In an agricultural industry that’s as interconnected and fast-moving as it’s ever been, the potential for product inconsistency and lack of quality is high. And while the brunt of that impact can fall on consumers, a lack of regularly high-caliber products can also negatively affect your contractual relationships. You don’t want your customers thinking to themselves, “What are we going to get this time?”
It pays for everyone along the supply chain to focus on quality and consistency, since fresh products make up a significant portion of the grocery industry. In the U.S. alone, fresh produce represents more than 10 to 15% of the revenue of the $700B grocery business.
When you factor in that retailers cull about 11% of produce, the impact on revenue adds up quickly. If that number were to be cut in half, it would result in about $1.5B fewer losses.
Long story short? Quality of product isn’t just a nice-to-have: it’s critical.
Maintaining regular standards for your products also sustains contractual relationships between suppliers and distributors, processors and retailers.
It makes sense: if you were unsure what you were going to get from a supplier — the last tomatoes you received were too small, and the two previous rounds of lettuce were wilted — what incentive do you have to continue that relationship?
And with demand for fresh produce predicted to increase over the next few years, now is the time to ensure you’re meeting those standards of quality and consistency. By 2025, U.S. fruit and vegetable market demand is expected to top 242.3 million tons, according to Grandview Research.
That’s a lot of room for error if the right systems aren’t in place.
So how can Fusionware help me maintain my product quality and consistency?
We’ve worked with hundreds of suppliers, distributors, and retailers at Fusionware. And we appreciate how important quality and consistency of product is for those parties to maintain their respective relationships with each other. With our technology, companies and producers can:
Optimize operations and improve efficiency
When it comes to product quality, timing is everything. When shipments are waiting around somewhere, or stuck in transit, the caliber of the food being transported goes down.
With Fusionware’s platform, companies can optimize their supply chain and prevent these delays. They can cut potentially days off the time from farm to market, which leads to overall improved quality. For example, having all your raw inventory to look days/weeks ahead a future orders, producers can quickly decide what raw product needs to be used for future orders. This creates less waste as produce doesn’t sit on inventory floors longer than necessary. In addition, as soon as the raw product is “Touched”, the shelf life clock starts immediately.
Here is an example BI report comparing raw product with future orders:
When a supply chain is optimized, retailers or distributors can know exactly what to expect, and when to expect it. When they can have those expectations continuously fulfilled, they’re much more likely to maintain their contract with you.
The other added benefit of optimized operations is a lesser chance of foodborne illness, fewer opportunities for damaged products, and overall more consistency in what a product looks, feels, and tastes like.
Fusionware vertically integrates field management, from production of raw goods to finished inventory, in an easy-to-use, centralized system. The platform also integrates transportation and logistics data, which mitigates carrier risk and increases your chances of getting quality product where it needs to go, on time. Those are the makings of a long-term contract.
“Supply chain optimization is helpful for all operations, but is crucial for anyone whose business depends on precise timing and product quality as much as in the agriculture supply chain,” said Dane Dickerson, Fusionware Director of Marketing. “Optimization doesn’t just maximize profit in the short term—it’s the key to keeping distributors happy with predictable, timely product.”
Earn a food safety certification
Maintaining consistent color or size is important for produce, of course. But most significantly, food has to be safe to eat: that’s the biggest indicator of quality of all.
The Fusionware platform helps companies obtain their food safety certification for each product they sell. That means at the end of the day, customers are getting the best quality product possible, and staying safe and healthy.
When a company or grower’s products are consistently marked as safe, you not only earn the trust of the end consumer. You earn the trust of the market. Whichever end of the supply chain you’re on, when you earn that trust, more retailers, distributors, and growers will want to work with you (or keep working with you).
Food safety isn’t just something that happens accidentally. Keeping products safe includes meticulous attention to detail — and the ability to trace to the source any potential foodborne illness outbreak.
If an outbreak is detected, Fusionware‘s technology helps trace the problem all the way back to the source. This means outbreaks can be stopped quickly, and far-reaching spread can be stopped altogether.
That traceability is also helpful even outside of foodborne illness. Let’s say there’s been a defect of a product, like discoloration of a batch of strawberries, or a batch of poorly sized onions. Our traceability tools allow everyone in the supply chain to figure out where and when the issue started, reducing the possibility that that defect continues happening. This keeps products consistent, and producers, distributors, retailers, and customers happy.
Get back to what you do best
Consistency comes from having systems and tools in place that cut out inefficiencies, outliers, and wild cards.
So it’s time to stop sweating the logistics: making sure your products’ traceability is up to par, managing transportation operations, overseeing field management, and more. You deserve to have a tool that does all this for you, so you can get back to what you do best: producing and selling excellent-quality products.
The companies and growers who use our technology can focus more on the quality of their products, since they no longer have to spend precious time and energy worrying about logistical questions, operations, or integration of their supply chain.
They know that with the Fusionware platform, things are humming along safely and efficiently.