Fowler Welch’s Supply Chain of the Future report suggested businesses needed to adapt their supply chain to consumer technology trends.
Ceo Nick Hay said consumers’ use of technology for their shopping was increasing their expectations of retailers’ – and in turn placing greater demands on manufacturers – forcing them to be more innovative in the way they engage with customers.
He told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “For a successful supply chain, my number one tip would be to be open to collaboration. The changes in retail are affecting every element of the supply chain, so it is key that greater communication and collaboration across all operations is seen.
“Supply chain members should be working with trusted partners to make the most of each other’s expertise in order to maintain margins.”
Fowler Welch’s report said thetraditional organisation of vehicles, pallets and equipment that was standardised to drive efficiencies across the supply chain was built for a system that no longer existed. These networks and services were no longer relevant.
Fowler Welch warned traditional supply chain models were in danger of being rendered obsolete. Suppliers needed to maintain an open mind and be open to the innovation available.
“It is imperative that to remain relevant and future-proof, all members of the supply chain prioritise innovation, collaboration and co-operation in their business objectives,” said Fowler Welch.
“The businesses that take these changes and develop alongside them will ensure they are at the cutting edge of the changing face of retail.”
The food and drink supply chain has already felt the strain of fulfilling consumer orders from whatever channel they choose.
Data was another area Hay suggested businesses could use to see improvements in the supply chain, if used and analysed correctly.
“By clearly mapping the supply chain from end-to-end, visibility can make marked savings to food waste, efficiency and quality,” said Hay.
“The vast amounts of data available allow for a clear view of what is happening at each point in the supply chain, for issues to be identified and resolved thereby improving overall performance.”
While new technology could improve efficiency across the supply chain, Hay noted it might not be readily accessible to everyone.
He stressed the importance of looking at existing practices and asses any ways in which these can be updated or capitalised on to improve efficiencies.
“Flexibility is key. Businesses must remain open to change and make sure they are making the most of all the resources available to them in order to protect margins and stay competitive in the industry,” added Hay.
“The supply chain has to react to these changes in order to meet demand. But a range of technological developments that aid collaboration, consolidation, data analysis and warehouse efficiency are entering the supply chain on a large scale, aiming to positively impact its ability to adapt successfully.”
Top tips to keep your supply chain up to date
- Collaborating with trusted with trusted partners to share expertise
- Using big data to track deliveries and reduce waste and boost efficiency
- Be open to change. Embrace the latest technology. If you can’t, then adapt existing practices to work with the latest technology