How Home Renovation Projects Have Exposed Supply Chain Fragility

Supply Chain Fragility

Like many people around the world, you’ve probably been working from home for the past six months. Perhaps you’ve also been monitoring your children as they navigate the improvised labyrinth of online learning. All day, every day, you’ve been immersed in your home environment far more than you ever thought you would be. It seems like you’re constantly preparing food, loading the dishwasher, doing laundry, getting snacks, and engaging in a seemingly infinite number of other mundane activities that have turned your quiet home into a concerto for frazzled knowledge-worker soloist and obsolete-appliance orchestra.

If this is you, then perhaps your familiarity with your home has bred contempt for its flaws. Perhaps, you reason, if you’re to be imprisoned in your home during the dreaded second wave of the pandemic, it’s time to switch things up a bit, time to retire your veteran appliances and draft in a new generation … Read more...

HelloFresh Is Using Technology To Take a Huge Bite Out of a Multitrillion Dollar Industry

When families are counting on you for dinner, an unreliable supply chain is not an option. HelloFresh focuses on every step of the farm-to-door journey, shipping meal kits to millions of Americans, each filled with all of the ingredients necessary to prepare three to five different meals.

I recently found out how HelloFresh is using technology to reduce waste, improve quality processes and streamline supplier relations, all while doubling orders and revenue year-over-year.

It’s estimated that 40 percent of the food supply in the United States goes to waste because of over-portioning and wasteful distribution. Because of the attention to correct portioning, HelloFresh reduces the dinner food waste of its customers by at least 21 percent, resulting in a staggering reduction of food waste each week.

The company has over 2,500 employees in the United States who provide millions of meals that are carefully planned, carefully sourced and delivered … Read more...

Pivoting Towards Progress: Driving Agility in Quality and Supplier Management by Foolproofing Supply Chains

As the saying goes: “Progress doesn’t always follow a straight line.” No matter how severe short-term challenges can be, what is critical is that you’re always moving forward.

While predicting future changes or disruptions is next to impossible (particularly in the business world), planning for every major scenario is crucial and is essentially what sets forward-thinking leaders apart from the rest.


Navigating through Disruption: Current Challenges in Quality and Supplier Management


While no industry or sector is immune to the effects and aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some that have been harder hit than others. The quality and supplier management space just happen to fall into that category. Within these practice areas, supply chains have gone through a severe disruption.

While there is a breadth of challenges that supply chain leaders have been facing, the most common ones include the following:

Type of DisruptionHow They are Brought
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How the Elliott Review Can Help You Protect Your Food Supply Chain

Most people have heard about the EU horsemeat scandal in 2013, in which supermarkets in the UK were found to be selling beef products adulterated with horse meat. While this is perhaps the most high-profile example of food crime in recent years, its visibility also serves to overshadow many other disturbing, and more common, examples of food crime. For example, in July 2013, North Yorkshire Trading Standards sampled lamb curries from 10 takeaways and discovered that seven contained lamb and chicken, one contained lamb and beef, and only one contained just lamb as advertised. In December 2013, West Yorkshire Joint Services conducted tests on 873 food samples from restaurants and takeaways. 38% of these samples failed the test for food authenticity and showed that they were adulterated by unlisted ingredients and substitutes, including the use of cheese analogue instead of real cheese and chicken substituted for beef. In an earlier sample, they tested 16 lamb … Read more...

Canadian Honey Producers Stung by Sophisticated Food Fraud

Food fraud is big business. Criminal organizations around the world earn millions of dollars annually by cutting high-quality food products with cheaper substitutes to increase profits. The practice is so ubiquitous throughout the food industry that food protection agencies refer to it as economically motivated adulteration (EMA) The consequences of this practice can include reputational damage to respected food brands, public health crises resulting from adulteration using hazardous elements designed to avoid standard integrity testing, and financial damage to legitimate producers who can’t compete with cheaper adulterated products.  

According to a recent news story, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has been conducting targeted surveillance on international producers of adulterated honey entering the Canadian market since 2018. By analyzing 240 samples of imported honey, CFIA determined that one-fifth of the samples advertised as pure honey are adulterated with corn syrup, rice syrup, and cane sugar syrup. As a result of the inspection, … Read more...

