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5-Step Plan to Achieve Food Manufacturing Supply Chain Visibility

Published on: Jan 27, 2016

Increasing visibility is a critical strategy for all manufacturers, but even more so for those in food manufacturing. In our last blog, How to Improve Transparency in Food Manufacturing, we discussed the importance of transparency to food manufacturers. A vital component of transparency is supply chain visibility.

Supply chain visibility means that you are able to collect and respond to information from your suppliers regardless of size or geographic location. This information includes specific data related to product orders, physical shipments, invoices, and the status of events and milestones. When done well, you will have a tight synchronization of supply and demand as well as the ability to orchestrate the flow of product, information, and funds.

Visibility provides many benefits in addition to transparency. Supply chain visibility can help reduce costs and improve company performance by increasing your company’s agility and responsiveness. In order to establish supply chain visibility and see these key benefits, you will need to follow these steps.

An Action Plan for Supply Chain Visibility in Food Manufacturing

Establish communication: In order to gather information from your suppliers and transporters, you will need to share and adopt universal standards for barcoding and data exchange. GS1 standards will give you a common language to identify, capture, and share supply chain data at all levels—order, shipment, container pallet, and unit. You should have visibility wherever your inputs are located whether on the truck, on a ship, or on a loading dock.

Build relationships: Supply chain visibility is built on sharing information and trusting your partners with that information. It is important to set jointly held, concise and measurable benchmarks, and expectations across all levels of the organizations.

Know your customers: Be sure the decisions you make and the partners you work with understand the impact on all parties involved. Losing site of customer or distributor requirements could be a fatal flaw in your supply chain plans.

Invest in technology: All of the data in the world is not useful, unless you can act on it.  You must invest in the technology infrastructure and resources to gather information and respond to changing environments. Seamless, integrated, and efficient order-to-fulfillment processes between suppliers and operations will result in faster turn-around times, better compliance, and improved customer service.

Data collection technology, such as barcode scanning, should be implemented to track at the ingredient or item level. By adopting universal standards, you will be able to control and monitor item, shipment, and pallet flows.

Enterprise software can help you to exchange, manage, and analyze data in real-time. Integrated business software will enable the flow of data among all departments, as well as to your suppliers and distributors, providing the visibility you need for true transparency.

Identify cost savings and business process improvements: Visibility will help you optimize processes, reduce inefficiencies, and drive out costs. Using a business intelligence application, integrated with your enterprise software, will allow you to take advantage of data visibility by making better decisions to improve your business.

Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3): Enterprise software made for food manufacturing

Enterprise software is a key component in establishing supply chain visibility. With Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3), an ERP made for food manufacturing companies, you can gain visibility into all of your business operations.  It can help you collect, store, manage and act on the data that you receive from you suppliers and better manage the entire supply chain for improved transparency.

Transparency is a critical requirement in the food manufacturing business. With Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3), you can streamline tracking and provide information visibility to all who need it. For more information, download our free whitepaper, Improving Transparency in Food Manufacturing.

IWI Consulting Group has experience in implementing enterprise software and systems in food processing companies. We understand your unique needs for transparency, traceability and food safety. Contact us if you would like to transform your business to be more transparent.