Distribution logistics for the food & beverage sector
Italy has always been synonymous with good food: high quality raw materials, in-depth knowledge of food and wine, culinary art at the highest levels make our country one of the cornerstones of food and wine worldwide.
Therefore, there are always high expectations from companies operating in the food & beverage sector.
To ensure that the quality of a product is not affected, it is essential to adopt high-profile distribution logistics, considering that typically we deal not only with our product, but with aspects related to it such as traceability, delivery precision, seasonality of flows and also consumer protection.
The food and beverage industry depends on the smooth and timely supply of raw materials. Since the ingredients required by food industries come from many different geographical locations, sometimes halfway around the world, transportation and logistics play an important role in ensuring the success of the industry.
Because of the short term nature of raw materials and finished products, the food and beverage industry faces many unique challenges that are not found in any other industries.
Let's see what are the key factors of a good logistics process within the agri-food sector.
Time: the fundamental driver for food logistics
Because food and beverage products have a limited shelf-life, transportation and logistics solutions must be time-sensitive.
From fresh foods such as fish products or dairy products, to frozen foods that need strong thermal conditioning: perishable goods cannot be separated from rigid logistics and delivery times.
Speedy Delivery to Avoid Deterioration: Many of the raw materials go bad quickly. For example, vegetables and fruits do not last long even if stored in climate controlled facilities. Therefore, they need to be delivered quickly. The same applies to finished products. Most processed foods have an expiry date after which they cannot be consumed.
Especially susceptible to rotting and putrefaction are foods like pizza, bread and milk products that can go bad within a few days.
Preservation of Quality: Of all the industries, food and dairy industry is one that can never compromise on quality. Without good logistics you can have negative repercussions on business costs, customer service, the company's reputation and even on the various processing stages. The agrifood chain is a complex and articulated world and organizing it efficiently and effectively is not easy: with a simple equation it can be said that the more a company invests in services and a quality distribution logic, the more benefits it will have and less costs, especially in the medium-long term.
Technology and logistics: a winning combination for the food sector
Tech is changing the way the food and beverage industry maintains compliance, improves visibility and more.
“In addition to food safety compliance, trading partners in the food supply chain need to take a look at the latest tools that help optimize inventory positions through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and related technologies,” says Feitelson. “These solutions are more precisely predicting consumer demand, so companies can ensure the right product is on the shelf when wanted.”
Technology can offer a valuable aid to guarantee an adequate quality standard in the food & beverage supply chain.
Here are several technologies that are beginning to transform the food supply chain: Process Automation in the Warehouse, Augmented Reality, Help in the Cloud for Compliance, Analytics.
For example, you can use drones, or intelligent "IoT" systems to monitor production and traceability, without forgetting Big Data, which allows you to collect a wide variety of data in real time.
Another useful tool for maintaining a high level of quality is the increasingly realistic possibility of using autonomous driving vehicles, without drivers on board and without human intervention, to be used on defined routes and which can guarantee maximum safety and compliance with deadlines in the transport of products. Of course, technology only delivers benefits when it is adopted.
Partner: Outsourcing logistics is an ideal option for food and beverage companies so you need to choose a good logistics provider. Every food supply chain participant has its unique challenges and advantages, so the key is finding the right technology “mix” to make your supply chain better. In many cases, it is advisable to hire a trustworthy provider who can lead your group through this process.
A good supplier of logistics and distribution services is an important resource for your business, as it is one of the most incisive propulsive drives: if the service is provided by a well-prepared structure with solid experience, the result will be very relevant for your business, especially in a sector such as the food industry, which is subject to strict deadlines in order to be efficient.
In conclusion, the results indicate food and beverage companies have made good early strides towards realizing the potential of more integrated logistics processes and technology, but still have a significant way to go before reaching the integrated logistics paradigm that will be the model for the 21st century.
Food and beverage companies are operating in a time of both tremendous challenge and tremendous opportunity. Supply chain strategies and technology will ultimately have a dramatic impact on which companies thrive and which companies flounder.
The impact of the Internet and related technologies will be a major factor in this transformation through fundamental changes in key supply chain processes.
We are entering a new era of digital logistics, in which new-generation technology, combined with traditional applications in core functional areas, will strip out millions of dollars of costs and create new growth opportunities through highly differentiated logistics strategies and performance.
The Food and Beverage industry is well positioned to take advantage of these opportunities. All industrial production requires an efficient distribution logistics service, especially the food & beverage sector: without good logistics there will be not only negative repercussions on company costs and services offered, but it will risk compromising corporate success completely and, consequently, the way of doing business.
Are you ready to face the changes? To learn about the disruptive trends that are taking place, click on the image below and read our in-depth analysis!
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