3 Trends Underscore Food Shippers’ Need for Supply Chain Management Software

Food shippers have grown increasingly reliant on supply chain logistics IT solutions over the last decade and for a number of reasons.  The number of food producers adopting software solutions like TMS, YMS, WMS, optimizers and others – from agricultural concerns to processors to retailers – continues to grow.  Yet, there are still many food shipping organizations that are using old-school, spreadsheet and email based processes to manage logistics.  These lagging players probably already feel the pain of competing against organizations leveraging the benefits of cloud computing power.  Here are three current trends that will likely push remaining hold outs toward today’s technology-driven supply chain logistics planning and management.

FSMA Rules Finalized

June of this year will see the full implementation of the much anticipated Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA) which, although signed into law in 2011, has just recently completed revisions and modifications stemming from rigorous public input.  The FMSA is intended to shift the focus from reacting to incidents of food contamination to taking actions to prevent them. The new prevention-minded rules stipulated by the FSMA will naturally emphasize better visibility and control over the entire food supply chain.

Supply chain logistics IT software like TMS, YMS and optimizers are critical to better route planning, more precise pickup and delivery scheduling and temperature control monitoring are just some of the activities improved by using logistics IT tools. The capture and maintenance of transportation records also makes it easier to identify the sources of contaminated product quickly before tainted foodstuffs are widely distributed making for more proactive management of perishable products.  Compliance with FMSA strictures, while difficult to ensure using manual processes is easy to achieve with the aid of today’s cloud-based TMS solutions.

ELD Mandate Kicks In

By December 2017, all carriers must be compliant with the FMCSA’s Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate.  That means bye-bye to the old paper log books in tractors and full electronic connectivity for purposes of logging driver hours so that newly implemented hours of service rules are observed and honored.  As of today, nearly 60% of the industry doesn’t have ELDs installed.  Having an existing telematics solution in place and integrated with your TMS early will make meeting this mandate far less painful than the tech-free alternative.  Read the article in the current issue of Food Shippers of America magazine.

Room to Grow – Young Leaders Embrace Opportunities in Food Shipping

Perhaps more than any other emerging trend, the simple passage of time has become a pressing driver of food shippers’ flight to technology.  As the old guard of supply chain management professionals age out of the workforce, they’re being replaced by Millennial Generation entrants into the field.  And these young professionals were weaned on technology from the cradle.  As such, there is an expectation among young supply chain pros regarding the utilization of technologies to perform all the functions related to transportation management.  As more Millennials continue to move into supply chain management roles, the trend toward automation technology will grow ever more normalized.  Smart players are already leveraging the young generation’s comfort and capability with technology to bring their operations into line with cutting edge best practices.

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