Perishable goods make up for well over 70% of all freight shipped across the United States.
However, it is also one of the most sensitive types of freight movement. Many perishable food items, much like pharmaceuticals, need to stay within a very specific temperature range. More often than not, this requires specialized equipment and a knowledgeable team.
The safe movement of perishable items is a constant challenge that most shippers deal with at some point. With the increasing consumer demand for enhanced transparency, traceability, and freshness of consumables, these issues become that much more complex and frustrating for carriers and retailers alike.
In fact, when it comes to supply chain challenges, the food and beverage industry has more than most dry goods shippers face.
Let's take a look at the top 5 challenges associated with perishable freight and talk about how a lot of them can be mitigated.
A leading source of frustration for food and beverage companies is clearing inventory levels before they spoil or lose the freshness that consumers demand. more often than not, this is caused by poor supply chain management efforts.
In order to optimize food and beverage inventory, manufacturers, retailers, and distributors must work together to monitor inventory levels at the point of sale. More so, they must track it all concisely across fulfillment centers and warehouses. All while efficiently rotating inventory through the supply chain. Failure to do so results in reduced sales, customer satisfaction, and eventually decreased profits.
There are six links that make up the modern food and beverage supply chain:
Raw material sourcing
Manufacturing or production of food and beverage products
Packaging and process
Storage of finished products
Distribution to wholesalers
Distribution to the end consumer
A lapse in any of these links can cause a significant disruption of service. This is what we’ll talk about today. In the information below, we will outline the top 5 food and beverage supply challenges that exist for shippers, carriers, and all partners in the food supply chain.
Increasing Regulatory Procedures
Across the globe, government agencies and consumer groups work together daily to explore new ways of improving the quality and safety of food and beverage products that provide sustenance and satisfy that sweet tooth or craving. In some cases, these ideas are morphed into regulations that help to monitor the manufacturing, storage, and movement of products.
The key to dealing with any regulatory-specific objective is ensuring the lines of communication are clear between supply chain partners. With today’s technology, improvements on the software-side-of-things and blockchain technology can improve transparency and provide a platform that is secure and accessible for all parties.
Along with inventory control, inaccurate forecasting continues to plague the industry.
But, when forecasting is consistently performed with a high level of accuracy, a few things happen:
Manufacturing stays consistent and efficient
Distribution is optimized
Purchasing is streamlined
Customers receive the freshest possible products.
Like the growing regulatory problems, technology plays a vital role in gaining accurate insights, which improves the ability to forecast more accurately.
Quality Control & Threat of Product Recalls
These two are one in the same. In most instances, a product recall is the direct result of a lapse in quality control standards or procedures. Whether it’s forgetting to properly monitor temperatures for cold storage or perishable products throughout transit, or a failure in the cleaning procedures at a manufacturing facility, quality control is vital to the efficient and safe manufacturing of all food and beverage products.
Items Outside of Control of Individual Partners
While partners strive to work together, sometimes mistakes just happen.
This is usually in large part to things that occur outside of the control of other food supply chain partners.
Specifically, there are a few that tend to impact the food and beverage industry more than other commodities:
Improper storage of food and beverage products at warehouses or retail facilities
Delays in freight movement due to poor weather, traffic, or other acts of God.
Unethical actions of individual employees
Issues like the ones described above can destroy a food and beverage brand. And while these problems are quite difficult to navigate, there are many ways supply chain partners can reduce the potential of them ever occurring.
However, one of the best ways to reduce these challenges is to work with an experienced 3PL like Redwood Logistics.
Whether you’re a manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, or carrier, Redwood Logistics can help you!
Our team of logistics professionals are able to locate and repair issues with your supply chain. More importantly, we give you a blueprint to follow and the tools to navigate even the roughest of future situations.
If you have questions about how Redwood Logistics can help your accommodate perishable freight better, give us a call.