By: Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh – Industry Relations, FMI
Commodity supplier seeking grocer for short-term collaboration with the potential for long-term relationship.
Local food retailer is expanding its team and looking for new suppliers for immediate needs and possible permanent partnership.
It may sound like a personal ad or hiring notice, but, in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, there is a real and urgent need for a tool that pairs food industry organizations that want to buy products and those who want to sell their goods and services.
To address acute supply chain disruptions and mitigate food loss and shortages, FMI has launched a new subscription-based digital platform that matches retailer and wholesaler members around the country with suppliers, including those who are new to the retail market. The new and soon-to-be-expanded Food Industry Exchange platform was created for FMI by software company The Seam. outbreak, there is a real and urgent need for a tool that pairs food industry organizations that want to buy products and those who want to sell their goods and services.
Early on in this crisis, we recognized the importance of connecting various and previously unlinked members of the supply chain. While the initial process was manual – almost like communicating with a proverbial can and string – FMI teamed up with The Seam, which had deep experience in virtual marketplaces and was able to quickly digitize the system.
For nominal fee of $100, parties can act as buyers and sellers in a secure, real-time and verified exchange. Upon finding each other via the Food Industry Exchange, the parties go offline to conduct transactions. Our role at FMI is to facilitate the process and interconnect a geographically-dispersed supply chain.
In the beginning, logistics services like transportation and warehousing were key to smoothing the supply chain. As the crisis has evolved, the Food Industry Exchange has enabled food retailers and distributors to efficiently source products that have been in high demand during stay-at-home period, like flour, pasta and cleaning products.
As we’ve learned together – sometimes painfully – the only certain thing about the COVID-19 situation is that it will continue to change. We believe that the highly efficient Food Industry Exchange will continue to be a useful tool as restrictions lift and, if needed, new restrictions are imposed amid COVID-19 flare-ups.
Beyond the current crisis, this platform will prove helpful in other disruptions, such as extreme weather events. Even during periods of blue skies, retailers often look for new sources of supplies.
Ultimately, today’s “in search of” can lead to a long and successful partnership. We’re happy to be the matchmaker.