Visibility in the food supply chain

Upstream and downstream traceability enables fast and targeted crisis response, while illuminating opportunities for efficiency improvement.


Need for a quick crisis response

Recent and rising frequency of food scares around the world and in Asia have demonstrated the potential dire consequences of contamination. Every year in the United States alone, 48 million people suffer food-borne illnesses, more than 100,000 are hospitalized and thousands die.

The ability to implement a quick, selective crisis response is vital to the survival of your company and your brand, and is absolutely critical to protecting the health of your consumers in the event of an accidental contamination. As production and supply chain networks become more complex, cover greater distances and involve more suppliers, exposure to risk grows exponentially.

Better upstream and downstream traceability enables companies to carry out smaller, more targeted recalls that limit public health risk and minimise the revenue and cost impacts in times of crisis. The time required to identify the root cause of a contamination can be reduced from weeks to hours.

"As recent scandals have demonstrated, the food brand will bear the reputational and financial consequences for the transgressions of up-stream partners."

Investment in supply chain visibility will do more than reduce risk

With thorough visibility, will deliver working capital efficiencies and illuminate cost reduction opportunities. Visibility enables companies to know at any given time where a product is in the supply chain. This enhances decision making agility for production and distribution decisions.

Food supply chain visibility is increasingly a standard expectation for consumers, especially with an emerging middle class. Many companies, however, still have conspicuous visibility gaps in their food supply chains. The more agents that food passes through on its way to the consumer, the more information is lost. Vertical integration may reduce the number of entities involved in the process, but even among related parties, visibility requires robust controls and management systems.

Importantly, implementing an effective visibility regime builds on supply chain optimisation and supply chain risk frameworks, with particular emphasis on inventory and transportation management. 

Contact us

Julia Leong

Partner, Southeast Asia Food Trust Leader, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 9756 2123

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