Temperature controlled food service provider, Rick Bestwick says a more innovative approach to driving efficiencies within the supply chain is key to food businesses remaining profitable in a period of economic uncertainty following Brexit.
Kevin Hancock, managing director at Rick Bestwick Ltd, delivered his sage advice at this year’s British Frozen Food Federation business conference in March. He talked about how the food industry needs to adopt a new approach to services and facilities that exist in the supply chain to ensure continued healthy profit margins as food brands continue to up their prices. The need for companies to reduce waste was also covered, looking at all aspects of the supply chain and the waste they produce can help to save costs throughout the whole process, and ultimately reduces waste.
Kevin outlined that the continued weakening of the pound had resulted in a high costs of materials and production for food manufacturers. He went on to explain that the UK food industry is operating in times of great economic uncertainty and that it is food manufacturers who will be expected to ‘pick up the tab’ for the food price hikes. Furthermore, the knock-on effect of increased security checks at border controls brought about by Brexit, will also mean additional costs for many food businesses.
But, he pointed out, that although the food industry is typified by tight margins, it is still profitable and businesses are still able to flourish. The answer, Kevin says, involves businesses adopting a different mind-set and using the efficiency resources they already have at their fingertips.
MEETING CUSTOMER DEMANDS
‘JUST IN TIME’
One such efficiency is that of adopting new technology to deliver the demands of ‘just in time’ consumer expectations. At a time of exceptional technological advancements, end consumers want things quicker and faster than ever before, a behaviour that resonates through the food supply chain.
As such, food businesses need to capitalise on the technology that is available in the supply chain. By adopting microwave technology, manufacturers are not fixed to using forecasts and particularly when frozen materials are sourced, the length of the time taken on the up-tempering process is hugely reduced, affording businesses the capability to provide those ‘just in time’ requirements.
This new up-tempering process is decreased from what is normally days and hours to minutes. Being able to work to these tighter time scales means orders are confirmed with customers and food wastage is significantly minimised.
Consignment stock is another facility within the supply chain which can also be more fully utilised. This service allows importers to store large amounts of stock which can be drawn on by numerous customers who extract purely what they require, meaning they save on cold storage costs, as this cost stays with the importer until the stock is transferred.