The food and beverage industry is arguably the most critically important business sector in the world. These companies are collectively responsible for feeding much of the earth’s population.
According to the USDA, the foodservice and food retailing industries supplied $2.12 trillion worth of food in 2021. Food and beverage companies are also intricately connected to our social institutions, providing foodstuff for every restaurant, bar, supermarket, stadium, hotel, gas station, and cafeteria around the country. The logistics that goes into feeding the United States is a complex business, and logistics managers around the country are constantly looking for ways to improve the resilience of their supply chains. This article closely examines some of the emerging trends found within beverage logistics and warehousing.
E-commerce continues as one of the preferred consumer methods for shopping. The COVID-19 pandemic played an important role in transforming consumer expectations for overnight shipping, up-to-the-minute tracking updates, and home deliveries for basic foodstuff. Grocery delivery companies have proliferated, and consumers have become accustomed to having their food and beverages shipped in cardboard boxes.
As a result of this massive shift in DTC sales, products that were once stacked and wrapped on a pallet and shipped within a packed 42,000-pound 53-foot trailer are now being packed into small boxes and shipped right to a consumer’s house. Food and beverage companies are now responsible for catering to consumer preferences for in-store shipping and at-home delivery. This means that their transportation provider must offer a variety of services to support the unique operational requirements involved in delivering their products.
Most food and beverage companies have an environmental pledge or statement about sustainability on their website. There’s really no argument against being kind to Mother Earth or reducing a company’s carbon footprint so that less pollution is being dumped into our air and waterways. Some of the ways that F&B companies are creating a more sustainable plan for their future start with load consolidation and route optimization. Improving truck fill rates and on-time deliveries reduces the number of truck orders and the length of truck dwell times. It also reduces the amount customers spend on fuel costs and fuel surcharges, which decreases their overall carbon emissions, too. Food and beverage companies are also incorporating eco-friendly packaging that eliminates plastics and other non-biodegradable wastes.
One of the latest trends in the food and beverage vertical involves cold chain management, specifically, a more streamlined method for ensuring cold chains are optimized to meet safety standards with shipping handling and temperature monitoring. Reefers must be calibrated to ensure accurate temperature readings and prevent a dreaded reefer breakdown. Planning ahead to avoid rejected products, spoilage, and expensive insurance claims is vital to reducing your company’s overall transportation costs. One of the ways that food and beverage companies have optimized their cold chain is by partnering with a transportation provider that offers real-time visibility on all shipments. Using the latest technologies, customers can get live tracking updates to ensure that all in-transit loads are monitored and delivered when needed.
Technology offers food and beverage shippers a way to gain transparency on their entire supply chain, from order volumes to inventory levels and shipping times. Companies that specialize in tailored transportation provide certain advantages to shippers. Unlike most brokerages, tech-enabled providers carry a team of data specialists who help customers find areas within their transportation operations to reduce costs.
With advanced logistics tech, food and beverage companies can gain insights on the latest market forecasts, use automation to eliminate redundant tasks spent on manual load notifications and check calls, and centralize data into a collaborative logistics platform that allows food and beverage shippers to gain transparency over every aspect of their supply chain.
All of this is designed to improve customer satisfaction, predict customer demand and plan capacity to avoid supply chain disruptions, and improve profitability for the company. Data analytics is essential to think proactively and continuously optimize supply chains instead of acting reactively about market behavior, which is what most of the industry does anyway.
As market forces, new technologies, and the latest consumer trends evolve, Zengistics continues to lead the logistics industry due to its experience cultivating success by providing quality transportation service while managing every aspect of its customers’ supply chains.
Zengistics specifically tailors logistics services to each customer’s unique operational needs. Experienced logistics professionals and data analysts combine the latest technologies that offer food and beverage companies tailored information designed to help them evolve to prevailing market trends. Optimized supply chains help improve on-time delivery, reduce transportation costs, enhance customer satisfaction, and empower companies to expand their market volume.
Zengistics has offered a consultative approach and managed services to the food and beverage vertical for years, helping companies optimize their supply chains. Reach out to an expert at Zengistics today!