One of the main factors that led to supply chain complexity is the rapid technological advancements. The food and beverage industry is not the same as it used to be in previous times. Dramatic changes in consumer preferences are a common scenario today. These changes in tastes and perceptions are because of the information economy, social media influence, and 24-hour news cycles. Marketers are realizing that if the quality of a food product doesn’t match the consumer tastes, it cannot last long in this perfectly competitive arena. New-age food and beverage firms are hiring quality control subcontractors to ensure that their food products conform to quality standards in every aspect.
How Technology is Minimizing Complexities in the Food Supply Chain
It will not be an exaggeration to say that technology is minimizing complexities in the supply chain in more ways than one. Food and beverage companies are considering the below-mentioned choices for reducing complexities in the supply chain:
With the emergence of cloud-based software, network solutions are always available which is indeed a boon for all organizations. Besides response-time dependent machine control technologies, modern-day supply chains need a cloud-based solution.
New-age supply chains should be a SaaS(software-as-a-service) rather than one installed on-premise.
One cannot deny the several benefits associated with modern SaaS services. More often, these benefits come in the form of feature richness, software responsiveness, data security, future-proofing, lower ownership costs, connectivity, and flexibility. When it comes to supply chain applications, these services include supplier management, transportation management, warehouse management, global trade management, enterprise asset management, real-time transportation visibility, demand planning, and network inventory management.
Food and beverage firms can be assured of steady levels of production uptime, proper maintenance schedules, equipment productivity, and low ownership costs. This is bound to increase the profitability of these beverage firms. With the assistance of supplier auditors, organizations ensure their production operations are carried out rightly. Besides SaaS, organizations also need to consider the network aspect of various supply chain processes. Food and beverage firms are feeling the need for a one-stop solution for supplier management, direct procurement of goods, and global trade management. It enables easier supplier and carrier connectivity, data exchange, order and issue collaboration, speedy time-to-value, synchronized planning, agile sense-and-respond, and performance monitoring.
Cold-chain tracking and traceability
Tight temperature control plays a great hand in conforming to the product quality standards of food and beverage industries. These firms are investing in technologies to verify temperature exposure from plant to store. It is also enhancing carrier selection while accelerating service performance. This is particularly relevant for food and beverage products that are shipped from far-off destinations. With the advent of disposable temperature loggers to wireless temperature monitoring devices, the choices of these firms are extensive.
Nowadays, leading refrigerated trucking carriers offer extensive trailer monitoring for the convenience of shippers. These carriers also have telematics capabilities that provide shippers with real-time visibility to trailer temperatures during all stages of shipping activities. Refrigerated shipping containers come with sensitive internal temperature monitoring and control systems. Their wireless tracking system can identify real-time temperature readings and more. This is undoubtedly a more economical option for food and beverage industries when compared to product-level sensors and IoT(Internet of Things). Modern-day organizations are feeling the urgency to develop long-term relationships with their suppliers more than ever before. The role of quality control subcontractors is increasingly becoming important in this regard.
Source integrity and visibility solutions
Apart from cold-chain assurance, one of the major trends in food and beverage chains include procurement and ingredient certification. Like fashion industries, food and beverage industries also face the challenge to engage with upstream suppliers to validate the quality of raw materials and ingredients. The ingredients, raw foods, and processed foods must match the preferences of consumers.
Millennials expect that the beverage brands they select can deliver their commitments while adhering to sustainability standards. Food industries can also accelerate their certification process with on-location digital photographs while supporting non-compliance reports.
Nowadays, compliance-tracking solutions run on blockchain technology and thereby, provide highly secure user authentication, data intrusion protection, document access, and modifications in audit trails.
Unlike software technology, sustainable packaging is a materials technology recommendation. With rising “plastic bans” in several countries, the need for sustainable packaging is becoming even more relevant. No doubt, “convenience” packaging leads to excess waste while giving a threat to the existence of human beings and animals. Beverage companies should focus more on using recyclable, reusable, and biodegradable products like glass jars or bottles.
Technology has a great role to play in minimizing the complexities in the food supply chain. Organizations scrutinize the manufacturing operations of supply firms by hiring supplier auditors. The managers of food and beverage industries must implement the above-mentioned technologies for reducing complexities in the food supply chain.