Interview by Lindsey Jahn, Associate Editor
Q. Why is monitoring the complete supply chain so important for
the food industry?
A. An impact to one segment of the
supply chain can have a domino-like effect
that can be immediately felt throughout the
entire supply chain. Through an effective
monitoring program, organizations can proactively track and report all of their supply
chain issues, incidents, exposures and risks
in real time.
From a product recall to a factory disaster
to an employee labor issue, it only takes
one incident to become front-page news,
spreading virally over social media sites.
No organization has immunity, not even
the largest or most powerful. Real incidents
and perceived events or rumors can forever
damage reputation. In the last year alone,
we have seen several organizations experience reputational damage as a result of one
incident at the supplier level, several tiers
down in the chain.
Organizations today are also confronted
with various national, regional and inter-
national laws, regulations and norms. A
comprehensive 360-degree quality, safety
and compliance program can give man-
agement visibility into the global supplier
ecosystem, which can help guide strategic
decision-making in a way that enhances
brand reputation, improves market share
and drives growth.
Organizations with multiple tiers of
suppliers are especially vulnerable. These
supplier ecosystems require ongoing assurance programs, including employee education and training programs and the strong
enforcement of associated policies. By
improving visibility across the supply chain,
organizations are better positioned to prevent avoidable supply chain incidents that
can damage reputation, result in financial
losses and even lead to regulatory action.
Q. What challenges do food
companies face when it comes to
ensuring quality products throughout the supply chain?
A. There are several challenges food
companies face around ensuring quality
products throughout the supply chain,
• Food Quality and Safety Risks:
Quality and safety risks throughout
the supply chain can be high in likelihood and impact if not properly managed. Recalls can be costly from a
financial, operational and reputational
• Regulatory Complexity: An increasing number of regulations affecting
entities across various segments and
geographical locations throughout
the supply chain makes compliance a
costly and resource-intensive effort.
• Increasing Consumer Demands:
Consumers have a greater voice than
ever before, and companies need to
strike the right balance between innovation, profitability, quality, safety
and customer loyalty across their
• The Big Data Deluge: As supply
chains grow more complex, managing
all risk- and compliance-related information being generated is no easy feat.
• Siloed Information: Informational or
functional silos across the organization and the external supplier ecosystem can threaten the success of any
quality and safety program by fueling
redundant efforts, as well as creating
more risk exposures and traceability
Q. What specific technologies
are available that can help the
food industry ensure quality products throughout the supply chain?
A. Advanced technologies can help
with Keri Dawson, Vice President, Industry
Solutions and Advisory Services, MetricStream
Food Manufacturing spoke with MetricStream's Keri Dawson about the
importance of establishing and enforcing a compliance program that
ensures the quality and safety of food and beverage products.