Protecting the food supply chain from fraud and malicious attack

Every few years, an intentional adulteration of the food supply grabs headlines around the world. In 2008, Chinese dairy manufacturers added the chemical melamine, a plasticizing agent, to milk and infant formula to boost the detectable protein levels, resulting in the hospitalization of 54,000 children and six deaths. The 2013 EU horse meat scandal, in which horse meat was substituted for beef in products sold across the EU, severely damaged consumer confidence in traceability and testing standards for meat products. Perhaps even more disturbing is the possibility of intentional contamination of the food supply to cause harm, a possibility that has gained more attention in the age of global terrorism. 

With the complexity of today’s international food supply chain, it is vital that the food industry move beyond food safety and quality approaches to incorporate food fraud—to protect against intentional contamination for economic gain—and food defence—to protect against intentional contamination to cause harm. … Read more...

NAEM Report Highlights Challenges and Opportunities of Sustainability Practices of Supply Chain

Environmental sustainability, or the efforts made by everyone everywhere to safeguard the planet as well as responsibly use and replenish the finite resource we have in this world, has achieved the rightful status of being a strong business value and a boon to any company’s brand.

Many organizations now realize how a company operates as an environmentally and socially responsible provider of goods and services is – simply put – a good-for-business practice. Specific regulations in Canada, the United States and around the world guide corporations in terms of what they “must” do to achieve compliance. Business ethics, employees, customers and partners compel companies to go above and beyond these prescriptive rules.

Consumer demand for environmentally responsible products is continuing to push the sustainability agenda in terms of importance, transforming how companies relate to their supply chain partners. It’s not enough for a business to do everything it can to … Read more...

5 Reasons to Keep Suppliers & Buyers in the Loop

charts_businessOrganizations love to make design changes to their products on a regular basis.  Any firm producing a product, be it the Tesla Model S or McDonald’s French fries, strives to introduce incremental improvements to add new features, reduce costs, comply with the latest regulations, and remain competitive.  Sometimes these changes have an impact on suppliers.

  • Tesla just released its Version 8 software that introduces over 200+ enhancements for the Model S Autopilot technology.  Some of these changes will have an impact on Tesla’s suppliers due to integration between purchased components and Tesla’s design.
  • In 2008, McDonald’s formally announced it changed its recipe for French Fries by changing to trans-fat-free oil to address general health concerns over cardiovascular disease. Imagine the impact of this change to the supplier providing the trans-fat oil from a capacity, inventory, and profit standpoint.

The impact that design changes have on suppliers is significant.  Let’s take … Read more...

3 Ways It Pays to Turn Suppliers Into Partners

SuppliersHave you ever stopped to think about how important your suppliers are to your business? Do you view suppliers as business partners and an extension of your business, or do you see them as a reactive service provider that exists to fulfill demand?

All too often we tend to treat supplier relationships as contractual agreements rather than mutually beneficial partnerships. This behavior grossly under-estimates the tremendous benefit suppliers can provide to your firm’s day-to-day operations.  This “servant” paradigm is not the right way to go about conducting business with suppliers for a number of reasons.  Instead, let’s talk about three key reasons why we need a fundamental shift in our thinking away from the supplier “servant” paradigm to suppliers being members of a critical department in your organization – a key business function that adds value for your customers on a daily basis.

Reason # 1: Start with Trust

Relationships … Read more...

Sustainability Trends from NAEM: Zero Waste, Water Efficiency, and More

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Sustainability conferences give attendees a valuable opportunity to learn about industry trends directly from the companies that are leading the way! It’s safe to say that attendees learned a lot last week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the 2016 NAEM Sustainability Management Conference. From benchmarking best practices, to real-world case studies, to suggestions on how to engage with suppliers on common goals, this year’s line-up of speakers didn’t disappoint!

For those of you who missed out, or those who attended but would like a refresher, we’ve compiled our key takeaways from three of the most interesting topics of conversation at the conference.

The Zero Waste Journey

While some safety professionals share a “zero injuries” goal, sustainability professionals are talking more and more about a journey towards “zero waste” or “zero landfill.” The ultimate goal is to imitate sustainable cycles in nature, so that all resources involved in the creation of … Read more...