The saying goes that “one rotten apple spoils the barrel,” and in the food and beverage industry in particular, a mistake made by one supplier can negatively affect the entire brand or sometimes several brands. Recently, the food industry has been dealing with a less than ideal global economy, which has put enormous pressure on both manufacturers and suppliers to significantly reduce costs and streamline operational efficiencies. To tackle this issue and keep everyone happy, companies are beginning to purchase raw materials from global suppliers and are outsourcing their manufacturing processes to contracted vendors. Although this method certainly helps to lower overall costs, it also increases the risk of a mistake by severely muddling the visibility into the supply chain and production processes.

A wholesaler or distributor can have annual revenues of $10 million or more without having sound scalable accounting policies and practices. However, such companies are more prone to significant enterprise risks. 

Lack of timely, accurate financial statements hinders management’s ability to make good financial decisions. Errors or incidents of fraud can go undetected, tax overpayments can occur and high inventory carrying costs may not be evaluated. Amid due diligence, the lack of sound accounting practices may also cause potential investors or acquirers to move to the next opportunity. 

Sound, scalable accounting policies and practices provide a foundation that sustains growth and supports a wholesaler or distributor’s operational strengths. Establishing sound, scalable accounting policies and practices requires:

In recent years, the unprecedented access to information and the consumer’s thirst for knowledge have greatly influenced supply chain practices across many industries. The foodservice industry is particularly responding to a shift in information demand, as various trends like clean eating, gluten-free diets and special attention to food sourcing impact supply chain practices.  

To be able to respond to the needs of today’s consumers, wholesalers, distributors and other supply chain stakeholders are placing more emphasis on sharing as much information as possible about a product or ingredient, in a standardized format, updated in real time. This ensures their foodservice operator customers can display information on their menus, for example, with confidence. One of the first steps in fulfilling consumer expectations for accurate information is to focus on the quality of foundational product data, the extended product information – such as nutritional data, allergens, images pallet height, exact weight and portion sizes – and the processes that govern them to gain logistics efficiencies and increase sales. 

While innovation can be seen throughout the logistics industry, there are some sectors within the industry that still lag behind. For example, in freight forwarding, much of the scheduling of shipments and paperwork is still done by using traditional methods. Because of outdated technology in many sectors, the logistics industry has yet to reach its full potential. According to a survey by Penn State Professor C. John Langley Jr. with the consulting group Capgemini, 75 percent of shippers said the logistics industry could benefit from better technology. 

The good news is that current advances in technology are addressing many of these traditional problems.

To be a successful distributor or wholesaler, it’s crucial for you to stand out among the competition. What can you 

offer that other distributors can’t? Are there benefits to doing business with you? These are the questions contractors and other buyers ask themselves about you. One of the unique, modern approaches you can take to win contractors over is offering incentive programs that are powered by the latest and greatest technology.

A business, as an entity, can continue on in perpetuity.  However, the transition that takes place at the end of a key stakeholder’s career introduces a myriad of challenges. Although current key stakeholders drive the succession planning process, those with the most at stake are their successors, who may have less of a say in decision-making. Preparing a seamless transition can be particularly complex in private, closely-held family businesses where family dynamics can interfere with business decisions, skew individual perspective and otherwise impact the sustainability of the business.

A perfect parallel is a relay race where one generation passes the baton to the next, with success measured by the collective performance of all participants. Any breakdown or stumble along the way restricts the business from realizing its true potential. 

Gradual changes in the costs of international shipping over the last decade are beginning to have a profound impact on the entire North American economy. 

The good news is that the underlying cost of moving containerized goods from Asia to the Eastern half of North America will drop in the next few years. In addition, congestion in the Long Beach and L.A. ports will be reduced. These effects will become more apparent when the expanded Panama Canal locks open in early 2016.

Most goods imported from Asia today flow through West Coast ports and are then moved eastwards, overland, by intermodal and truck. The expanded canal, larger ships, Eastern port dredging and other port improvements will reduce the overland flow, allowing more goods from Asia to enter through Gulf and East Coast ports. These changes will provide an economic boost to these areas. 

The rise of mobile and e-Commerce in the food sector has never been more pronounced. From traditional brick-and-mortar businesses migrating to digital models to the new millennial generation that expects to buy their produce and perishables on Instacart or Amazonfresh, a product’s digital food print is expanding at an unprecedented clip. It’s forcing us to take a digital-first approach to the governance and management of product information. 

On Dec. 13, 2014, the European Union (EU) officially started to enforce new regulations for the labeling of food products sold on the market. On the surface, the new European Regulation, known as 1169/2011, is a logical idea to combine and simplify all previous EU regulations related to food labeling. Given that consumers no longer only purchase food items in a physical store, the implications of changes to how food labeling and ingredients are represented must also live in the digital world, wherever the products are sold or represented. If a company operates in the global food market, it must evaluate its product information governance, practices and procedures.

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