As the food supply chain becomes more globalized and as supermarkets and consumers put a greater emphasis on the timeliness of food shipments, more demands are being placed on suppliers to keep up. In order to keep goods moving as quickly and efficiently as possible, marketing and communications professional Anthony Vitiello wrote in a recent Food Logistics article that organizations now have no choice but to adopt supply chain software and other automated data collection methods.
In a separate article, Food Logistics last year reported on a study from insurer Coface. Their research found that thanks to rising prices for staple items and increased volatility both in terms of global political barriers and natural disasters, more strain than ever is now placed on companies trying to move food items around the world as quickly as possible.
Also, another major force affecting the food supply chain is increased consumer demand on having the freshest items available. Walmart helped lead this charge in 2010, when Logistics Viewpoints reported that the chain mandated that its suppliers have shipments in within a four day time frame.
"One thing is for sure: many consumer goods supply chain executives will be challenged to hit their cost targets in the coming year," the 2010 article stated.
To Deal With the Strain, Turn to Supply Chain Software
While some companies may look at the current food supply chain landscape and think they are being presented with a zero-sum equation, Vitiello wrote that this is not the case. To address these issues, suppliers instead need to invest in updated data collection tools that can provide businesses with real-time supply chain information and analysis.
"Well, what food shippers viewed as aggravation, transportation management solution providers saw as a spur to innovation," he wrote. "IT solution providers serving the supply chain industry had already been experimenting with algorithmic programs to optimize freight, routing and even entire transportation networks, for years by the time Walmart imposed MABD. Early innovators fielded commercially available optimization tools, but were met with the characteristic resistance to change. But it wasn't until shortly after Walmart changed the rules that adoption rates for optimization tools began to really take off. Shippers now had a compelling reason to take a chance with transportation management systems (TMS), automated freight optimizers and network optimization tools."
As a result of current food industry trends, it is now vital that companies have the best supply chain software solutions in place. This way, they can more accurately track all variables present in their supply chain and develop ways to make shipments more efficient.