DSN: A Backbone for A Dynamic Food & Beverage Supply Chain

Positive Impact to Upstream and Downstream Processes

A Digital Supply Network is defined as machine to machine communications of critical data and information that eliminates manual intervention. By automating key processes these networks enable the status quo to exist while allowing team members to focus on higher-level problem-solving.

Three areas where digital supply networks make an impact in the Food & Beverage Supply Chain are:

  • Supplier quality management
  • Supply chain visibility
  • The “Amazon Effect”

Digitizing supplier quality management will improve finished good quality, inventory control and market responsiveness. In today’s supply chain, the data that drives supplier quality originates in a digital format but is transmitted in paper or documents during shipments, requiring people to aggregate data manually. This data includes Certificates of Analysis test results, responses to regulatory audits and supplier corrective actions. By digitally connecting lot level test results from supplier LIMS systems, audit responses and results, and supplier root cause analysis from SCARs, food producers can holistically understand supplier trends, and proactively work with suppliers to get ahead of issues. Examples benefits include:

  • Spot quality trends – By systemically aggregating COA data, food producers can statistically spot supplier trends before they adversely affect finished good quality, resulting in lower scrap rates and improved product consistency.
  • Reduce compliance risk – Reduce risk through alerts that suppliers have not met appropriate audit activities and results, ensuring regulatory and industry compliance.
  • Create new policy – Identify broad supplier corrective action trends, and update supplier policies to prevent issues from impacting quality and delivery schedules.

Extending supply chain data via a Digital Supply Chain Network gives manufacturers and participants the upstream visibility needed to drive operational efficiency in food and beverage. Connecting suppliers via a digital network provide advanced insight into order status, which drives down inventory investments because you will have direct insight into when inventory will arrive to meet your production schedule. While there is a myriad of software solutions that claim to predict the future, once a forecast is committed, execution becomes critical. Digitizing the ordering process and inbound shipments enable organizations to trust their systems better, allowing people to work on filling the inventory gaps caused by production variation. Having a digital supply network can provide visibility to be able to implement VMI and consignment relationships, better tying together your supply chain, and improving production capabilities without additional inventory investments. Ultimately, you will be able to better meet on-time-in-full obligations without increasing pre-production or post-production inventory levels.

Gaining visibility and control will also positively impact downstream activities like customer service. Every company strives for the “Amazon Experience,” providing proactive customer communications, or customer self-service. This requires visibility into both order management and logistics management. To do this efficiently, manufacturers must take orders however the customer sends them, and then electronically provide the customers ongoing notifications with both order status as well as logistics information. Automating these processes eliminates manual data entry and the extra cost and potential mistakes from manual keystrokes. The touchless electronic order and proactive logistics notifications enable your customers to trust you more, driving down costs and improving customer service.

A Digital Supply Network will provide visibility and transparency to drive improved finished good quality, lower inventory, and improved market responsiveness. It all begins by through the connected, digital supply chain, if you are interested to learn more we would love to hear from you.