Today, in the first couple of months of 2020, we have seen more than ever how important it is to expand on the concept of a diverse supply chain- one that can easily pivot to other regions without compromising quality and safety of product. As a customer, making sure you don’t have all your eggs in the same basket is just good business -being able to source the same item from different suppliers protects your pipeline should the availability of that product be compromised.
It’s no secret to anyone that in the last twenty years, China has invested in being an irreplaceable sourcing partner in virtually every industry; Chinese investment in supply chain technology has been a focal point in their booming economy. Some of the world’s largest corporations work with factories and wholesalers based in China and rely on them for stable procurement. As a result, issues that have compromised production and export capacity in the region are felt globally across most industries.
Maintaining a diversified supply is a great way to optimize your risk management, while securing a stable source of supply.
In practice, however, a diversified supply chain translates to establishing new relationships and revalidating all your established standards and procedures.
In the food industry, quality assurance and regulatory compliance uphold an entirely different standard than other types of raw material. Food safety defense plans vary from region to region and working with global food safety enforcement bodies is essential in making sure that product from the export country meets the requirements of the import country. The need to react quickly without sacrificing the integrity of our supply chain is often a difficult act to balance. For our team, we find getting involved in the discussion as much as possible helps us stay ahead; acting as consultants for AFFI’s Food Safety Working Group for example keeps us well versed in identifying and leading the conversation on varying regulations around the globe.
Beyond sourcing raw material, being able to solidify all transport and logistic operations are pivotal in the diversification of a supply chain; if your company doesn’t possess the knowledge on how to move shipments, your suppliers are ultimately of little value to you. A strong logistics team needs to be able to meet scheduling requirements, navigate international customs, build solid relationships with carriers (ocean and land), and when it comes to frozen food, monitor temperatures all along the way so as not to end up with temperature abused product (!)
Each year, the future of Frozen Food Industry breeds innovation, promise and traceability. We are seeing automation and data intelligence technologies flourish in this sector, and that growth is heading towards concepts like block chain and “real time supply chain visibility.” For those of us who lack formal training in tech (and we hear you!) it can be difficult to understand what these promises really mean for our cold chain. At Brecon we value the transparency and certainty of a centralized information system connecting the right processors, service providers and customers; it’s the main driving force behind the developments we have made and continue to make with our MAP and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.
The very fabric of our business is international, so staying ahead of these innovations is integrated in our day to day. Our global expertise is the benefit our partners see in working with us- they don’t have to leave the perimeter of their business, drawing on business resources to identify credible sourcing solutions. They trust us. We’ve built and nurtured that trust for three decades. They know when they come to Brecon for sourcing, that they can leave it in our hands, and we’ll get the job done for them. And that includes both getting the product where it needs to be in optimal condition and driving ourselves towards the future of logistics.
The greatest case for diversifying your supply chain is that frozen food is now truly a global phenomenon, and its popularity is growing every year. The “unhealthy TV dinners” that were once the poster child for the frozen aisle have undergone rebranding and now include platforms for convenient health, meatless alternatives and even serve as favored options during food crises. The space for frozen food in our everyday lives has grown and keeps innovating, and that means there are sourcing partners and procurement opportunities all over the world for us to capitalize on.