The food industry has long been facing a supply chain crisis that has risen gradually from an insignificant issue to a barrier to business expansion and thriving. With the rising inflation rates, geopolitical conflicts, worsening global economy, energy and food prices, policy decisions, and other shaping factors of the overall business world, it’s no surprise that some have been more affected by others. The food industry is one of the sectors that took the biggest hit. Disruptions in the supply chain are normal and often occur due to natural crises and calamities, but the ongoing situation is harder than ever. The aftermath of Covid-19 and geopolitical conflicts add significantly to today’s supply chain crisis. Transportation delays, improper storage, weather, and other daunting factors make it more challenging for players ranging from the supermarket dairy supplier to your local nuts producer, raising the bar regarding efforts necessary to stay afloat and thrive.
Despite all the urgency of government bodies and businesses to align and find solutions to the crisis, one thing’s for sure. Everyone’s life depends on resilience and well-functioning supply chains. Here’s what it takes for a business in the food industry to overcome the challenges brought by the supply chain crisis and solidify its pillars to stand tall regardless of how factors like price fluctuations and resource availability will impact the sector.
What’s the main problem with the supply chains, whatsoever?
The supply chain crisis may be all you hear about these days around tables carrying out this discussion. The drink and food industry fought through testing times, given the food inflation that climbed by 18.2% in February of this year, only hitting the highest threshold in the past 45 years. The chaos seems to be calling for more effective solutions than ever, as the impositions on national transport arise, airports are log-jammed, and the supply chain is too fragile to become immune to the aftermaths of the shocks encountered as well as the hits it may witness along the road.
With all being said and done, the supply chain struggles today with employee shortages, labor insufficiencies, rising food prices, more unstable vendors, as well as disruptions in logistics, shipping, and retail firms. Customers might be tolerant, but long delays, increased delivery prices, poorer product quality, reduced product quantities, unfriendly customer support and other issues stemming from today’s worsening supply chain situation are not sweetening their voice or persuading them to remain loyal and understanding. Let’s see what businesses in the food industry can do to overcome and meet customers where they are in today’s burdened set.
Invest in technology
Experts and future-prepared businesses know that keeping up with technological advances can provide the most significant competitive advantage that’s sure to ensure the longevity of the equipped one. A good investment in technology equals another ace up one’s business’ sleeve, whether you count the costs resulting from mundane tasks’ automation, robots that minimize staff’s responsibilities, chatbots that serve as customer service and support, etc. Not everything has to revolve around robots whatsoever. There are numerous smaller and easier-to-implement practices that technology has driven and given to the world so that businesses dealing with labor scarcity, production management, and other supply chain problems can quicker overcome these hurdles without wrecking their budgets. Tech involvement goes further than one may think. For instance, suppose you’re manufacturing cocoa biscuits, but your supplier charges you a lot for their services. Then, using a innovation-oriented provider such as ofi.com could save you a significant share since they are additionally cutting on their production and distribution costs for cocoas, nuts, spices, dairy, etc., due to their automated and perfected operations. They can, many times, improve finances.
Take, for instance, the kiosks in stores. Customers can now choose, order their products, and pay for them without the help of an employee. They can even refill their own glasses with drinks. This frees employees’ time and reduces their responsibilities significantly, potentially obliterating the requirement for such help.
Discover the most lucrative distribution means
4.1 million Americans left their jobs a year ago, whereas the job vacancies in the UK stood at more than 1.16 million between October and December of the same year. Employees are harder to find than in previous years, and the good ones are even more improbable. A helping hand in times of crisis is difficult, if not impossible, to find. If it is discoverable, it will likely cost you an arm and a leg, which is the last thing your business needs when dealing with rising prices, profit reductions, higher salaries, higher taxes, and the whole array of aftermaths whatsoever. For this reason, many budget-oriented businesses have started to pick up a business model inspired by budget-focused customers themselves, meaning offering them financial perks for a small effort from their side.
Take examples from the heavyweights
Consumers today are being offered tips for picking up products from the store. Take a look at Domino’s “$3 tip” for clients, for instance, and see how it reduced their need for employee work. Other companies give back to customers opting for in-store pickup or remote orders.
Similar methods are helpful for both parties involved and significantly take a load off the staff’s shoulders, making the cost of labor less of a burden and adding bucks when the BTL is crossed, especially in an era where dine-in is losing ground to at-home meals. Even if the former has been your primary method of serving, exploring and trying alternative delivery methods could prove more profitable than you might think.
The supply chain mayhem is worsening daily, meaning businesses looking to secure their spot in the rankings and keep their customers must be more vigilant and adaptive than ever. The measures thoroughly depicted above are ensured to help them safeguard their operations, customer base, position, and potential profits when tackled vigorously and adjusted to meet the specific needs of the involved parties, whether you look at vendors, customers, suppliers, or upper management.