All shipment types come with their own unique set of challenges, and those in the beverage industry know this especially well. When it comes to shipping beverage freight, understanding these challenges is essential to keep them moving smoothly while ensuring that logistics costs, service quality, timelines and other considerations are managed correctly.
1. Increased demand for food traceability
Understanding exactly where your beverage shipment is and what issues may impact its delivery is more important than ever. Beverage manufacturers and sellers have a growing desire for access to detailed reports on the status of each shipment — from the beverages themselves to the materials and packaging used in their production — to allow them to identify potential issues in the supply chain and make better predictions.
On top of this, more and more customers pay attention to the product origins, eco-labels, and other signs that increase visibility and guarantee authenticity. Today’s consumer has raised the bar for food and beverage companies as they think about where their food came from and pay more attention to their lifestyle choices. In fact, one consumer survey shows that 83% of consumers say the food and beverage industry has an important role to play in food safety, and yet just 13% felt the industry is currently well prepared to manage food traceability and be transparent about how food travels through the supply chain.
2. Overcoming communication issues
A beverage supply chain relies on a huge number of partners and suppliers in order to run smoothly, and when poor communication leads to late shipments, the results often go deeper than a delay.
A single missed deadline for anything from a key ingredient to raw materials needed for packaging can cause a ripple effect that could take days or even weeks to resolve. For manufacturers outside of the food and beverage industry this could mean missing timelines or even lead to a product shortage, but perishable goods like beverages can’t simply wait on shelves while that delay is addressed. Everything needs to come together just right, and the longer the delay goes on, the bigger the risk.
3. Ensuring consistent quality control
With all the links involved in a beverage supply chain chain, the importance of preventing delays during the shipping process is one of the key parts to delivering a quality product. This is especially important for perishable drinks that require specific and constant temperature controlled transportation as they can easily lead to wasted product and lost revenue if these standards aren’t met or if delays impact timelines.
Of course, while many quality issues are caused by late delivery, other causes can include poor storage conditions, messy warehousing and inventory that affects the product quality. This is why one of the primary drivers for improving end-to-end shipment monitoring is the concern surrounding food-borne illnesses, and considering that the majority of recalls cost over $10 million, that monitoring is vital.
How to navigate the unique challenges of the beverage industry
- Enhance visibility — In order to be able to track and trace the provenance of a batch of products or to predict changes in supply and demand of the raw materials used to produce them, you need true end-to-end visibility. This means extending visibility across the entire supply chain from the source of raw materials through to customer delivery.
- Understand risks — Every beverage supply chain comes with risks, and understanding them is key to keeping them running. Steps to better understand your own could include leveraging advanced analytics with built-in artificial intelligence and machine learning for improved predictive abilities. By pairing these tools with a supply chain digital twin — a detailed simulation model of your supply chain created using real-time data — leaders can explore various “what-if” scenarios to determine risks and potential impact in order to develop solutions well in advance of any disruption.
- Strengthen flexibility — By extending your capacity network to include more options from multiple modes and carriers, you can avoid or at least severely limit disruptions caused by carrier capacity shortages. Pairing this with end-to-end visibility and advanced analytics brings additional load optimization opportunities to increase efficiency through automated guidance on consolidation, efficient routing and more, reducing the number of both trucks and road miles needed to move shipments to their destination to both save money and provide faster deliveries.
- Improve communication — Strengthen relationships through quick response times and accurate information on changes to ETAs and other vital details by keeping an open line of communication with all partners, drivers and others involved in your supply chain through a centralized platform. And since issues often arise when away from a computer, including a mobile solution that provides the same level of insights and communication capabilities is becoming increasingly important.
For more information on how Shipwell can help you to increase the resilience of your beverage supply chain and prevent disruption during the peak beverage season, download our Food and Beverage white paper, or schedule a demo today.