Increasing public concern for food quality and global sourcing of food products is moving the entire food and beverage industry towards creating better ways and means of ensuring the safety of what we eat.
It’s also driving the creation of an interconnected global system for the production and distribution of food. During the last decade, many public and private standards for food safety and quality have been developed around the world and today there are more worldwide standards than ever before. The trend is clear – food safety is top of mind concern on a global scale.
With the finalization of Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and compliance Preventive Controls rules for large companies already announced, the increased need for integrated supply chain management has become paramount.
What are the most important trends impacting food and beverage companies today?
Source: LNS Research Food and Beverage industry survey data
Still, it’s a difficult task to find the right global suppliers and effectively managing them to achieve necessary cost, quality, and risk targets. Food manufacturers continue to face major challenges when managing food safety programs. And, with FSMA requirements for preemptive food safety processes, it’s clear that many companies need a more comprehensive view into their entire supply chain, something that companies often struggle to achieve.
The goal is to reduce risk across the entire supply chain. Doing so means having visibility into the complete supply chain lineage of all ingredients that go into any given product. FSMA greatly expanded the power of the FDA to require transparency from companies, including more detailed record sharing and supplier verification.
Simply mapping the entire supply chain isn’t enough. Companies must record and verify everything, starting from an ingredient’s point of origin to its final destination, and all points along the way.
Take cashews as an example. These are typically grown and harvested in Africa then shipped to Vietnam or India for processing (deshelling, cleaning, sorting), then transported to the U.S. for grading before finally being sold to a distributor. Both the distributor and manufacturer now need to document all steps and stops listed above.
A fully integrated supply chain extends visibility all the way to suppliers’ shipping docks, which helps ensure every piece of the food delivery puzzle fits into FSMA’s guidelines. Without an ability to track and trace the entire process, you simply can’t ensure contamination has been prevented at any given point along the journey. But by utilizing technology, food and beverage companies have much greater visibility into supply chain process.
Creating an Integrated supply chain
- Create end to end Traceability
The first step is to create a high-level map of your current supply chain workflows and internal operations within each plant. This helps to identify potential risks and gaps where additional information is necessary.
- Create integrated information sharing mechanism
Keep your suppliers informed about future and current verification procedures to ensure all downstream and upstream partners within the supply chain are fully aware and understand the risks associated with a safety failure. It’s a matter of seeing your suppliers more like your partners and that will ensure higher success rates, decreased risks, and enhanced collaboration and innovation.
- Transforming the operations
Investing in some form of technology can help simplify the entire process. But what might be even more important is knowing how technology can automate the supply chain, remove human error, and provide early warnings of potential risk. The key is having a system that makes it easy to view your suppliers and analyze risk factors.
A recent research report from LNS provides insight into the challenges faced by the F&B industry in adapting to new regulations and includes deep dives into how to “Mitigate Risk with Integrated Supplier Management in the Food and Beverage Industry.”
Download the report, below.