Perishable products are particularly vulnerable to global supply chain disruptions. In an effort to improve how short-lived goods are manufactured and distributed, two industries on different continents are finding data collection tools as a way to improve operations.
One such industry is the floral market. Like all cultivated goods, flowers are susceptible to weather, distribution and storage interruptions. According to the Loadstar, Africa's annual $500 million cut flower sales to Europe loses an average of 20 percent, or $100 million in wasted product through poor temperature control along its supply chain. One of the main reasons for the inefficiencies, is that the cut flowers market has decentralized from auction exchanges to direct sales from manufacturers.
Problems with the cold supply chain extend beyond Africa's flower market. In India, the quest for efficient growth and delivery of perishable food products has life and death consequences. In an analysis of India's cold supply chain, the Hindu Business Line blamed obsolete technology as one of the biggest flaws in food logistics, where a bulk of the over 5,300 cold storage facilities were built in the 1960s and configured for single-product distribution. Compounding the problem is the fact that these facilities lack tools that allow for supply chain flexibility, thereby narrowing capacity utilization.
Advanced Supply Chain Solutions Improve Perishable Goods Output
Suppliers seeking new ways to improve cold supply chain vulnerabilities can find solutions through the use of integrated data gathering tools. With advancements in automated data collection methods that allow for the real time tracking and monitoring of goods, suppliers are able to exercise flexible decision making capabilities.
When it comes to the cold supply chain, advanced data solutions "make it possible to tie in lots of different categories of information, all of which contribute to very robust traceability, capability, and risk management," said food industry professional Sean Robinson, according to Food Logistics. "[Advanced solutions] also deliver the kinds of analytics that allow companies to look for process inefficiencies, or other breakdowns that are causing excessive losses of materials."
Whether it be barcode software to track pallets of flowers or automated data collection methods in which various suppliers are able to collaboratively analyze information on a product to make better procurement decisions, implementing new and improved information collection methods remains one of the key ways companies can take to stay competitive.