The effects of the pandemic are still plaguing the industry, but what’s in store for the future of supply chain management? With restaurants continuing to struggle with delays, many have taken the opportunity to assess their operations, improve inventory management, predict needs with increased accuracy, and add technology for better efficiency.
With the surge in customer demand, as businesses reopened, many operators found that they didn’t have the necessary supply chain in place and that creating a more flexible and resilient system has helped to provide consistency and the hope of better meeting demand going forward.
Wendy Outram, vice president of North American procurement at Bimbo Canada advises, “Increasing the amount of suppliers, increasing that risk mitigation work and really diving deep in our supply chains to understand where there are key watch-outs and risks. You can’t build enough resiliency into the supply chains, but we’re certainly building more in than we did (pre-pandemic).”
With some adjustments in operations, restaurants can better manage their supply chain to overcome the continuing challenges.
Evaluate and strengthen your relationships with suppliers to make sure they still work for your business. Communication is key, so share information like business models, delivery schedules, timelines, and more. Asking them to do the same will keep you on the same page and mitigate the risk of any surprise disruptions to your business.
It’s also a good idea to consider broadening your supplier list, in case there’s a delay and you need an alternate source. Having a few reliable suppliers may give you the flexibility you need, offer you competitive pricing, and offer more protection against potential risks or shortages.
Building relationships with your customers in challenging times can also help build trust in your business. 94 per cent of people say that they would be more loyal to brands with supply chain transparency, so it pays to communicate openly with your customers.
Automate inventory management
There are lots of options out there if you are looking to add or improve your automated inventory management. These tools can track orders and deliveries, notify you before inventory gets low, and control the amount of product you sell to guests. Based on historical data, these systems can also help you predict your restaurant’s needs for better forecasting and more accurate ordering.
This can get you the data you need to stay ahead of the game for busier times.
As we continue to struggle with supply chain interruption, there are a few lessons that the food service industry can take away. Having to shift and pivot through the last few years, many restaurants have streamlined their processes, improving their practices to account for labour shortages and supply chain delays.