Procurement practitioners in the food retail industry are adjusting to powerful new strategic trends in their sector, which are redefining the ways that food proceeds from the farm to the shelf. This is shown by the US Food Marketing Institute (FMI) in a new report by its senior VP, Mark Baum. He identifies three core trends that food industry procurement pros are keeping abreast of as well as their other duties of cost reduction, strategic sourcing, category management, etc.
Delivering customer information
Customer relationships today hinge on the availability of clear and accurate information about supply chains. No-one wants to buy produce from supply chains tainted with child labour and other exploitative practices, which is why customers demand to know more about where their food comes from, where it’s been en route to the shelf and what’s in it.
The ‘On-Demand’ supply chain
So-called ‘last mile’ food delivery services, such as JustEat and Deliveroo have introduced an expectation among consumers that their lunch or evening meal should arrive at their doorstep almost instantly. It means that companies who have emphasised supply relationship management to foster agile, highly-responsive supply chains have a major competitive advantage in the thriving new ‘Amazonised’ economy of immediacy.
Baum says: “Our supply chain networks will need to become efficient and move faster than ever before, and we’ll see a continued collapse of cycle times as processes continue to get faster and smarter.”
The centrality of data
The tech-driven ability to track every customer, vehicle, item, pallet and case in the supply chain has generated an immense quantity of data. Such a vast amount of detailed data, Baum observes: “will provide the perfect evolutionary conditions for a whole new generation of machine learning and optimisation.” Companies that can collect and analyse the right data about their food supply chains, he says, will enjoy the greatest success.