As a leading consumer packaged goods (CPG) logistics company in Canada, we at Thomas, Large & Singer are experts in the industry, and we know it is a complex one with many moving parts. When it comes to consumables, though, one of the toughest areas to manage is food and food transport.
With perishable items comes the need for strict regulation and oversight, so for the logistics companies, warehousing companies and food processors that handle food transport and storage, mitigating the challenges presented by food transport logistics is key. But what are those challenges? Let’s discuss the top five food transport challenges facing the CPG industry.
1. Traceability & Recalls
Technology has afforded CPG logistics companies like Thomas, Large & Singer the opportunity to provide tracking and traceability on stored and transported goods, but it hasn’t always been that way. Previously, providing this service was a costly add-on offered by some logistics and warehousing companies; now, it’s practically a necessity, and for good reason.
The increase in regulatory oversight means CPG logistics companies face a growing demand for traceability to comply with food safety standards while also providing peace of mind to customers and their consumers, who are now more aware than ever of the importance of food safety and the possibility of recalls. As a successful logistics company building trusted relationships in the CPG industry for decades, we at Thomas, Large & Singer know the ability of logistics and warehousing companies to trace and track down product can make or break a brand.
2. Communication Gaps
The CPG industry is comprised of various players: the logistics and warehousing companies, distributors, and customers – all vital parts of keeping the supply chain flowing to consumers. It’s for this reason that breakdowns or gaps in communication bring many challenges to the industry.
While being upfront, accountable and communicative throughout our customers’ product journey is a mainstay at Thomas, Large & Singer, for the less experienced, it can still remain a challenge. After all, with so many different partners involved in food transport, each with its own process for communicating information, it can be tough to ensure each stakeholder is in sync with the others, and when key pieces of info are missed, the result can be delays in moving product, product contamination and even spoilage.
3. Environmental Hurdles
With highly perishable food items being a core part of the CPG industry, ensuring items maintain their integrity and quality as safe consumables throughout the supply chain is paramount. This is why one of the most important food transport challenges facing the CPG industry is related to overcoming environmental hurdles. From manufacturing to customer shelves, perishable food items are subject to strict environmental conditions throughout their transport and storage to ensure quality control and safe consumption.
But with so many steps involved in moving product through the supply chain to get to store shelves and, ultimately, consumer refrigerators, it can be easy for one slip-up in temperature or humidity control to spoil a product batch. The issue is further complicated by the fact that different food items require different temperatures and humidity for storage and transport. This makes it more difficult for logistics and warehousing companies to utilize their respective environments efficiently.
4. Managing Demand
Matching consumer demand is a challenge in every supply chain, no matter the product being handled. But there’s added complication when it comes to food transport. That’s because any surplus product that’s been sitting too long will be thrown out. It’s not like it can just be kept in the hopes of an increase in demand.
It is important for logistics companies to work with their clients and supply chain partners closely to ensure that there’s enough product on hand to match consumer needs but not too much that a significant portion is discarded as waste.
The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” may work for selling books, but not when you’re selling food products. Protecting product from damage is a challenge when it comes to food transport because most consumers won’t purchase items that look damaged, even if there hasn’t been a compromise in quality. So it’s key that product is packaged and handled correctly by shippers throughout the supply chain process.
That’s why it’s imperative that organizations partner with logistics and warehousing companies that understand the importance of handling and delivering CPG products correctly and how it affects consumer behaviour and, ultimately, the bottom line for businesses.