The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of the world’s food systems and infrastructure. Extraordinary pressure has been put onto supply chains, creating bottlenecks at each stage from farm to fork. Could this pandemic-era be the catalyst to redesign a stronger and more responsible supply chain?
Britain imports 80% of its ingredients from abroad, carrots sold in the supermarkets on Monday were picked in Spain on Tuesday. However, during lock-down shopping and eating habits transformed. The sale of seeds, compost and chickens soared, as people went local to take responsibility of their own food safety. Local grocers, bakeries and dairy farms boxed up their goods and went on local delivery rounds. Whether these shifts in behaviours will become permanent habits remains to be seen. We can, however, expect that local growers, shorter supply chains, food safety and food provenance are parked at the top of the priority list.
Unfortunately, shorter supply chains do not mean simpler. Local sourcing adds complexity by fragmenting the supply chain with multiple providers and are therefore harder to control. Working with smaller producers can bring its own set of challenges; from quality control procedures, through to potentially higher cost-based models. If COVID-19 has taught us something, we now see the need for some pain for the greater good. Government, industries and consumers are refocussed on local, seasonal supply chains that are less intrusive on our environment.
What can food providers do to create more responsible supply chains?
- Identify a broad selection of suppliers to mitigate potential sourcing and stock issues.
- Ensure suppliers are ratified and up-to-date trading information is stored in a centralised repository or database.
- Integrate supplier information to include dietary, allergen and nutritional information.
- Manage trading relationships with approved purchasing lists – define which products can be bought with which suppliers, improving consistency of quality and price.
- Replace manual tasks with computerised processes from the point of order through to invoicing and management of credit notes.
- Track KPIs and measure performance in meaningful dashboards to make informed decisions.
- Invest in long-term relationships with suppliers and food providers. Create loyalty and to reduce both cost and risk.
- Innovate and simplify recipes to minimise ingredients and take advantage of seasonality.
Harnessing the advantages of catering software will help foodservice organisations automate processes, streamline operations and make informed decisions on how to create responsible and resilient supply chains. If you would like more information on how Saffron could improve the management of your supply chain please visit fdhospitality.com/solution or call 0114 212 4023.