Change or die! How technology is helping foodservice supply chain respond to change

Helen Henshaw - CAO
11th January 2023

Rather drastic in my view, but there is a sentiment that supply chains must be able to adapt quickly to changes in the market if they are to prosper. This was especially borne out during the recent pandemic and now by geopolitical upheaval.  So how has the foodservice supply chain had to shift in recent times to adapt to this increasingly volatile world?


Building resilience

One of the most common reactions to recent challenges has been to increase inventories and apply structural changes to supply networks, such as multiple sourcing strategies. But to effect change in a meaningful way you need data, data that is comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date.

Businesses, helped along by their technology sector mates, have made significant progress in recent years with the development of digital dashboards. This increased visibility within an organization greatly aids the ability of managers to avoid or reduce the impact of supply chain challenges.

So, everyone is happy with their newfound 20:20 vision of the supply chain but seeing the problem is one thing, it’s what you do about it that is the real winner. Cue the trend towards demand and supply planning.


Clever planning

New regulations, shifts in demand, and technological advances all have an impact on supply chains. Companies need to be aware of these factors and always have contingency plans in place, but how do you get clever with your planning, how do you stay one step ahead?

More sophisticated planning is what’s needed. Better understanding of the relationships between suppliers and customers as well as between suppliers themselves. Greater digitization and data analysis is key to identifying trends and forecasting demand.


Digitization Phase 2

Digitization efforts are moving towards trying to identify what products will sell, when, and where. This information can be used to improve the supply chain and ensure that it’s responsive to market trends and customer needs.

Technology is a valuable commodity in the supply chain management sector, it can really help to improve decision making. This is being increasingly supplied using embedded advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and data science.

Adapting your supply network can be tough, the challenges never ending, but it’s necessary in today’s ever-changing business environment. To remain successful, it’s important that you are prepared for change and have the flexibility to make necessary adjustments. Maybe it’s worth asking your technology mates to lend you a helping hand?