ArrowStream Foodservice Blog

A Guide to Food Safety Management for Supply Chain Partners

Posted by Kate Hubbard on Aug 27, 2020 11:30:00 AM

Achieve efficient food safety management with software for suppliers and distributors. Supply chain partners can optimize operations without risking safety.

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Food safety and product compliance have never been more important for brands.

Modern research and media exposure have shown that customers have lost trust in organizations. This trend in consumer perception is not only caused by companies whose products have shown instances of not being compliant, but also by those doing the bare minimum to reach compliance. 

In fact, 45% of consumers don’t trust brands that have shown instances of unethical behavior or have caused a scandal, and 40% stop buying from them completely.

Meanwhile, companies are struggling with product compliance and their brand image has suffered from their reactive operations. To overcome this market dilemma, food safety needs to be more prioritized than ever before.

The Challenge of a Global Supply Chain and Shifting Consumer Preferences

Food safety is also becoming increasingly important as supply chains globalize their operations and sourcing strategies. 

Due to new market trends, natural resource scarcity, and increased trading, imported food products increase by 5 to 15% each year. Currently, the FDA already regulates incoming products from 300,000 facilities across 150 countries, and this product list will only expand. 

Many brands expand their supply chain by delving into popular markets and partnering with new suppliers to bring their customers products that are local, organic, gluten-free or non-GMO. 

While this business decision serves to cater to customer dietary restrictions and health interests, it does complicate supply chain operations and logistics. 

Supply chain workers need to be prepared to create consistent control systems for efficient risk management if they are supporting globalized operations. One of the main challenges with risk management is that it can be expensive and challenging to determine which risk mitigation efforts are most effective and worth it. 

Other challenges include the fact that globalized operations are much more impacted by political, environmental, and man-made conflicts due to operating within different countries and crossing borders. Some examples of events that would prompt increased supply chain safety requirements include trade wars, different border requirements, natural events like flooding, warnings of terrorist activity targeting food supplies, and many more. 

However, if you are lucky to not experience these grave issues, globalized supply chains will still be more complex due to simply being longer and allocated among a wider group of suppliers, distributors and operators. This has the potential to impact brand reputation if supply shortages, shipment delays, inventory stock-outs, and safety problems begin occurring.

As foreign and domestic food production continues to become less separate, increased complexity in managing food safety is inevitable. It’s important to still provide high-quality monitoring of food products, even across a larger scale, to ensure safety and quality remain intact. 

Safety Risks during Freight Management

Risks to food safety are common during distribution. Common transportation food safety risks make it imperative that upstream and downstream supply chain partners are able to input and manage data effectively. 

One solution to mitigate food quality risks is to ensure that truck temperatures remain set and monitored for changes that could spoil the food. Fortunately, this has gotten a lot easier thanks to software that monitors individual pallet and product temperatures, as opposed to relying solely on the truck’s temperature.

There are also smaller (but easily forgettable) actions that need to be taken to promote food safety best practices when inventory is in transit. These include keeping open doors during delivery to a minimum in order to prevent temperature disruption and track data to see when there has been a dangerous temperature change. This is all feasible with software that offers temperature alerts and individual product monitoring. 

Included configurable data is capable of sorting through data to flag recurring quality issues or patterns that might result in a diluted brand image. Data is also categorized, making it easier for distributors and food operators to share industry-trusted supply chain reports with customers and inspectors alike for increased brand transparency. 

This increased data visibility helps supply chain partners promote accountability and consistency with guided supply chain processes.

Disperse Food Safety Management

Efficient collaboration and communication is the best way to ensure that your entire supply chain is proactively managing food safety. 

Viewing food safety management as only the responsibility of the individual supply chain segment currently handling the product is an outdated method and leads to reactive food safety management. Another inefficient management practice is to track risks on paper, which causes discrepancies due to human error.

Supply chain partners, such as suppliers and distributors, can leverage operator systems to easily mitigate risk with tech-enabled programs and performance tracking. 

This is entirely achievable with a food safety management software. Modern systems allow for centralized collaboration, data sharing, and end-to-end visibility; resulting in real-time tracking of all products.

Protect Your Brand’s Image and Supply Chain Health with   Supply Chain Management Software

With the power of cloud computing, teams can access resources anywhere, any time. 

Food safety supply chain software means you don’t have to rely on 3rd party auditing to determine if you are meeting food safety compliance. Risk-based food safety management software ensures that all food segments of the supply chain have complete ownership of their own individual food safety programs. 

This promotes accountability and ensures that suppliers, distributors, and restaurant operators can provide input on safety and noncompliance issues for both incoming and outgoing products.

Modern programs ensure a multi-tiered approach to food safety checks, which facilitates continuous review and improvement efforts from the whole supplier network. These additional reviews act as a buffer in case any mistakes regarding non-compliance have been missed by the first tier within the supply chain.

Food safety encompasses multiple processes–offering transparency, compliance, and quick resolutions to name a few. To surpass safety requirements with flying colors, supply chain members must have consistent production guidelines. With guidance, they will be able to verify product safety on a company recognized scale and prevent risk.

How to manage Food Safety with Software 

Supplier Portals

Supply chain software solutions offer supplier portals to help teams gain access to safety-related data and targeted analytics. Thanks to automated data organization, overarching safety issues can be quickly determined for proactive risk mitigation. 

Data input systems provide supplier teams with constant guidance towards best practices and standardized operations. Once data is input within a software solution, access can be shared throughout the team, which helps optimize safety improvement measures and tracking. This process helps secure food quality and safety while still enabling teams to accelerate their processing times.

Direct communication with restaurant operators allows quality and safety problems to be communicated and dealt with immediately if restaurants get a shipment with signs of noncompliance. This helps supply chain partners resolve safety issues quickly, determine ongoing trends, and prevent mass product recalls.

Additional market data is accessible to view large-scale market risks that could impact the quality, cost and overall supply of your food items. Market data is conveniently formatted to create expert reports, analyses and forecasting. This makes it easier to expand your production and supplied product types using data and evidence of what is trendy and sustainable in terms of consistency and safety. 

Distributer Portals

Similarly, there are distributor software portals available to strategize logistic plans offering food safety and risk mitigation. 

With freight management software features, you can increase your freight by 20% due to optimized transportation routes and faster information sharing. This increase in freight can serve as a buffer if a product becomes damaged, contaminated or not up to brand standards.

Further sensors also provide real-time information about inventory in transit, including shipment location, estimated arrival times, and actual arrival dates. Gaining full visibility ensures that product safety remains prioritized during transit.

Your Next Step: Leverage a Sustainable Food Safety System

The importance of a compliant and high-quality supply chain cannot be overstated. All too often, brands lose customer trust and loyalty due to day-to-day incidents that can be avoided through a strategic and analytical supply chain approach. 

All supply chain partners can benefit from food safety management software to facilitate better inventory management. Adjust to modern consumer expectations and align with trusted restaurant chains who have prioritized safety with ArrowStream’s intelligent supplier and distributor portals. Click here to get a free software demo from one of our foodservice experts. 

Committing to safety is made easy with the right software tool that allows for consistent improvement, measurable goal tracking, and increased transparency.

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