ManufacturingNovember 2, 2018

Digital Transformation in Meat Supply Chain

When it comes to digital transformations, meat producers are questioning where to start.
Avatar Mark Reissig
meat supply chain

While advanced innovations and developments like the Internet of Things (IoT) reach each industry and change the way we work together, the requirement for business transformation is rising. Meat producers, in any case, are questioning where to begin. The meat supply chain is long and complex, starting from farm to processing to packaging and logistics, right up to retail and catering. Sharing of data across the chain is minimal, if non-existent. Different departments work in silos. The left hand does not always know what the right hand is doing.

Beef, poultry and pork producers from Europe and North America all share a similar challenge: how to get the most value out of an animal. To maximize value, the right quality and cuts need to be assigned to the corresponding demands. These challenges are due to lack of visibility of data and processes, a problem that stems from a disconnected supply chain.

Lack of collaboration is holding back meat producers from fulfilling their production potential and maximizing their profitability. A fully connected supply chain delivers efficiency end-to-end, and provides planners the decision-making support they need to help the company realize its business goals.

The meat industry is more market-driven today than ever before. Consumer expectations and demand are challenging and reshaping the way the industry operates. Trends driving expansion include population growth, increased demand, food service industry growth, health regulations and increased export opportunities. As challenges continue to present themselves in the meat industry, producers must have the flexibility to adjust business practices and discover the planning capabilities to add value to their products. The right planning system will support every link in the supply chain — sales, logistics, supply chain, procurement, operations, planning, customer service and management.

To generate savings across the supply chain, plans must be made for your business reality. A plan that doesn’t take into account the unique constraints and rules of your business is of no use.

Better agility to respond to disruptions

The disconnect between disassembly and processing is a barrier to creating strategic plans. Without critical information, businesses cannot price for profit, address product shortages, create value plans, ensure optimal production and set feasible targets. This reduces agility in responding to market changes and disruptions in supply, demand and production. Disruptions can come in many forms. From those at customer level, like last minute orders to natural disruptions, such as Hurricane Michael which destroyed over 90 chicken houses and 2 million chickens, can hamper any plan.

Many organizations have plenty of data scattered across various systems. To put a finger on the pulse of your company’s operations, you need an integrated planning system that supports decision-making all the way from the production plant to the boardroom level.

The key to building an agile supply chain is to have the right information at your fingertips. Just as important is the ability to immediately calculate and understand the impact of events across your entire supply chain. Minimize the side-effects of disruptions by continuously optimizing and re-planning schedules, while keeping an eye on the end goal.

With the right system, producers can quickly respond to changing market conditions and customer orders, and even unpredictable consumer preferences. Creating what-if scenarios helps them find the right mix that will boost profits and other relevant business KPIs.

In today’s business environment where things can change at a moment’s notice and customers expect faster turnarounds, planning agility gives meat producers a clear advantage over the competition. Offer high service levels while keeping inventory levels low. Sell the right products at the right prices, at the right time, always. Don’t let your planning puzzles and supply chain complexity eat you up. End-to-end visibility gives you full control of your meat supply chain. Take the first step towards improved decision-making, robust growth and higher revenue.

The meat supply chain offers tremendous opportunities for producers to optimize their profitability in a low-margin, high-volume industry.

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