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From Farm-to-fork: Why Supply Chain Transparency is Important

Modern consumers give great importance to the quality and price of the products they purchase. As consumers demand more information about the origin and authenticity of the products that they consume, forward-looking brands seek to reach new levels of transparency. The challenge is to accurately provide a higher level of detail when faced with an increasingly complex supply chain.  Moreover, tracking and documenting every step in the supply chain is no simple task. Supply chain transparency goes well beyond gaining visibility into the extended supply chain. It is the process by which a company acts on the insights gained through greater visibility to manage risks more efficiently. In today’s competitive market, establishing consumer loyalty is easier said than done. It takes a lot more than a few rewards plans to keep a consumer from slipping to the competitors. Brands must build trust and instill confidence in their customers that the goods they provide are of the best quality, safe, and authentic. Unlike before, today, consumers want to understand the journey a product goes through before it gets to the store shelf – and this is especially true for SE_Demo2food products.

The Importance of Supply Chain Transparency in the Food Industry

Improved food quality and supply chain transparency have become increasingly important to many manufacturers in the food industry as consumers increasingly seek these qualities in the food products that they purchase. Furthermore, social media has raised the bar, making it much easier for customers to force transparency on brands and manufacturers who do not embrace this movement. The ones failing to adhere to do so often end up with bad goodwill and negative word of mouth against the brand. Here are some of the main reasons why supply chain transparency is the need of the hour for every company in the food industry:

Adhering to regulations

Food manufacturers continue to face numerous challenges in managing the food safety. Apart from satisfying consumer demand for increased supply chain transparency, the food industry is becoming increasingly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FSMA requires companies in the food industry to increase their focus on prevention rather than a response to contamination incidents, which will require a comprehensive view of the entire supply chain, something many food suppliers struggle within today’s global economy. This makes the need for supply chain transparency all the more critical. Without the ability to track and trace through the entire supply chain, it becomes complicated to ensure that contamination has not occurred at any point in the food manufacturing process. By leveraging advanced technologies like big data analytics, track and trace, and supply chain mapping, food manufacturers, and suppliers can increase the supply chain transparency.

Building customer loyalty and trust

Though manufacturers will have the ability to pinpoint the cause of contamination with the help of increased supply chain transparency, the consumer will always blame the supplier regardless of the actual source of contamination. Though not every customer will be interested in farm-to-fork traceability, the ability to display supply chain transparency following recall is one of the best ways to reduce the impact and loss of consumer trust. Publicly accepting and addressing the source of the contamination and effectively demonstrating the steps taken to ensure the cause allows the supplier to rebuild that trust and display the ability to help prevent future outbreaks.

Establish brand equity

When manufacturers in the food industry build supply chain transparency and provide customers with information about where their food has been, what ingredients have been used, and how fresh it is, it builds brand equity. Building brand equity not only requires the technological ability to have supply chain transparency, but also the motivation and willingness to provide consumers with the necessary information as a standard practice and not just when there is a contamination. Though this may seem to be too much of a hassle for food manufacturers, increased public transparency will help improve a brand’s value as customers appreciate the steady flow of information and consequently become more loyal to the brand.

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Streamline Your Food and Beverage Supply Chain: 5 Useful Tips

Getting the supply chain management right for companies in the food and beverage industry is a tricky process, considering the high perishability and time-sensitivity of the materials handled. Therefore, the processing and product-to-market functions must be completed within strict deadlines. In addition, strict regulations enforced by bodies like FDI makes it mandatory for food and beverage companies to follow such regulations. If these standards are not adhered to, it could result in product recalls and even severe actions against the company. To streamline the supply chain management, companies can implement an enterprise-level software solution that will help in efficiently managing complex functionalities. Software solutions with dynamic features will help players in the food and beverage industry to gain an accurate and real-time overview of the processes. Thus, ensuring better reporting and decision-making capabilities for the business.

Food and beverage companies can keep tabs on their supply chain activities using advanced software soluSE_Demo2tions in the following ways:

Cloud ERP software

Modern businesses are finding great utility in cloud computing. A cloud ERP software provides some unique opportunities for managing the food and beverage supply chain. Continuous server connectivity is one of the critical benefits of the cloud-based software. They have real-time access to workflow data and enable quicker communication between storage houses. Also, software hosted on cloud servers also can be updated more regularly instead of relying on manual upgrades. However, a significant drawback here is that cloud-based ERP systems are not universally compatible, and the overall efficiency of these solutions largely depends on the size of the business.

Accurate forecasting

The change in consumer taste and preferences has heavily impact the food and beverage industry. Therefore, the ability to accurately predict the change in trends is crucial for maintaining the food and beverage supply chain. Advanced data analytics can help companies to predict the future trends correctly and take timely action to combat the challenges. They also provide food and beverage companies with an informative overview of their supply chain. Additionally, they can better monitor past and current trends and formulate forecasts for future developments.

Mobile Access

With the advent of modern technology, it is now possible to access real-time data and make informed decisions. Advanced software solutions are designed to incorporate smartphone and tablet computer compatibility to expand operational functionality. With mobile access, food and beverage companies can engage in sending and receiving data remotely in real-time, enabling faster dissemination of information and improved decision-making in supply chain activities.

