9 May, in Frankfurt, over 1,000 suppliers will be showcasing their new products, together with trends across the whole meat-processing chain.
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