Meeting the new challenges of catering supply chains

The continued diversification of consumer lifestyles and tastes is leading to increased variation in demand across all industries, and the restaurant sector is no exception.

Diners want to see local, organic, vegan, gluten-free and other options on the menu. Additionally, off-site online ordering capabilities introduce more supply chain issues in the background as restaurants attempt to maintain consistent ordering and tracking.

The net result is more suppliers, more SKUs, smaller quantities and more processes creating very complex supply chains that require more and more resources to manage.

Globalization and compliance add complexity to procurement

Globalization is further complicating restaurant supply processes. Now able to source ingredients from almost anywhere, restaurants need to expand their sourcing networks and optimize ordering processes to keep up with changing consumer expectations. Considering not just sourcing but also transportation, effectively managing multi-scale supply chains can quickly become overwhelming.

Increasingly stringent food safety standards and compliance guidelines are also hampering lean and efficient purchasing processes. Having clear end-to-end visibility down to the SKU level is important both to meet regulatory requirements and to satisfy consumers who seek this kind of transparency. Unfortunately, finding that visibility in the midst of such complexity is often difficult.

Technology helps fight complexity

Implementing technology in the purchase order process can help combat this complexity, providing supply chain insights that improve efficiency and help manage the large number of transactions flowing through the process. network of a chain of restaurants.

Today’s modern purchase order platforms connect everyone in the supply chain, streamlining processes through automation and standardization. Additionally, these platforms can run numerous checks and balances, helping to ensure the accuracy of order quantities and costs without the need for constant supervision.

But perhaps more importantly, these technology platforms collect and store huge amounts of data. This data provides the visibility needed to better understand supply chains, helping to identify how to optimize them for the future. With reliable real-time data, restaurants can proactively plan supply and demand with a high degree of confidence and accuracy. And in a complex and rapidly changing industry, this data-driven insight can make a critical difference.

Use external supply chain experts

Although technology can help streamline the purchase order process, it is only one element of a successful strategic supply chain plan.

Today, many restaurants turn to external teams of dedicated experts to help them leverage complexity. Good third-party sourcing providers have the resources to understand specific business needs and translate them into flexible solutions, up and down the supply chain, that dynamically adapt to customer demand. restaurants.

Carving out a specialized niche, these vendors dedicate their work to analyzing opportunities and gaps in restaurant ordering, shipping, transportation and receiving. They help create and implement process improvements by taking advantage of the powerful and modern technologies mentioned above, resulting in standardized procedures, optimized controls, reliable information, fewer obstacles and reduced costs.

To remain competitive, it is essential to fully understand how restaurants respond (or not) to the increasingly specific demands of customers. For many, this starts with structuring the procurement process in a manageable and efficient way, leveraging third-party vendor technology, experience and scale to help drive better results.

This post is sponsored by CH Robinson

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