Optimizing Perishable Goods Inventory Management with Odoo

Disclaimer: The client name and details in this case study have been changed to protect confidentiality.

Sarah owns a very popular bakery where customers love her cakes in the USA. But behind the scenes, Sarah struggles with expiring ingredients and finished products. Ingredients like milk, fruit, and flour expire quickly. Lots of batches get spoiled and Sarah loses money. She feels stressed trying to use ingredients before they expire.

If you sell things like bread, produce, flowers, or other items that expire fast, you likely have the same struggles as Sarah. Let’s learn how opting to implement Odoo’s modules in your bakery business helps to tackle these core challenges.

4 Core Challenges of Managing Perishable Goods Inventory in Bakery Businesses

  1. Assuming the Freshness of the Products

    Knowing exactly when ingredients will peak in freshness or when final products expire is an exercise of frustration. Relying on visual checks, memory, and scattered notes becomes impossible as your business grows.

    Let’s look at a few scenarios:

    • The Strawberry Gamble: It’s hard to pinpoint when flats of strawberries reach peak ripeness for maximum sweetness. Sell too early, and they disappoint customers with sourness. Wait too long, and they become mushy waste.
    • Bakery Blunders: Accurately predicting the shelf life of baked items like cakes, breads, and pastries is a tricky business. Without reliable tracking, staff toss still-fresh goods too soon (losing money) or sell stale products by accident (hurting loyalty).
    • Banana Dilemma: Even bananas pose problems, ripening at varied, unpredictable paces. Employees must constantly shuffle between storage areas to check them, slowing ops and allowing mistakes.

    How Odoo Solves the Challenge of Product Freshness

    • Granular Tracking for Perishables: Implementing an Odoo-based greenhouse management solution enables in-depth batch and lot tracking beyond basic product data. Capture harvest dates, baking timestamps, and more to log each batch’s unique freshness lifecycle.
    • Smart Strawberry Management: Integrate sensor readings for temperature and humidity by batch. Now accurately pinpoint when berries will reach ideal sweetness for timely picking and sales.
    • Automated Bakery Freshness Alerts: Customize alerts so staff get reminders for moving cakes to discount racks or marking stale pastries. Cut down on wasted baked goods and unhappy customers.
    • Intuitive Produce Monitoring: Create ripening alerts for fruits like bananas. Staff can instantly see what’s hit peak freshness across all shelves rather than manually checking. Streamline workflows while reducing spoilage and overlooked inventory.
  2. Manually Managing Expiration of the Products

    Failing to track even one single expiration date can bring your whole operations into chaos. Further, this results in negative reviews, costly compliance issues, and a spoiled reputation.

    • The Compliance Risk: If your industry has strict food safety regulations, a surprise expired item during an inspection can mean trouble. Manual logs and spot checks often fall short when auditors come knocking.
    • Customer Trust = Revenue: Just one case of a customer buying an expired product, whether it causes any actual harm or not, can spread negative word-of-mouth, hurting your long-term sales.

    How Odoo Solves the Challenge of Product Expiration

    • Expiration Becomes Worry-Free: Set batch-level dates within Odoo. You receive alerts whenever the expiry date is near. Odoo can flag these visually on reports, prevent outdated items from being accidentally listed for sale, or trigger actions (like moving old produce to a “quick sale” bin).
    • Proactive vs. Reactive: Automated alerts shift your operation from scrambling after something expires to being proactive, protecting your reputation and keeping both customers and authorities happy.
  3. Manage Your Perishable Inventory with Odoo

    Talk to us. Tell us about your inventory challenges. Space-O Technologies has expertise in optimizing perishable inventory management using Odoo in multiple industries.

  4. Running Against the Clock

    Perishable stock has a limited shelf life so it requires quick attention. Understanding the importance of prioritizing is key, yet finding the balance is tricky.

    • Stockroom Stalemates: In the stockroom, it’s important to find a balance. If you prioritize selling the oldest produce, you risk neglecting newer batches, which could impact overall product quality. Conversely, if you solely focus on new stock, you risk accumulating expired goods.
    • Panic-driven Promotions: Giving last-minute discounts just to avoid wasting products can hurt your profits. Promotions are good, but it’s better to plan them out carefully instead of doing them in a rush because you are worried about losing money.

    How Odoo Solves the Challenge of Balancing Perishable Goods Delivery

    • Efficient Stock Management: Using Odoo’s FEFO (First Expired, First Out) feature automates your stock movement—no more frantic searches for older batches. When staff pull orders, they’re reminded to choose the products with the closest expiration dates, reducing waste.
    • Forecasting, Not Fortune-Telling: Using Odoo’s sales reports provide precise insights into which perishable items are getting sold faster versus which ones might be at risk of staying on shelves too long. With this data, you can plan production cycles and adjust order volumes with information, rather than relying on guesswork.
  5. Supply Chain Complexity

    When you scale your perishable business, more layers add up in the existing journey between field and customer. This becomes hard to keep track of everything and make sure it all goes with ease.

