By Mark Baum, Senior Vice President, Industry Relations, and Chief Collaboration Officer, Food Marketing Institute
VG's_Fast Lane_iPad

I recently discussed the food retail supply chain with a group of industry professionals who eat, breath and live it every day. During GS1 Connect, hosted by GS1 US, I presented on a panel discussion along with John Phillips, PepsiCo, Inc. and Chris Adams, Ahold Delhaize USA  to present, analyze and discuss supply chain trends, especially those with staying power. Here are some insights from the conversation:

Information is Power

If there is one overarching trend within the industry supply chain that is both driving change and likely to stay, it is consumer’s demand to know more about their food. For example, according to FMI’s 2019 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report, the average shopper looks for six different claims on the front of the product package, and 70% say having “accurate information displayed at the shelf or with the product” is very important to them. SmartLabel®, and other technologies that give consumers in-depth details about products are part of the future of supply chain transparency.  

On Demand Supply Chains

There is a need for speed. With consumers becoming accustomed to daily delivery and hourly pick up, there will be an increased focus on how to improve and leverage the end-to-end supply chain. Our supply chain networks will need to become efficient and move faster than ever before, and we’ll see a continued collapse of cycle times as processes continue to get faster and smarter. 

Shift in Supply Chain Skills

Advances in automation, additive printing and a new generation of smart, flexible robotics and other automation tolls will continue to remove labor cost from the supply chain. This means the supply chain skills of tomorrow will be different than today. As supply chain silos collapse into a seamless fast-cycle response, we’ll need managers who are more than technicians, who possess collaboration skills in addition to their operational expertise.

The Heart of the Supply Chain

Transportation management is at the heart of supply chain execution, interacting with and impacting many core functions of the organization. Transportation management is a crucial influence on the ability to serve customers, improve service levels, shorten delivery times and avoid delivery delays while maintaining or cutting costs. The industry needs to enhance capacity, while increasing efficiency and agility.

Data, Data, Data

Tracking every case, pallet, vehicle, item and customer in the supply chain will continue to create a vast amount of data. This rich ocean of detailed data, plus years of transaction-level data, will provide the perfect evolutionary conditions for a whole new generation of machine learning and optimization.

Supply Chain Resources

Photo Credit: SpartanNash