Food / Beverage

Software applications that streamline and automate business processes throughout the supply chain to improve planning, optimise inventory levels, reduce costs, and respond quickly to changes in customer and supplier demand.

“Poor Traceability Will Block Future Routes To Market,” Says ERP Expert

“Poor Traceability Will Block Future Routes To Market,” Says ERP Expert
Failure to invest in product traceability software could seriously damage suppliers’ business models and block their routes to major markets, according to enterprise resource planning expert LINKFRESH.

Food recalls in the UK rose 78 per cent last year according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and recent high-profile recalls affecting both Mars and Cow & Gate have thrown supply chain traceability into sharp focus.

The number of food recalls has risen for the past three years consecutively, peaking at 159 recalls in 2015.

High profile recalls in 2016 have involved Mars and Weetabix, which both had to recall products in February due to fears over contamination.

Speaking about the increasing number of food product recalls over the past three years Richard Jones, chief technology officer of supply chain software expert LINKFRESH, said:
“The rise in the number of products we are seeing recalled may be alarming to customers. However, it should be more alarming to suppliers who do not currently have the capacity to trace faulty products to their source.

“It is they who could see their business models damaged and their routes to market blocked if they cannot meet traceability standards set by major retailers – which are likely to be elevated further.

“If we take the Mars example, the recall executed by Mars is a working example of industry best practice where the company was able to react quickly and efficiently using accurate and real-time traceability data to effect a swift and complete recall of only the affected products.

“Mars’ actions ensured consumer safety, whilst maintaining trust in their products and limiting any negative impact on its brand. Potentially, Mars’ swift actions and transparency about the problem could actually increase consumer trust in their products in the future.”

Traceability software can provide suppliers with data, such as where ingredients have come from, how they are stored, which equipment and staff were involved at each stage of the supply chain and quality control test results.

The FSA recently unveiled its Science, Evidence and Information Strategy 2015 – 2020, programme of work and forward evidence plan for 2016/17, outlining the steps it will be taking to improve the quality and safety of products.

As part of the drive, the FSA will seek evidence on what consumer groups and food businesses class as acceptable level of risk, and investigate the tools which can be used to mitigate these risks.