Food Product Fulfillment: 3 Ways to Protect Perishables

Getting the right product to the right location at the right time is crucial in any type of supply chain.  However it is absolutely critical when it comes to the fulfillment, distribution, and transportation of perishable goods.  Each partner in the supply chain from producers to distributors to retailers needs to have specific inventory strategies to ensure the safety and quality of each item.  Here are three ways to safeguard your perishable food supply chain.

Food Supply Chain Technology: Increasing Warehouse IT

In an industry where time is of the essence, implementing measures that increase speed and efficiency are taking a much higher priority.  The main way companies are achieving a more streamlined supply chain is through technology.  A recent survey performed by Zebra Technologies Corporation showed that over 40% of IT and warehouse operations professionals cite shorter delivery times as a key motivator for technology investment.

Food and Beverage Supply Chain Technology Security

Think of all of the different passwords you type each day. One for your work email, personal email, bank account, to get into your phone and don’t forget about logging into Facebook, Pandora and Netflix. There is no denying the importance of data security today with the massive amounts of personal information we store and access electronically. It has become fairly routine, simple and effective to manage our personal access points on our different devices, but when it comes to the expanding Internet of Things (IoT), supply chain management is much more complex.

Perishables Logistics: Racing the Clock

Food manufacturers are constantly battling time.  In most industries products are sellable, even after they have “gone out of style”.  Food producers must play by a different set of rules, governed by the expiration date.  Once the expiration date is reached, that product is obsolete.  In a 2012 report done by the Natural Resources Defense Council, 43 billion pounds of food were wasted at the retail level alone in 2008.

Food Logistics: Protecting Perishables on the Move

We’ve all been there.  After a long stroll through the aisles at your grocery store, navigating shopping carts and couponers, you finally get your haul to the trunk of your hot car.  As you load your milk, ice cream, ground beef and eggs, you say a little prayer that you make it home before it all goes bad.  Sure enough, the gas light is on as you start the car and the radio announces that there is car accident blocking a lane on your drive home.  If a couple small snags can derail your trip home from the grocery store, imagine the obstacles that lie between a fresh food product in the warehouse and getting it to your grocer’s shelf. 

Traceability in the Food Supply Chain

You just logged into your eBay account and strategically placed the winning bid for the putter you’ve had your eye on for months.  In only a few short days, your golf bag will receive the final piece of the puzzle and your odds in the approaching club championship just improved.  So as you scrub, shine and polish the other residents of your cart bag in anticipation of your newest addition, you can search, refresh and track each step your putter makes on its way to your doorstep.  From the desktop in your office to your phone in your pocket, the location of your purchase is at your fingertips.  The ability to trace your order from a warehouse 1,200 miles away to your mailbox is an incredible thing.  The traceability available in the food supply chain is, however, more complex.

Food Logistics: A Focus on Safety

According to Statista 86% of Americans are seriously to moderately concerned about health or safety related food recalls.  And rightfully so, considering that many foodborne illnesses are potentially lethal, including salmonella, E. coli, listeria, and even Hepatitis A.  As a core concern of American families, there is nothing more important to preserving your brand image than maintaining a safe and clean food supply chain.  Do you remember the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA)?  In 2008, they were forced out of business shortly after it was discovered that they were the cause of a major salmonella outbreak.  More than 700 people became seriously ill.  9 people died.  The PCA underwent Chapter 7 bankruptcy and is still fighting civil lawsuits in court to this day. 

The Importance of Quality Food Logistics

The alarm goes off at 6:15 a.m.   Just like every morning you hit the snooze button.  At 6:24 a.m. it goes off again.   You rub the sleep out of your eyes and your morning routine begins.  Dressed and ready for work, the only thing you need on your way out of the door is your morning coffee.  Freshly brewed and waiting in your favorite travel mug, you reach into the refrigerator to add a splash of milk.  As you lift the cap from the half full milk carton, an odor fills your kitchen and you quickly realize you’ll be taking your coffee “black” this morning.  Checking the expiration date, you begin to pour four dollars’ worth of milk down the drain five days earlier than the dairy promised you.  Now your morning, much like your milk, is spoiled.  Realizing there is going to be a ticked off 4 year old who can’t have chocolate milk coming down the stairs any minute, you quickly head out to the office.