Once again, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) joined together as the Trading Partner Alliance (TPA) to host the annual Supply Chain Conference in San Diego, California. More than 500 retailers, manufacturers and technology solution providers attended the conference to stimulate ideas around the latest technology, innovation and best practices. While there were a number of sessions on different topics during the conference, there were three that got a lot of attention: collaboration, digitalization and analytics.
Collaboration continues to be a hot topic in 2017. Retailers and manufacturers are both realizing that collaboration is a must for future success. However, all parties agree that there is not enough collaboration in place. In fact, while many companies are sharing data, most are not capitalizing on the insights they can learn from that data. There are numerous opportunities for real-time improvement in the supply chain with solutions that help manufacturers and retails gain, and act on, real-time data insights.
With the success of the consumer packaged goods and the cold supply chain have had in realizing the benefits of digitalizing their supply chains, the fresh supply chain is now looking at ways it can move from the current manual supply chain practices to digitalization in order to reduce product shrinkage, increase reliability and achieve field-to-fork traceability.
Companies are realizing that the key to reducing out of stocks and increasing on-shelf availability (OSA) is to have the real-time data at the store level. They also realize that without a sophisticated cloud-based solution to assist in leveraging this data, they will continue to have a reactive supply chain instead of an agile one.
These themes will continue to evolve as cloud-based supply chain management solutions continue to increase supply chain visibility and algorithms and sophisticated analytics help retailers, manufacturers and distributors gain actionable insights.