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Equipment such as machine-to-machine (M2M) devices like radio-fre-quency identification (RFID) tags, barcode readers and various sensors can
also play a vital role in supply chain visibility. Transportation management
systems (TMS) can also help optimize shipments for routes, select the
proper carrier or truck, provide the ability to build multi-stop or cross-dock
based orders and automate the fulfillment process.
Warehouse management systems (WMS) can help make supply chain
operations more cost efficient and nimble, according to Kurt Angermeier,
Vice President of Marketing for Rytec. “Not only can the WMS ensure that
the right product goes out at the right time, but the data it provides can
enable analysis to predict product flow into the future, allowing the operation to better plan,” Angermeier says.
For processors in search of better packaging to withstand the rigors of
traveling through the supply chain, a range of package testing methods
are available. While standard package testing can sometimes uncover
package weaknesses, custom protocol development delves into specific,
real-life package handling conditions to help determine adjustments that
need to be made, either to the package or the supply chain. “The end
result [of custom protocol development] is a savings in damage, and
package designers and engineers are given the ability to optimize the
packaging, potentially saving on overall packaging costs,” Kuebler says.
Supply Chains Are Not One-Size-Fits-All
With so many options, there is no one solution that is right for every
company. GT Nexus recommends that food manufacturers ask these
questions when looking to implement a new supply chain solution:
• How many suppliers are you working with, and across how many
• What is the likelihood of turnover within the supply chain?
• What is the cost and time needed to get each trading partner up
and running on the system?
• Is the system creating a collaborative environment where multiple
parties across multiple tiers see one set of data?
• What type of support does the solution provider deliver? Is it able to
offer in-country support to suppliers in places like Brazil or India?
• How can end-to-end visibility be achieved to ensure product movement is transparent and product safety is ensured at all times?
Taking the time to consider all operational needs and to explore all
available solutions is critical for food processors to choose the right
supply chain solution for their processes. Using the latest software and
equipment available, manufacturers can look forward to a more efficient,
cost-effective supply chain. ◆