Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began to wreak havoc on grocery and supermarket supply chains, consumer demand for all things fresh has been rising at an unprecedented rate. As early as 2018, a Nielsen study found that fresh foods were “the primary driver of growth in retail stores,” with 60% of consumers spending up to one-third of their average grocery budget on fresh items in 2019 according to Deloitte Insights.
Navigating and implementing new technological solutions in fresh grocery and supermarket supply chains presents a unique set of challenges. Retailers become taxed with the relentless pace of omnichannel developments (such as online ordering/fulfillment and home delivery) that quickly became must-haves during the pandemic. Stockouts are a frequent issue in fresh produce, with suppliers often outselling their supply chain. Most critically, perishable fresh food items are highly time- and temperature-sensitive, with shippers and retailers frequently incurring losses in the form of spoilage.
Add in the supply chain disruptions of a post-pandemic world to this groundswell of demand for fresh, healthy food products, and you’re left with the potential for a logistics and inventory management nightmare. A lack of shipment visibility can lead to temperature excursions and delays on shipments of perishable products, and the spoilage that results translates into significant financial losses and inventory shortages.
Fortunately, visibility solutions available today empower grocery retailers to proactively manage shipments, drive greater collaboration, and address in-transit exceptions and excursions before they result in lost product. In order to ensure food safety compliance and increase OTIF rates, retailers should implement real-time shipment location and condition tracking, integrate systems together, and move from exception management to management by exception.
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