Supply chain digitization can unlock significant benefits for agri-food companies to enhance data sharing, decision making, supplier collaboration and ultimately the transparency that consumers demand in the supply chain.
Consumer demands are shifting and organizations in the food supply chain are faced with ever-increasing questions around the security of the food we consume, and how brands are working towards Improving sustainable practices across their supply chains. This is driving the need for supply chain efficiencies to address expectations of improved sustainability and security. Businesses can use the digitization of their supply chain as a distinct competitive advantage in bolstering their brand reputation.
The journey towards digital transformation
The shift to digital has been slow, with relatively few organizations unlocking the full potential of their digital opportunities. There are a significant number of challenges as to why it has been a slow transition; including complex global supply chains, poor collaboration and cooperation, fear of change and implementation, and too many data silos. Supply chains are not where they need to be to allow data to free flow and add value up and down the global food supply chain.
Are you looking to begin your digital transformation journey, but don’t know where to start? Dan Rafuse shares his top tips below:
- Understand why you are doing it, start by identifying what you should be measuring and why. Think about the various stakeholders that will consume the data, and how it will be communicated. View compliance as the baseline and customer expectations as the goal.
- Identify areas of greatest risk and focus investment in areas of greatest concern – for you, your stakeholders or your customers. Common criteria in the agri-food sector include food safety, human rights risks and sustainability risks to your brand - these exist in many supply chains, yet many processors and organizations don’t have a clear understanding of where they exist.
- Cascade digital access to remote suppliers, to ensure granular data transparency in key areas. This will help to automate the mapping of your supply chain, identify your data requirements internally and share them across your value chain.
How digitizing your supply chain can help strengthen your business
One of the key benefits of digitization is understanding who is in your supply chain. Sure, you may know who your direct suppliers are, but do you have an understanding of where their growers, farmers, exporters or packers are? The key question you need to be able to answer is: “where are my suppliers? What do they supply me? And, do they have the correct due diligence I need them to have and therefore are they approved to supply?”
If your supply chain is extensive and ever-changing, this becomes a nightmare to manage manually and that could potentially jeopardize your brand and add cost to your supply chain.
Risk is often subjective, but why is understanding areas of risk important? It helps to inform the strategic plan. For example, what is my auditing schedule? Do I need to go and visit specific site locations? And, who can self-access or who needs a deep dive investigation, if there is a high-risk area? For example with deforestation, knowing how many suppliers and growers are impacted by this and who represents a risk to your brand is critical.
Why is benchmarking supplier performance important? Firstly, you can profile supplier performance, understanding who your best performing and worst performing suppliers are. Target those problem areas to optimize relationships and ultimately drive out waste, and improve customer satisfaction. The value of digitizing this process is to enable partners to become more engaged in the process.
Digitization of your quality management processes, allows you to accurately articulate your quality goals within the manufacturing environment. Marrying customer complaints with quality complaints or quality issues and including the ingestion of third party data sets, begins to unlock the cause and effect relationship. Answering questions such as how are my suppliers performing on quality? What impact is that having on my internal performance? What is the relationship between quality, waste and complaints? Can I predict the impact on quality, shelf life and complaint levels at any point in the supply chain?
Our approach to helping the growing demands of consumers
Keeping up with today’s consumer demands requires insight into the journey your products go through as part of the supply chain. Small inefficiencies can add up and ultimately have a negative impact on purchasing decisions and actions of the consumer.
We aim to leverage our technological expertise to improve efficiencies, reduce waste and food insecurity while enabling the food industry to become more sustainable and create better food outcomes. Including:
- Enabling the agri-food sector to accelerate tech adoption and digitization across all areas of the industry, including private and public entities.
- Optimize operations to create more robust data that can be used to support decision making. This includes the capability to connect data across multiple ecosystems through the use of API’s and support next-generation analytics.
- Unlock interoperability, allowing partners to trade data and unlock value to participants at each node of the supply chain.
In the end, digitization future-proofs a business by unlocking long-term growth opportunities, ensuring customer satisfaction enables better understanding and therefore securing brand trust.