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The Impact of Technology on Food Supply Chain

Table of Contents

The majority of modern wholesalers, retailers, and distributors are utilizing technology for document maintenance and compliance with FDA and FSMA. The integrated documentation can help wholesalers, and distributors with foreign supplier verification, registration, food defense plans, food safety plans, and transiting records respective to the suppliers.

However, compliance isn’t the only factor that food companies consider when they deploy the technology. These technological tools help optimize the position of inventory through AI and can predict consumer demand. Also, the track and trace methodology will help track food across the food supply chain. In this article, we are sharing how technology has impacted the food supply chain and what will happen in the future!

Technology in the Food Supply Chain Management 

It’s safe to say that technology can deliver high-quality improvements and operational efficiency in the daily food supply chain. Software tools like farm management software and ERP solutions greatly help businesses to optimize workflow processes, as well as, improve business productivity by automating various business functions. The analytical tools offered by these tools also assist businesses in the decision-making process; enabling them to make timely and well-informed decisions. In the section below, we are sharing different technologies that have started transforming the food supply chain! 

  • Voice-Based Technology

The voice-based technology was launched back in the 1990s, since then the technology has greatly matured and made its way into various fields. In the food industry, voice-based technology is improving the productivity and efficiency of warehousing. Lately, the integration of AR and scanning capabilities have even further improved the capacity of voice-based technology to handle various tasks in food supply chain management.

  • Process Automation For Warehouses 

Ranging from bar code readers to scanners and robotics, all these technologies have become an important part of the automated warehouses. These technologies can be interfaced with the warehouse software with vendor-supplier configuration. These technologies can track every operation and product of the warehouse. Process automation is suitable to handle all operations of the warehouse! 

  • Augmented Reality 

The augmented reality is the combination of voice or vision scanning, along with image capturing, that eliminates the guesswork in the warehouse. With the use of voice-based technology and item scanning, there still remain chances of making the wrong warehouse decisions. However, with the augmented reality, the companies can validate the items by comparing the picture in the database. 

That being said, the companies will be able to choose the correct items from the database. Besides, it ensures that items are properly handled and packed.

  • Compliance in Cloud 

Ensuring compliance with FSMA and FDA is a full-time task. While many companies do maintain a full-time compliance department, but that’s still not enough on its own to comply with various food sector regulations. In particular, there are gaps in compliance standards and what different regulations mean. That being said, the cloud-based SaaS solutions can greatly help to fill the gaps. 

Technology-based compliance software solutions can help food supply chain companies to comply with the various regulations in the industry while maintaining seamless operations.

  • Analytics

The automated operations of the warehouse and the availability of real-time technology helps track the product flow. In addition, the advanced warehouse systems can check where the products were ordered from, the supplier, and the product tracking to the customers. As far as tracking is concerned, it depends on the logistics sensors that are attached to boxes, pallets, and compartments. 

The sensors have the capacity to track the tampering, temperature, and humidity of the containers for different goods. The devices have the capacity to issue automatic alerts for the supply chain managers if the conditions are hampered. Besides, these alerts ensure that all plans and strategies are actionable and practical. 

Secondly, the food supply chain analytics ensure real-time collection and transmission of critical operational data. In this technology, the data and information from food supply chain operations are integrated into the database (the database is accessible to all stakeholders). It ensures that every stakeholder has access to identical data with consistent reporting. 

In this case, the reports, custom queries, and user dashboards can be created. For instance, it can alert if transportation costs are higher or if products are at risk of being spoiled. In simpler words, it will provide insights into how different situations can impact the food supply chain. That being said, the companies can develop new strategies and action plans. 

  • Technology in Agriculture

Agricultural fields are important for every food supply chain. However, the majority of food companies still rely on decades of techniques to manage agricultural produce that results in inefficient processes, as well as, loss of the crop produce. For this reason, the new technologies can help companies greatly in various ways. For instance, the technology can help monitor the gas that vegetables and fruits excrete upon ripening. This information will tell which products should be displayed first, so the spoilage is avoidable. 

In addition, there are spectral imaging technologies that have the capacity to monitor the health and ripeness of the plants. Some technologies can also detect pathology errors in the early phase of processes which means no bad products are added to the commercial food chain or supermarkets. Even more, adopting technology in agriculture fields is improving transparency for businesses. 

As far as the producers are concerned, they are using technologies that can support the precise agricultural needs for having better control over crop yields. Also, the farming management concept helps observe, measure, and respond to changes in crop yields, soils, and pests. The concept is known as precision agriculture

The Current State Of Food Industry 

When it comes down to adopting new technologies, many companies are still behind. In the majority of cases, the companies are unable to implement the farm ERP software and other technology solutions for the food industry mainly because they have less understanding of implementation, operations, and benefits of technologies. 

As far as the small-scale companies are concerned, such companies are void of the knowledge and understanding of the technology to implement them. Also, such companies lack the monetary funds for supporting, acquiring, and implementing such technologies. On the other hand, while the large-scale companies might have the monetary funds and resources, but many lack the vision and access to the right knowledge base to integrate the technology into their supply food chain operations. 

The Final Verdict 

The rise of precision agriculture is perhaps the biggest example of the potential of technological solutions in the food sector. Given the massive scale of operations for the food supply chain sector, it’s important for businesses to explore various technologies available in the market to improve the workflow processes and operations. Futuristic technology like artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, augmented reality, and others are increasingly enabling businesses associated with the food sector to improve their efficiency and productivity. 

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