Guest Column | May 22, 2018

Food Manufacturer/Retailer Collaboration Adds Flexibility To Supply Chains

By Angela Fernandez, VP Retail Grocery and Foodservice, GS1 US

The Food Manufacturer - Retailer Collaboration Adding Flexibility To Supply Chains

Facing unprecedented pressures to keep up with e-commerce growth and demand, the retail grocery industry is focusing on accelerating the flexibility of supply chains.

Earlier this year, Walmart, Kroger, and other retailers began to demand tighter delivery windows from suppliers in an effort to reduce safety stocks and ultimately keep the flow of products more predictable. As a result, their manufacturer partners are addressing those requirements and make their supply chains more responsive to the needs of the online shopper.

With changing retailer requirements and consumer preferences for speed and convenience, there is a need to modernize the supply chain and eliminate outdated business processes that add unnecessary time and cost. By focusing on operational efficiency, the industry can more effectively support innovations, such as scan and go, click-and-collect, and home delivery.

Recognizing the urgent need to take action, a retail grocery industry workgroup composed of suppliers, manufacturers, retailers, and distributors working with GS1 US examined operational efficiencies. They realized one of the most obvious areas of improvement was in managing order changes. The group created a new guideline outlining best practices for dealing with inevitable changes originating from both supply and demand-side partners, which can ultimately help supply chain partners save time and money through gained efficiencies and address challenging consumer demands. Here are some highlights of the guideline and some immediate actions the industry can take to move at the speed of the consumer.