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The Pandemic’s seismic impact is really no joke, but it’s crazy to think about how much upheaval has taken place, in North America alone. The operational flow in so many vertical markets has been turned upside down. Hundreds of restaurants have closed down storefronts, leaving distributors and suppliers to be stuck with the considerable excess of inventory. This has led to much waste and loss in the process. In response, production sites are working to better maintain their output with a reduced workforce, even though the demands are surging. Many facilities have been forced to shut down, due to employees testing positive to COVID-19. At the same time, several states and regions are ordering that restaurants may begin re-opening at their time and pace, so processes are beginning to stabilize themselves as well. Stores’ shelves are being replenished with stock, but still the impact of COVID-19 persists, due to the lack of visibility.
The lack of visibility into the supply and demand is what’s happening up and downstream at the moment. This roadmap is preventing timely and proactive action that’s original purpose is to optimize operations in the face of this disruption. A need for end-to-end visibility is necessary to get ahead of the curve. A transparent exchange of information and the cohesive collaboration to adopt this shift of consumer behavior within the marketplace must take place.
Monitoring Food Distribution
Employees are working tirelessly to keep shelves stocked in grocery stores and restaurants’ kitchens. Over the months, there has been a fluctuating amount of eggs, meat, and dairy available in stores for consumers to purchase. This has led distributors to increase prices when selling goods to stores and restaurants. It’s also been known that several grocery stores have place limitations on various hot items as well, in response. There is definitely a need for greater transparency and visibility in between the production, distribution, and transportation phases of the process of both food service and retail environments. When it comes to shortages and delays, all of the parties involved will need to find the time to plan accordingly, so that price inflations can hopefully be avoided.
Meeting the Consumer Demand
People have definitely acclimated with the concept of more frequent home-cooked meals. Many have found it safer and more cost-efficient to cook from the comfort of one’s own home, especially during this Pandemic. Restaurant closures are taking place all over the country and even as re-opening phases occur, many are hesitant to dine out anyway. This has sent the grocery store popularity numbers into the skies. In this situation, real-time visibility into the transactional process and inventory levels, can help production planners improve on issues and maximize high points as much as possible. From an accuracy forecasting standpoint, it’s best to have such data on hand to better plan for the future, especially if a product shortage/surge might occur again.
Handling Food Effectively
Public Health, for all, is the main priority right now and for that to be placed at the top, it’s wise to communicate amongst all participants. Whether that be from distributor to business or business to consumer, these relationships are so critical, especially doing the fluidity of the Pandemic. It’s been found that social distancing, disinfecting, and other safety precautions are assisting regions with flattening the curve and instilling a greater confidence in the food supply chain. It’s important to ensure that everyone involved is playing their part to support individual and collective health safety and awareness.
Companies are still upholding commitments to food safety, integrity, and proper handling and all data that follows should be transparent as a whole. Data can assist grocers with pointing to and following each product’s location and journey once it leaves the grocery shelf. This can help marketers to better understand buying patterns and how to better stock up accordingly. This tracing capability is a valuable asset made available to the supply chain, so that products can be kept in good hands and won’t run the risk of being tampered with before it reaches the hands of consumers. If a mass food-borne illness is to pop up, grocers would be able to track who and where items were sold to, to help advice the public and contain any inconsistencies that might occur as well. In order to better understand how to address the current COVID-19 Pandemic, the process of monitoring food safety measures is essential.