How to Increase Your Food Service Supply Chain Efficiency
It can be extremely frustrating working in the food service supply industry. As a matter of fact, it is one of those industries that are known for constant change and adaptation. And while there are always new techniques and trends in food service supply management, many of them are at odds with long-standing practices. Yet, if you are able to adapt quickly to a new technique or concept, it can help you provide excellent service to your customers, as well as help you improve your profitability.
One of the challenges of food service supply companies is that they often have to reconfigure their restaurant supplies, equipment, and training due to seasonal changes in weather patterns and economic conditions. There are even times when a company’s food service revenues decline for a period of time. While it may be tempting to simply give your customers what they’ve come to expect, this approach can create a perception of insecurity for them. Customers do not want to be surprised with a suddenly increasing bill at the end of the month or with their food being rejected after a meal. Therefore, you need to consider carefully how your business supplies are going to be affected during these times.
The first thing you need to do is make a list of the current issues affecting your food service supply facilities. Are there shortages in ingredients? Are there unexpected problems with distributors and warehouses? Do you have any outstanding issues with your vendors? Once you have this information, you should be able to create a strategy that will address each of these areas.
Next, you need to consider the costs that you will incur in these adjustments. The cost of a temporary stoppage in shipments or the inability to obtain certain items due to a demand caused by a weather condition will obviously affect your profits. Even a slight increase in price from a supplier because their warehouse is not fully stocked can cause a significant loss of revenue for your business. Food service supply providers are constantly on the lookout for new ways to improve their distribution systems and keep up with the demands of the modern food service industry. If you decide to outsource this responsibility, be sure you understand the full cost implications before you make a final decision.
The third thing you need to focus on is whether or not your current food service supply systems are capable of meeting the increased volume. This may not be as easy to determine as it sounds since your present process may have been successful so far. However, many processes have been designed to handle heavier loads, so you will not have much trouble adapting your processes as you progress through your food service supply chain. Of course, as your operations begin to grow, you will notice that the demand for your product is greater than your supply. If this is the case, you may have to make even more drastic changes to your supply chain.
Once you have considered all these aspects, you will likely have a pretty good idea what you need to do in order to address the issue. What changes, if any, should be minimal and can be handled by your existing food service supply system without undue stress? Or, are there possible problems that could cause you to implement more drastic changes? If so, make sure to discuss those possibilities at length with your vendor so that you do not get into any complicated discussions.