According to Mike Garner, operations director for TMI Foods, a subsidiary of the Irish Dawn Farm Foods group, customers could improve their supply chain efficiencies and cut their costs by listening to their suppliers more.
"The partnership is critical," said Garner, who has around 30 years' experience across a range of food manufacturing sectors, including chilled and fresh produce. "We have a lot of information that they probably don't have because we see the front end of it."
Garner said that customers' poor forecasting was one of the biggest challenges facing chilled food industry suppliers today. It happens all the time and puts extra pressure on suppliers' stock, packaging and ingredients control, he added.
"One of the most challenging aspects of our business is becoming the ability to accurately forecast based on our customer forecasts," he said. "Which very often means changing our plans not just on a weekly or daily basis but sometimes on an hourly basis."
Garner added: "We are totally dependent on our customers' ability to handle their own stock, utilise it and forecast their future use. And that, particularly on chilled products, gives us very little space to move."
For more on chilled food forecasting, click here.