The pandemic has affected supply chains in a number of ways
With insights from: Doug Thurston, vice president of sales, Cold Chain Digital Solutions at Emerson
With insights from: Tim Whiting, VP Marketing, Label Insight
With insights from: Bill Michalski, Chief Product Officer, ArrowStream
As food and beverage processors, their suppliers, their distributors and their end customers try to learn from the current pandemic and prepare for potential disruptions in the future, the one thing they all have in common is a need for a complete and thorough understanding of their supply chains, where those chains are weakest and how to strengthen them.
There is no universal answer, because every food and beverage processor will learn something different. But the universal principles that can be applied to determining the answers are focusing on data, evaluating each step of the process and building redundancy and backup plans into the supply chain.
As Traasdahl says, data collaboration will be key, because it allows for suppliers and customers at any point in the process to work from the same universal truths to understand what they need to provide to each other to avoid failings.
“Reliable on-time-in-full deliveries require data sharing, communication, and collaboration between supplier and customer,” says Traasdahl. “This way, a supplier can see connections between retail sales trends, their distributor’s on-hand inventory and upcoming orders, and plan ahead to meet demand.”
The steps needed cost money, of course, and processors will have to balance the costs with the benefits as they do anything else. But supply chain resiliency will be a major consideration going forward, which means the costs will be necessary in some places to guard against potential breakdowns in the future.
“The key to striking the right balance is digital visibility,” says Traasdahl. “Accurate pictures of demand that connect back to distribution and production allow for leaner supply chains that can more quickly meet needs while mitigating risk.” FE
Intro photo courtesy of Getty Images/simonkr