Adaptability to change

The demand in the food and beverage industry is highly dynamic, which requires solutions that have the capability of adapting to these changing requirements. The software solution implemented must also be able to boost new growth within the organization. Hence, food and beverage businesses need to possess customizable systems with open architecture frameworks to adapt to the changing needs of customers.

Adhere to compliance

Players in the food and beverage industry are under the scrutiny of the FDA and other regulatory bodies, and complying to these agencies could put pressure on supply chain processes. Automating procedures and addressing obligations are key to streamlining production and distribution in this sector. Companies can use reliable software solutions that will enable more precise inventory control to ensure all necessary materials are kept track of. This can further help companies to avoid unwanted regulatory actions and recalls.

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Making of a Transparent Supply Chain for Food and Beverage Industry

One industry which is constantly under the scanner to be more transparent and accountable is the food and beverage sector. Growing preference for organic food and increased focus on hygiene are the two main factors which keep the players in this industry on their toes. This brings forward the importance of transparency in the supply chain process, which companies in the food service aim to achieve.

Supply chains in food & beverage industry

Typically, a food & beverage supply chain starts from the farm in which the raw product is produced and ends with the final consumers. Freight carriers, forward warehouses, distribution centers, and 3PLs are other components in this rather long and inter-connected chain of events. Undoubtedly it is a challenge to see to it that all the stakeholders involved in this, meet the demands of regulators, and make their work process open to the public.

The inherent complexity and fragmented nature of supply chains call for a highly sharp and structured platform which makes the task of tracking the business flow easy to capture and simple to understand. Bringing all the stakeholders on the same page is yet another task, that many players in the food service industry are trying to achieve.

Need to think beyond the traditional framework

For a transparent and seamless supply chain mechanism, it is essential that the right data be collected and put into use in the most intelligent manner possible. The traditional framework of data analysis is a rather restricted one, as it hardly goes beyond the peripheral analysis of operational data. Also, not being aligned with technology, it becomes rather difficult for traditional frameworks to quickly decipher large volumes of information. This gap in data processing makes it rather problematic to bring the element of transparency in the entire supply chain process, along with leaving minimal scope for innovation.

As industry experts, we believe that for any supply chain to be up-to-date and transparent, it is rather imperative that technology is aptly brought into play. It is in this context that data analytics, spend analysis and benchmarking need to work hand in hand. This way it becomes far easier to not only process huge volumes of data but also identify and predict potential problems which might evolve over a period of time.

A transparent supply chain is thus the result of optimal use of technology and converting the generated data into actionable strategies.

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How to Better Manage Procurement in the Food and Beverage Industry

Procurement in the food and beverage industry tends to involve a large number of suppliers, even for smaller businesses. Whether you’re a food manufacturer, restaurant, or other organization, chances are you need a variety of ingredients and food products, and one or two sources will not be enough to fill your requirements. This makes proper procurement practices essential. With items in the food and beverage industry making up a significant percentage of expenses, managing them properly can make a significant difference to your bottom line. So, in this article, we have talked about a few important tips to manage procurement in the food and beverage industry. 

How to manage procurement in the food and beverage industry?

#1. The system to manage supply orders

One thing to consider when examining procurement practices is what system you use to manage supply orders and interactions. Some business uses generic procurement software, or do not use a program at all. The food and beverage industry has some unique and complex qualities, and using a system made specifically for that industry can be much more efficient. 

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#2. A strong spend analysis program

A spend analysis program valuable when dealing with a large number of suppliers. With so many purchases from multiple sources, it can become overwhelming to try and find the best price for every single item. A spend analysis program can provide in-depth insights into where your money is going and identify areas where it is possible to order more efficiently making procurement in the food and beverage industry more efficient. 

#3. Regional regulations

Regional regulations also have an impact on procurement as changes in laws can impact what you need from suppliers and how you source your food items. Even if you are not operating in multiple countries, regulations can vary from place to place within a country, such as the United States, where each state regulates the industry separately. It is important to keep on top of these rules, know what is required in that area and being aware of changes that can impact your business operations. This is another area where a strong procurement system in the food and beverage industry can be invaluable, as it can streamline communication with multiple suppliers when something needs to change.request proposal

#4. Group purchasing

If you are a smaller company or need a relatively small quantity of a particular item, group purchasing can bring savings that would otherwise be inaccessible to you. Group purchasing organizations allow multiple companies to combine their orders in order to take advantage of bulk discounts and other incentives. They also allow businesses to share information and insights into suppliers and tactics that help in streamlining the procurement in the food and beverage industry. 

#5. Meetings with salespeople

One other way to streamline procurement in the food and beverage industry is to make the most of your meetings with salespeople. Much of the time in these meetings is often taken up by administrative tasks that do not need to be taken care of in person. Taking care of those tasks through other channels will free up the time to discuss other matters that can result in better deals, a stronger understanding of each other’s strategies and processes, and a closer relationship.

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