One of the most critical and challenging issues shippers and logistics managers face is the transportation of food and beverage supplies. These are fast-moving consumables (FMC) and must be transported safely and under sanitary conditions. According to Supply Chain 24l7, "Food and beverage businesses have complex supply chains with unique characteristics: ever-changing customer tastes, tight margins on store shelves, fresh products that may spoil, expiration dates on products, and more. Getting the right volume of products at the right time, and at the right location, is no easy task." Transportation of food and beverage supplies has grown globally. Shippers and manufacturers are increasingly turning to a third-party logistics provider (3PL), which takes away the stress of monitoring the shipment through the ports and lets them focus on their core business.
Shippers partnering with a 3PL provider need visibility as their shipment travels through multi-modal or intermodal transport. Order fulfillment of food and beverages requires real-time tracking. E-commerce has given rise to Omnichannel consumers who expect fast and flexible order fulfillment, and this requires shippers to have visibility into the inventory. Managing food and beverage transportation and logistics is easier with real-time tracking and monitoring systems in place.
Utilizing a Transport Management System (TMS) with real-time communication systems allows for automated tracking and scheduling of door-to-door shipments. These services can significantly reduce labor costs. With real-time tracking feedback and updates, customers can track the whereabouts of the plethora of trucks that arrive at their facilities. This approach facilitates inventory planning and allows logistics companies to make changes and tweaks to food and beverage transportation when disruptions occur.
Smack in the middle of the year is when preparations for the holiday season go into full swing in the supply chain industry. Traditional and e-commerce shippers engaged in the transportation of food and beverages require optimizing their resources. A 3PL provider can be a great stress buster for shippers and manufacturers alike. Timely service by direct store delivery (DSD)can help save money and time.
Transportation of food and beverage happens through various modes of transport. Integrating a vast network of carriers and drivers can cut many unnecessary expenses and save time. Real-time tracking can give access to the roads' current situation of the streets, and carriers can change routes if needed. Most inbound freight for retail chains have a set route that is optimal. Food and beverage transportation is expensive; therefore, route management that is efficient and cost-effective remains a primary point of focus for transportation service providers who specialize in exported and imported goods.
Shippers need to be mindful of packaging and labels on cans, packages, and other materials susceptible to damage. Rising shipping costs and acute labor shortages have contributed to below-the-standard packaging. 3PL providers who have facilities in state-of-the-art warehouses have automated packaging and loading systems to improve overall logistics. This helps mitigate several challenges like damaged goods, consolidation of goods, and standardized packing standards. Transportation of food and beverages involved aspects of shipping and logistics not often considered, such as packaging and loading protocols.
Automation enhances the supply chain process. It also makes it easy to introduce new techniques. According to AIMultiple, the supply chain automation market grew by 10.3% each year from 2015 to 2019 and will likely double by 2026. Therefore, it becomes imperative for organizations to automate their processes to gain a competitive advantage. The intricacies involved with the transportation of food and beverages cover movement from ports to warehouses, by road or by air, and ultimately to the customer. This customer-focused service demands visibility and real-time automated processes as recovery from COVID-19impacts continues.
The USDA estimates that agriculture, food, and related industries contributed $1.055 trillion to the U.S. GDP in 2020. Weaknesses in food and beverage transportation can lead to artificial shortages in the market, driving up consumer prices. Already faced with rising inflation and fuel costs, shippers have no choice but to raise their prices. The process of transporting containers becomes easier by partnering with an industry leader. Contact Port Jersey Logistics to learn more about the transportation of food and beverages today.