Home Channel Trends Automating the Supply Chain for Food’s Sake

Automating the Supply Chain for Food’s Sake

by Samantha Kalany

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The Coronavirus Pandemic has held a negative impact on billions of human across the globe, but especially for restaurant owners. With many of them being forced to close their door temporarily, and in some cases even permanently, this is nothing they could have predicted or properly planned for. Independently owned businesses aren’t able to keep the money flowing, even with limited hours of operation offered by some. It’s entirely devastating to see some struggle in an already challenging and competitive industry. COVID-19 has forced restaurant owners to embrace new technology means, even if they aren’t ready for it. Supply ChainSocial Media has been playing a huge role in how restaurant owners are getting the word out about their food delivery options, whether that looks like curbside pickup, third-party delivery platforms, or masked interactions. Alternative delivery options are what’s keeping restaurants alive at this point, but the hefty fees that come along with for the ride can cut back on any chances of achieving a profit from the sale. The current COVID-19 outbreak is continuing to place a lot of stress on the food supply chain, and with a lot of waste being deposited, new technology advancements can help the supply chain to better operate.

Blockchain is all about enabling and providing efficiency as a secure, anonymous digital ledger. Businesses have been utilizing Blockchain to be able to log and track shipments, simplifying the process for the administrators in the back-end. One can boost supply chain transparency, along with increase customer confidence throughout the way. In this light, distributors, vendors, and suppliers are able to know where each product is coming and where it’s at, during every step of the process. According to IBM, there have sharp spikes in specific product demand, like toilet paper, or better known as ‘Panic Buying’. Blockchain wouldn’t necessarily fix this, but would provide a level of transparency for business owners.

Supply ChainRestaurants, hotels, and many other tourism and entertainment venues have been shut-down to help stop the spread of the deadly virus and just like that, all of the essentials (Milk, Bread, and Vegetables) had disappeared from grocery store shelves. Many farmers were unable to keep up and reorganize their supply chain, so all of those perishable items had to be tilled and dumped accordingly. With Blockchain, retailers and restaurants can acquire real-time information about where supplies might be bottlenecking, or perhaps even if shortages are predicted to occur.

Seed to Supply Chain

On the farming side of things, when it comes to promoting safe and healthy supply chains, one must consider how essential it is to have crops harvested on-time, since there is such a labor-shortage taking place. Popular crops like broccoli cannot be cultivated on an industrial scale, since it doesn’t classify as a ‘row-crop. Supply ChainThat means manual labor is a must, and there isn’t really a way to social distance, while picking and filtering through crops. There is hope, though, to automate and digitalize the farm, therefore technology like remote sensing and drones could provide ‘in-the-cloud’ analysis, to assist with plotting field boundaries and eliminating pests.

In the COVID-19 chaos, there is much to be done and reconsidered in a different light. If automation tactics such as sensors and Blockchain are able to assist supply chain from the beginning of the crop management to the end, by feeding happy and hungry customers, then by all means so be it. Providing farmers, restaurants, and retailers with an inside look into what’s happening because of COVID-19, and how they could avoid it and prevent issues in the future, makes all the difference in the long run.

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