Traceability and ERP software: Is this the time for British food suppliers and manufacturers to shine?
Posted by Dawn Aldwinckle on March 18th, 2013
Have you seen the price of British-reared pork? It’s at an all-time historical high! Pork is the new gold – and soon we’ll be hearing from men in long black coats down dark alleyways whispering, “Psst, do you want to buy some bacon?” And who knows, you may get a great deal on your belly rashers! But joking aside, would you really buy meat from a man in an alley?
Knowing where your food comes from is now more crucial than ever to consumers, for food suppliers, the best route to tracing a particular supply chain is through food distribution software (or ERP software). We read about the horsemeat DNA scandal in retailer food supply chains every day, and now, so not to feel left out, processed meat has jumped up in the saddle and is coming along for the ride too.
But quite possibly one of the silver linings to come out of all this chaos is that more and more people want to ‘Buy British’, not cheapest. This could be the British Food Industry’s golden year!
Of course, along with good news often comes bad. Not only is the Food Standards Agency tightening the reins, but consumers are asking more of suppliers: where did that meat come from? Is it free range? Is it British? Is it from the man down the alley?
For the food industry, traceability is king! We need to be able to provide assurance to our customers that we were on friendly terms with Porky the Piglet who roamed freely around a field. It’s likely you’ve seen excerpts like this on your rashers; ”We watched him grow into a strong, strapping young pig, following his journey from British field to British plate”. It’s due to EU legislation that this kind of detail is expected of food supply chain management professionals.
This process doesn’t just apply to pork, although I am a little partial to a bacon butty. It also applies to any manufactured or processed food – managing the journey is key and recording that journey is crucial!
Traceability – this is a word that you’re going to be seeing and hearing a lot of in the future – raises a few key questions we need to ask ourselves:
- Are our traceability procedures and systems up to the task ahead?
- What additional costs will our business incur as the need for formal traceability increases?
- Are we ready to cope with more demanding customers and suppliers?
Modern integrated systems allied to robust processes can play a key role in providing your customers with the audit trail and transparency they require and as a result maintain positive trading relationships. Download our free guide: prioritising ERP in the food & beverage industry.