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Practical Insights (Blog)

Four Ways Advanced Data Analytics is Disrupting the F&B Supply Chain

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Bill Forster, EVP Food & Beverage, Maine Pointe outlines how disruptive technologies are presenting the food and beverage industry with an unprecedented opportunity to improve margins, reduce waste and meet changing consumer demand.

The food and beverage market has always been fiercely competitive. Pressures around changing consumer behaviors, ingredient visibility, rising operational costs, production efficiency, and product quality form a complex operating environment for the industry as a whole. The modern supply chain depends on real-time data to operate efficiently. Survival is about complete visibility and having the agility to capitalize on a rapidly changing market. It’s about smart use of new technologies to create a demand-driven end-to-end digital supply chain. Organizations need to embrace innovative technologies that help optimize daily operations and hone profit margins.

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New technologies are transforming the F&B supply chain

Admittedly, all this talk of digitization can be pretty exhausting but you can’t afford to be left behind, here’s why:

1. Blockchain technology aggregates data to create a bulletproof distribution ledger. This allows businesses to track assets at every stage of the supply chain, creating increased transparency and cost savings. Walmart is already piloting a Blockchain program that tracks produce from farm to shelf. This will keep consumers informed about precisely where their food comes from and also help businesses ensure a greater level of accountability from their suppliers.

2. In an industry characterized by narrow margins, analytics helps food and beverage companies predict future demand, and manage stock accordingly. In this way, companies are not only able to avoid overstocking but also reduce the risk of under stocking and not being able to meet industry and consumer demands. The insights derived from analytics, tell businesses which products to keep in stock on a regular basis and when to buy them saving time, money and product.

3. Big data and analytics can be leveraged to improve safety and quality across the food value chain. They can help companies manage recalls of defective, dangerous or expired products and, by making the supply chain more efficient, can prevent those products from ever making it to stores in the future. Industry leaders need to learn how to leverage these technologies to improve food safety and quality across the value chain. 

4. It may have got off to a cautious start, but the food industry has now fully embraced Ecommerce. For the food industry, perhaps more than any other, accurate time and information management are essential to reduce waste and ensure the quality of delivered perishable goods. Buyers need to know when products are available for ordering and when they will be delivered. Yet again, Big Data and analytics offer the key to success.

The need for modernization is quickly moving up every smart CEO's to-do list

While many organizations are already well on their way to operating a demand-driven digital supply chain, others are still stuck in the weeds, not knowing quite where to begin. If you fall into that category, here are a couple of questions you might like to consider:

  • Are you sure you have the reliable data you need to make better supply chain decisions?
  • How confident are you that your supply chain and operations can keep up with the pace of change?

If the answer is, “not very”, now’s the time to develop a step-by-step transformation journey. The best place to begin is by getting a clear understanding of where you are today. That means completing an in-depth analysis across the end-to-end supply chain to identify where the opportunities for improvements in cash, costs and growth might lie. There’s every chance your existing ERP system already holds much of the data you're looking for. The next step is to learn how to aggregate that data to give you the dashboards you need to get actionable insights.

The great news is, with the right support, you can start to see the benefits relatively quickly. For example, we helped one agricultural retailer implement a leading data analytics capability which provided previously unavailable insights into slow-moving, misplaced, and obsolete inventory, generating $18M in cash in just eight weeks and $31M within three months.

If your business is struggling to keep up with the pace of data analytics and digitization, we can help. Email: info@mainepointe.com for a no-obligation chat. Alternatively, my direct dial is 617 894 2838.


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Calculate the value potential for your businessComplete our TVO Self Assessment Tool ™ and receive an automated Value Opportunity Report. This provides an indicative quantification of the value improvement potential (EBITDA & cash) across your buy-make-move-fulfill supply chain.

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About Us

Maine Pointe is a global implementation-focused consulting firm trusted by many chief executives and private equity firms to drive compelling economic returns for their companies. We achieve this by delivering accelerated, sustainable improvements in both EBITDA and cash across their procurement, logistics and operations to enable growth. Our hands-on implementation experts work with executives and their teams to rapidly break through functional silos and transform the buy-make-move-fulfill supply chain to deliver the greatest value to customers and investors at the lowest cost to business. We call this Total Value Optimization (TVO)™.

Maine Pointe’s engagements are results-driven and deliver between 3.5:1-12:1 ROI. We are so confident in our work and our processes that we provide a unique 100% guarantee of engagement fees based on annualized savings. www.mainepointe.com

Topics: food&beverage supply chain transformation digital supply chain