Food-SC-Issues

Food Supply Chain Issues

The global food supply chain has grown exponentially over the last few decades, creating complexity and challenges that translate into empty store shelves and a lack of basic provisions. Recent shortages have highlighted the need for robust, future-proof supply chain management systems that far exceed the capabilities of conventional inventory control processes. Today, we will look at the importance of supply chain management in food production and some solutions to prevent further crises.

The Core Challenges in Global Food Supply Chains

There are several elements of supply chain management, and a lack of control in every area leads to supply chain failure. The COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit in Europe, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine have further exacerbated current food chain problems, but a solid supply chain should be equipped to withstand this pressure to a certain extent.

Below, we’ll summarize the primary factors at hand.

 

Quality, Safety, and Traceability

Consumer demand is at an all-time high and producers must distribute high-quality products in accordance with regulations and traceability. Transport delays, poor storage practices, or even bad weather can cause a disaster or lead to food recalls.

 

Communication Breakdowns

The supply chain can spread across countless parties–from growers to pickers, stockists to manufacturers, and raw food producers to brand packaging plants–and that’s before a product gets anywhere near a shelf.

A lack of communication leads to major food supply chain impacts, including excessive food waste, errors, and wide-scale inefficiencies.

Increasing Supply Chain Costs

Higher fuel, workforce, freight, and logistics costs put a strain on budgets, which means it costs more to produce, transport, and prepare food. Greater operating costs mean that some parts of the supply chain could either cut corners or cease trading altogether, affecting every other logistical partner.

Finding a Solution to Food Supply Chain Problems

Issues such as the sudden reduction in wheat exports, fertilizer, and energy resources from Ukraine and Russia have directly impacted parts of the food supply chain and agricultural sector. However, many of the big challenges we have explored can be addressed quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively by deploying supply chain management software.

With adaptations and technological advancements, supply chain managers can bolster their approach to ensure their sourcing, production, storage, distribution, and packaging processes are tightly controlled.

 

Boosting Food Supply Chain Resilience

Solutions are available through cloud-based networks and enterprise service management, which brings all the puzzle pieces of a food supply chain together:

  • Modern inventory management provides real-time stock visibility, including in-transit updates, supporting managers in identifying potential delays and suitable contingencies.
  • Sophisticated network solutions can improve forecasting, reduce unnecessary spending and wastage, and spot growing consumer trends.
  • Integrated systems track cost drivers and provide onboarding processes for new suppliers to streamline contingent planning.
  • A cloud communication system enables instantaneous communication from anywhere, providing data around demand, supply, and transit with both formal and unstructured correspondence tools.
  • Supply chain tech delivers transparency and live data across the network to ensure regulatory compliance, an audit trail of production standard testing, and the origin of each item.


While the food supply chain can be vast and unwieldy, a digital supply chain approach can address ongoing challenges, reduce costs, improve efficiency, and use algorithmic forecasts to make quick decisions.

David Blonski

David Blonski

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