Consumer expectations are always subject to change. What’s new is that with the rapid evolution of technology, these changes are happening faster than ever before and directly impacting the supply chains of food, beverage and packaged goods companies across the country.
We wanted to find out how these changes are specifically impacting the food, beverage and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries. To get a better sense of how technology is shaping the landscape, we surveyed 39 consumer packaged goods supply chain leaders, 75 percent of whom were C-level or VP-level executives.
What we learned is there are a number of key trends driving this change and while technology is changing the buying experience, the right mix of technology solutions can also help companies meet and exceed their customers’ expectations.
“Consumers want to try new things”
In today’s buying environment, consumers expect more choice and the freedom to customize. This is fueling a rise in product diversification, which means food, beverage and consumer packaged goods companies have larger amounts of SKUs to manage.
This level of choice isn’t just impacting the inventory of the product. In an eCommerce world, these items also require unique packaging to better facilitate shipment directly to customers.
This also extends to Direct to Consumer (D2C) subscriptions, which allow consumers to purchase items from a brand over time for a set cost. While this model gives businesses more control over the experience, it also creates additional complexity when customers want to return a product.
Technology shaping supply chain visibility
Changing consumer preferences isn’t the only thing impacting the evolution of the supply chain. New technologies are adding a vast amount of new data to help retailers optimize their operations and improve their customers’ experience.
Some of these technological changes are driven by new regulations. On the carrier side, the electronic logging device mandate (ELD) requires drivers to electronically log their hours.
Similarly, the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) mandates that the reefer trailer maintain a temperature threshold to ensure the safety and viability of perishable items like produce being shipped.
While the regulations are meant to improve safety, they are also allowing shippers to improve supply chain visibility. With ELDs in place, shippers can integrate this data to track shipments, resolve detention disputes, and mitigate costly areas in their supply chain.
Likewise, temperature tracking sensors installed for FSMA compliance can be used to ensure the quality of products and improve customer communications, whether they are picking it up at the store it or having it delivered to their doorstep.
Gaining insights from supply chain data
If there’s one thing that supply chain managers have in abundance today, it’s data. However, most systems don’t integrate all this data from sensors, carrier ELDs and orders into one comprehensive view.
Supply chain visibility providers are working to solve this problem by taking all the data into a single platform and incorporating their own algorithms to simplified, yet comprehensive views of a customer’s supply chain.
How do you select the right visibility solution to thrive in this ever-changing consumer buying environment? Download our free eBook today to learn how industry leaders like you are navigating these changes and using technology to improve customer service and optimize every aspect of their supply chains.