Organizations use specific packaging standards while delivery services have policies in place to protect fragile items, there's always the chance that something can go wrong. Fragile packages have to endure many hands, transport vehicles/fleets, and locations to arrive at their final destination. If waste occurs, the consequences can be severe. Read below for the best practices to improve food logistics in the supply chain.
Food Logistics Tips for Suppliers
Ensuring food and beverage products reach their end destination safely can be one of the more challenging activities in the food industry. Other concerns include optimizing storage temperatures, implementing proper packaging, maintaining quality during long journeys and preventing spoilage. Food waste and spoilage is costly, dangerous, and damaging to a company's reputation.
1. Employ Supply Chain Technology Systems
Preventative measures are the best method to avoid contamination and spoilage during transport. Fortunately, operators now have access to modern technology systems that utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve traceability. Many technology systems are effective because they collect data at every single point of the supply chain, including the farm, warehouses, pickup locations, and more. Bluetooth devices, robotics, and scanners are some of the options available to operators. Technology systems can also help to detect spoilage and contamination before the item ever reaches its final destination. This can prevent an outbreak, protect a company's reputation, and pinpoint other problems along the transport journey.
2. Utilize Sterile Packaging & Proper Cleaning
Fresh meats and other food items are especially susceptible to contamination and cross-contamination. Sterile packaging prevents microbial contamination if the item is removed from the sterilized container during transport. Sanitation must be the primary concern before an item is ever packaged or put into a shipment bundle. Every piece of machinery must be regularly cleaned and disinfected. Logistics trucks or fleets must be sanitized, even if products are already placed in sterile packaging.
3. Incorporate Excellent Training Materials
Knowledge of all food safety regulations and preventative measures should be required by everyone who is involved in transporting products. Organizations should make certain that their partners or third-party vendors are also informed on the latest safety guidelines. Operators should be aware of their partners' education and quality measures to make certain everyone's goals are aligned. Proper education and training can prevent food safety problems, foodborne illness, or improper storage of items.
4. Conduct an Audit & Audit Trail Report
Recordkeeping helps ensure that processes are operating fluently and all participants are abiding by food safety standards. Performing an audit is another preventative measure that helps avoid contamination and other foodborne illnesses. Every machine, technology, piece of equipment, and system should be reviewed as part of an audit. Utilize the data collected by any monitoring tools as part of the audit to see which areas of logistics need the most improvement. Utilizing audits and audit trail reports are essential components to improve food logistics.