Food safety is as crucial to food and beverage companies as it is to consumers. Unfortunately, too many companies are unaware of the resources available to improve transparency in their food and beverage supply chains, or to increase the safety and authenticity of their products. The risks of contamination, spoilage, or improper sourcing carry potentially dire consequences, such as E. coli outbreaks across numerous states.
Fortunately, collaborative applications with cloud-enabled data connectivity can now bring together food and beverage supply chain partners in real-time. End-to-end visibility and collaboration improves overall supply chain efficiency and strategic planning. This is true for suppliers, producers, processors, sellers, and consumers.
Current challenges within food and beverage supply chains
Today’s food and beverage supply chains face tough challenges that can disrupt business and harm consumers including:
- Insufficient transparency for sourcing traceability
- Supply chain complexity, which can obscure origin and call into question safety and environmental compliance
- Rapid shifts in consumer demands
- Regulatory compliance standards that vary from country to country
- Inadequate supply planning technology, which can lead to overstocking, empty shelves, and lower profits
Using cloud-based technology to improve supply chains for sourcing
Advanced-analytic applications with forecasting, tracking, collaboration, and automation features can vastly improve supply chain efficiency. These capabilities help hotel and restaurant owners improve procurement sourcing and scheduling, and better understand where foods and ingredients come from.
Food fraud has become a vexing problem for stores, restaurants, and other food purveyors. An estimated 80 percent of extra virgin olive oil isn’t actually extra virgin. Some products do not come from the advertised country of origin. About 20 percent of the honey sold in Europe contains added sugars from unknown sources.
Clearly, food and beverage purveyors are vulnerable to supply chain dysfunction. Cloud-based supply chain management applications can address these risks by gathering and making sense of available data about sourcing.
Vanguard Software’s food and beverage customers work on a collaborative cloud platform that helps users optimize policies and decisions around selling (and delivering) vast arrays of SKUs. Platform capabilities include forecast automation, plus the ability to forecast by customer, product line, SKU, or even distribution channel. There are also advanced modeling and simulation capabilities built into the platform that optimize channel management and seasonal planning, and help increase sales growth and profitability.
Vanguard IBP for Supply Chain also uses advanced analytics to predict supply needs, making it significantly easier for grocery stores and restaurants to keep shelves perfectly stocked instead of having to throw out spoiled products or disappoint customers.
Choosing the right supply chain software
With the right supply chain software, food purveyors can save time and money, improve customer service, and better avoid risks of contamination, spoilage, fraud, and inefficiency. A solid cloud platform should include the following features:
- Advanced-analytic forecasting algorithms: Identify patterns, seasonality, anomalies, correlations, and more.
- Cognitive method-selection technology: Automatically choose optimal forecast methods and parameters, increasing accuracy and focusing users on results.
- Adjustments & overrides: Let Sales and other business users layer in promotions, ad campaigns, and other business activities or events to help shape or refine forecasts.
- Automated new product introductions: Cannibalization, supersession, comparable forecasting; new store openings and group forecasting.