Leading supply chain visibility company FourKites and Food Shippers of America (FSA), an industry non-profit association that brings together a community of supply chain, transportation and logistics professionals, today released the results of a survey of more than 115 industry leaders. Survey results shed light on the most pressing logistics challenges in the Food & Beverage (F&B) community, as well as the impact of ongoing economic, geopolitical and supply chain disruptions.
Results reveal that the three biggest challenges facing the food shipping industry are:
- Labor and talent management (49%)
- Transportation capacity issues (39%)
- Supply and demand planning disruptions (35%)
Difficulty with supply and demand planning, product availability and warehousing were more likely to plague enterprise companies with sales of $500 million or more. While these were also top concerns for smaller food and beverage shippers with less than $500 million in sales, those companies were more likely than their larger peers to cite store operations and transportation rates as the primary challenges.
Underlying these issues, shippers indicated that COVID-19’s impact on labor (56%), over-the-road capacity constraints (44%), port delays and congestion (30%), and changes in consumer behavior or buying patterns (22%) have all disrupted operations and created or exacerbated today’s challenges. In fact, since the pandemic began, more than 30% of respondents have seen a drop in customer loyalty, while 55% have seen a sales decline or miss due to product shortages. The financial impact was more acute among enterprise companies, with more than 65% indicating losses.
Looking ahead, a significant majority of companies (75%) say they are “concerned” or “very concerned” that rising inflation and geopolitical uncertainty will negatively impact sales during the fourth quarter of 2022.
According to the latest FourKites data, the 28-day average F&B shipping volume is down 1% year over year, compared to a nearly 10% decline in shipments for all other industries. Meanwhile, the 28-day average percentage of F&B deliveries delayed has remained stable throughout the year, hovering around 27.5%.
“Food and beverage shippers have contended with a lot lately, as the industry has been more affected by product and material shortages than most, and for goods that are in demand year round,” said Glenn Koepke, FourKites General Manager of Network Collaboration. “Those who have navigated supply chain disruptions the most successfully are companies that have leaned heavily on technology and collaboration to identify and address issues before they snowball into major events.”
When asked how they will future-proof their supply chain, technology and automation was a common theme among respondents. “We are continuing to invest in technology to assist us with management of fuel, assets and drivers’ utility,” indicated one survey participant.
“If we’ve learned anything over the past couple of years, it’s that disruption is going to be continuous, and we need to have visibility throughout our supply chain,” said Melissa Wreath, Senior Director of Account Management at ArrowStream, a foodservice supply chain technology that helps clients improve supply chain management efficiency, strategic sourcing programs, food safety and food quality. “FourKites allows us to have a real-time understanding of where things are throughout the entirety of the network. Without it, you’re continuously playing catch-up.”
F&B leaders continue to turn to FourKites for end-to-end supply chain visibility, with the company having seen total food and beverage shipper customer growth of 25% over the last 12 months. The total number of F&B shipments tracked by FourKites has grown by nearly 50% over the same period. The company now serves over 1,100 of the world’s most recognized brands, including 18 of the top-20 F&B companies, including Coca-Cola Consolidated, Conagra, Boston Beer Company, Organic Valley, Constellation Brands, Nestlé, General Mills, Tyson Foods, Kraft Heinz, US Foods, Smithfield, Land O’Lakes and Cargill.
FourKites has been recognized for its ability to solve the pain points of enterprise customers, with a well-known track record in the F&B space. Earlier this year, FourKites was named a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Real-time Transportation Visibility Platforms for its ability to execute, and with the highest completeness of vision. FourKites also scored the highest for Fortune 500 businesses with complex needs, according to Gartner’s Critical Capabilities for Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platforms report. The company was also named to the 2022 “Top Food Chain Technology” list, a program that recognizes standout technologies in food transportation, logistics, distribution and supply chain management, according to Food Chain Digest and was identified as a Top Green Provider by Food Logistics.
Download the whitepaper with full details from the FSA website.