Aug 15 2018

5 Top Tips For Better Managing Your Food and Beverage Supply Chain

Perhaps more so than any other industry, the food and beverage business is particularly problematic when it comes to its supply chain management.

Due to the time-sensitive and perishable nature of the goods being transported, the ever-changing strict F&B regulations, and processes such as picking and packing involved, food and beverage supply chain operations can be some of the most difficult to navigate.

Seasonality issues can also create unique problems for supply chain management in regards to food and beverage -- being able to anticipate seasonal trends and changes is often a major hurdle when it comes to maintaining consistency. With raw materials and ingredients, it’s no surprise that carriers are faced with so many obstacles when managing their supply chain.

Take note of these top tips to help navigate those pitfalls a little easier!

Automation - While it may sound obvious, the more automation you can bring to your food and beverage supply chain, the better. Repetitive processes within your supply chain should be automated as far as possible, reducing the need for employee interference and consequently, human error.

There are vast amounts of services and software available nowadays to streamline and automate almost every element of the supply chain process -- if you’re not taking advantage of what's out there to aid in your SCM, you’re setting yourself up for a much more time consuming, difficult process.

In terms of F&B in particular, having access to quantifiable data is imperative when considering the issues of perishability and shelf life of the products in transit. Automation systems and software such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), is able to provide and monitor this information in real-time.

Maintain Compliance Data - The food and beverage industry is constantly under enormous scrutiny. With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the Department of Health Canada, as well as global bodies to adhere to, food and beverage carriers must maintain compliance data in order to avoid any unnecessary complications with their F&B supply chain management.

Gathering data from automation software, tracking materials and processes, and maintaining records of everything which you have recorded, is going to make life that much easier when it comes to guaranteeing and visibly showing your compliance with F&B regulations.

Predicting changing trends - As consumer preferences change, so too will your supply chain. While we may not be able to predict exactly what future trends will have in store, being proactive and keeping a close eye on changing demands will better equip you to deal with future surprises.

The market is constantly fluctuating as are product costs and availability, (as mentioned previously, seasonality issues can cause significant issues) being able to predict future trends as far as possible is crucial. Taking advantage of advanced data analytics to monitor past fluctuations can be a great way to anticipate future ones.    

Adaptability - Related to predicting changing trends, your ability to not only predict but adapt to the ebbs and flows of the market, is a must. In order to give yourself the best possible chance to react to market changes, employing software that is customizable with an open framework, can aid in your overall flexibility.

Optimize your inventory - The food and beverage industry is naturally very inventory heavy --the average days of inventory can be significantly higher in the days of coverage range compared to that of other sectors. Your inventory typically may span several stocking locations -- in order to fully streamline your entire inventory, Multi-Echelon Inventory Optimization (MEIO) could be the best answer.

MEIO is a holistic approach which looks at the inventory across the entire supply chain, compared with a single-echelon approach which determines the inventory for each echelon separately. Employing MEIO methodology means more visibility is given to the entirety of your supply chain inventory across every echelon -- cycle stock can be more accurately predicted and safety stock levels can be better monitored.

Food and beverage supply chain brings with it a unique set of challenges. Due to the special nature of the products involved, the quick turn around and the fluctuations of the market, navigating your way to F&B supply chain success doesn’t come without its significant hurdles! In order to truly streamline your processes and optimize operations, steps must be taken across the board from compliance with regulatory bodies, to enhancing your ability to adapt through predicting market trends.  

The key player in all these areas is the use of software that is going to make life that little bit easier! Having the ability to track, monitor, and automate every aspect of your F&B supply chain is going to set you up for success.  

Want to find out how Seldat can help optimize your F&D supply chain? Get in touch today!

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