    • Managing Ingredient Sourcing: The absence of centralized communication leads to inefficiencies and your operations get bogged down. Whether you are constantly on the phone with suppliers seeking batch updates or receiving spreadsheets via email for manual integration into your perishable inventory control system, these processes consume your valuable time and effort.
    • Maintaining Consistent Quality: How do you ensure the high-quality apples picked days ago haven’t compromised too long in an unrefrigerated truck? Gaps in data flow leave you vulnerable to unpleasant (and costly) surprises.
    • Without a smooth flow of data, there are gaps in monitoring that can leave you vulnerable to unpleasant and costly surprises, such as spoiled inventory.

    How Odoo Solves the Challenge of Supply Chain of Perishable Goods

    • Supply-chain Integration: Odoo provides supplier portals to manage the entire supply chain operations. They can input their lot data, date tags, etc., updating your inventory in real time.
    • Traceability Across Operations: Log the journey of any product. With one scan, you see when flour arrived, its use by date, which batches of cakes contained it, and even which stores eventually received them. This eases audits and allows quick action if an issue arises.

    Check testimonials of our client, Daniel, that describe how Odoo helps him to streamline and optimize the entire operations of tracking the perishable goods in his Happy Harvest Farms.

  6. Implementing Odoo’s inventory management software has streamlined produce tracking at our farm. The barcode scanning and automated alerts enable real-time monitoring of crop availability, ripening times, and waste. This visibility allows us to plan harvesting and deliveries more efficiently, reducing spoilage. Our customers are happy with consistent supply and quality. Now I can just check the dashboards from my phone. Our sustainability and profits are way up thanks to Odoo.

    Charles Wilson



    What Sets Odoo as the Best Solution to Manage Perishable Goods

    1. Customer Confidence = Repeat Business: Guaranteeing consistent freshness builds loyalty and positive word-of-mouth, setting you apart from competitors.
    2. Waste Shrinks, Profit Grows: Precise management means a nicer-looking stockroom and a direct impact on your bottom line. Less goes to the trash, and more to happy customers.
    3. Smooth Days, Less Mayhem: Predictability lets you shift from firefighting to proactive planning. This saves time, lowers stress, and improves staff morale across the board.

    FAQ About Perishable Goods Inventory Management with Odoo

    1. How does Odoo facilitate tracking expiration dates?

      The Odoo platform offers features like lot/serial number tracking and expiration date fields. These features enable you to record expiration information for incoming inventory and monitor stock to ensure products are sold before they expire.

    2. Can Odoo automate the sale of perishable goods based on expiration dates?

      Yes, Odoo supports the FEFO (First Expired, First Out) removal strategy. This feature ensures that goods with the earliest expiration dates are prioritized during sales and shipments.

    3. Does Odoo provide reporting on expiring inventory?

      Odoo has inventory reporting capabilities, so you can create reports to track perishable inventory stock close to expiration, identify slow-moving perishable stock, and take action to prevent losses.

    4. Can I set alerts in Odoo when products are nearing expiry?

      While Odoo may not have a built-in alert feature for this, it can be achieved through:

      • Reports: Scheduling regular reports on soon-to-expire items.
      • Customization: Developing a custom module to add automatic alerts based on expiration thresholds.

      Space-O Technologies has experience in developing custom modules on Odoo in multiple industries. Based on your specific requirements, we custom-code the Odoo modules and integrate them into your existing solution.

    5. Are there any Odoo apps specifically tailored for perishable inventory?

      You may find dedicated modules or apps on the Odoo App Store that provide more specialized features like advanced forecasting for perishable demand or integration with shelf-life optimizing technologies.

      Important Note: Be sure to check the following settings in your Odoo Inventory configuration:

      • Traceability: Enable “Lots & Serial Numbers” and “Expiration Dates”
      • Removal Strategies: Consider configuring appropriate strategies (like FEFO).

    Manage Your Perishable Goods Inventory with Odoo

    Space-O Technologies, an official Odoo implementation and customization partner, who has experience in integrating Odoo into your perishable goods management system. By using Odoo’s granular tracking, automated alerts, and supply chain integration, Space-O Technologies helps businesses like Sarah’s Bakery optimize operations, minimize waste, and enhance customer satisfaction. Contact Space-O Technologies to implement the Odoo system in your business.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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