3 Simple ways to improve your food supply chain in 2024

written by IFCO SYSTEMS, 28th Listopad 2023, in Stories

How can you instil positive change in your food supply chain in 2024 without blowing the budget on new technologies? Here are some simple ways to give your supply chain a boost next year.

Food supply chain

Take a fresh look at racking safety and supply chain training

The fresh produce supply chain is designed to optimize the handling, transportation, and storage of palletized product – the unit load. Efforts to improve the efficiency of unit load operations at any point in the supply chain can be counted upon to generate positive results. To achieve those results however, you need to make sure that all your staff receives an updated supply chain training.

When it comes to unit load storage, steel storage racks are the critical element. Racks are found in packing sheds, processing plants, distribution centres, and the storage area of retail locations. If the racks are not correctly installed, maintained, and repaired, there is a risk of catastrophic failure, which could result in injury or even death to workers.

Watch for storage racks to come under closer scrutiny. Effective January 1, 2018, WorkSafeBC introduced new regulations to better ensure the safety of their workers around storage racks. They cover rack systems over 2,4 meters in height or rack systems under 2,4 meters if loads are handled by a forklift. While worker safety has long been protected by OSHA’s General Duty Clause1 or General Conditions requirements of other safety legislation, the detailed requirements in WorkSafeBC have influenced other jurisdictions to pay closer attention to racking systems.

“The spirit of the new racking regulations in BC are already entrenched in all North American jurisdictions. Every company has a duty to keep workers safe.”

Dan Beer, RackSafe Inspection and Compliance Training

Operators of rack systems must ensure that they are regularly inspected by a qualified person who documents any concerns and that any noted deficiencies are addressed. Compliance isn’t always easy when juggling competing priorities and staff availability–it involves a mind shift and sometimes additional supply chain training. Inspection is not just a process that should be done when you can, it is one that is imperative to perform on a regular basis.

Staff scheduling identified as a major supply chain issue

Perhaps one of the most unexpected supply chain issues was recently identified in research by Rotageek, which found that for 22% of retailers, staff scheduling was their most significant single frustration. The study found that 65% of respondents believed that having the right people with the right skill sets at the right time is a significant challenge. Almost half of participants (49%) told Rotageek their employees were unhappy with assigned shifts while 41% said their workers had to miss important appointments or personal commitments because they were unable to switch shifts.

Staff scheduling, while a major supply chain issue , sometimes doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Managers too often slot their staff scheduling requirement into the "important but not urgent" category, which results in schedule creation taking a back seat to other urgent but not necessarily important matters that invariably pop up. Giving scheduling the time it deserves, while establishing open communications with employees and a culture of trust can go a long way toward more productive schedules and a happier, more engaged staff.

Supply chain transparency: bring your company vision and values to the front line

While operational-level supply chain transparency remains a prominent focus, it’s essential to also consider the transparency at the organizational level. A unifying company vision and guiding values can be a fundamental differentiator for organizations, helping align the actions and aspirations of employees toward the company’s "true north." Unfortunately, team members too often don’t seem to be getting the message. One report found that 60% of employees didn’t know their company’s vision. Similarly, a 2016 Gallup study reported that only 40% of millennials felt firmly connected to their employer’s mission. Introducing some much-needed transparency in terms of company’s goals and general direction can have a big impact on the supply chain.

According to recent research, high purpose organizations experience superior performance if management has a clear view of where the firm is going, and it articulates that message to employees. Middle managers and professional workers were determined to be critical in communicating the company’s purpose to front-line employees.

This coming year, take the time to touch base with employees about your company’s vision and explore how their role is crucial in supporting the company’s overall aspirations. It might be the most important thing you do all year.

People also ask

> Supply chain as a competitive advantage

A well-oiled supply chain machine can be a significant competitive advantage to an organisation. An efficient and well-managed supply chain can reduce costs, improve delivery speed, enhance product quality, and provide a superior customer experience. Circular logistics with Reusable Packaging Containers (RPCs) for fresh produce, for example, can optimize the supply chain, reduce waste, preserve produce freshness, and promote sustainability – all of which can give your business a competitive edge.

> Supply chain vs value chain

Supply chain and value chain are related but have distinct focuses. The supply chain primarily deals with the processes and activities involved in sourcing, manufacturing, and delivering products. On the other hand, the value chain encompasses the entire sequence of activities that add value to a product, including marketing, sales, customer service, and more. Circular logistics with RPCs in fresh produce delivery can impact both the supply chain and value chain by improving efficiency, sustainability, and produce life span. The cutting-edge track and trace technology can further improve the supply chain transparency, and send alerts if the fresh produce is travelling in sub-par conditions, for example in not adequate temperatures, leading to a reduction of food waste and saving costs.

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