TORONTO, Ont.–Canada’s food & beverage (F&B) and transportation, warehousing and distribution (TWD) industries continue to face many challenges, yet new innovations and advancing technology are helping business leaders remain largely optimistic about the future.
These findings were released in BDO’s 2017 Industry Insights: BDO’s Focus on Transportation and Food and Beverage Report, which garners insight and opinions from more than 150 senior personnel and decision-makers in the F&B and TWD industries.
The report found that though increasing competition and market volatility continue to demand attention, leaders in both industries expect technology and innovation to help them increase efficiency and reduce costs. In the F&B sector, 60% of businesses stated they are investing in innovations to help them meet an expected increase in overall demand, while 58% of TWD respondents feel technological advancements will help them improve business by streamlining inventory management and creating significant logistical advantages.
“Embracing technology has never been so vital to a company’s success,” said Marcus Sconci, Leader of BDO’s National Transportation, Distribution and Warehousing group. “Companies who are slow to innovate simply won’t be able to compete in today’s business climate. Incorporating technology can help increase productivity, lower costs, and streamline processes, providing companies with a critical competitive edge needed to remain relevant on a global scale.”
Government regulations remain highly problematic for both sectors, with 57% of F&B leaders and 64% of TWD decision-makers citing cost of regulatory compliance as a major stressor to their business. Many respondents observed that the negative impact of regulation disproportionately affects smaller companies, further thwarting their operations, while providing an advantage to larger companies.
Recruiting and retaining skilled employees also remains a key challenge across the board, with nearly half (49%) of F&B respondents reporting difficulties finding experienced employees, and 23% of TWD respondents citing the ability to find skilled employees to replace retiring employees as a critical issue in their industry.
“Labour concerns continue to be problematic for a number of industries throughout Canada,” said Melissa Krakar, Leader of BDO’s National Food and Beverage group. “Companies with ambitious growth plans require the right people to support that growth and need to be taking advantage of government incentives and programs designed to offset the cost of recruitment, employee training and innovation.”
Overall, the survey identified several key strategies needed to remain competitive in a fluctuating economy which include modernizing operations, retaining talent, staying ahead of regulations, cutting costs, accurately predicting changing consumer preferences and population growth, and making use of industry research and insights.