Wednesday 19th Dec 2018 - Logistics & Supply Chain

Food supply chains are still an unknown quantity

Four out of five large UK food manufacturers say that last year’s horsemeat scandal has made no difference to the way they manage information about their suppliers, according to a survey commissioned by Achilles, the supply chain risk management company.

The horsemeat incident highlighted the difficulty of managing risk across an increasingly global and complex supply chain, with multiple tiers of suppliers.

But the research by IFF for Achilles shows many food manufacturers still do not know exactly who is in their supply chains. Businesses have less confidence in suppliers lower down the supply chain – and the lowest confidence of all in suppliers based overseas, in emerging markets.

It found that:

* 82 per cent of food and drinks manufacturers said the horse meat scandal did not affect the way they manage information about their suppliers

* Just over half of all food and drinks manufacturers have less information about their second level suppliers than first level suppliers

* 40 per cent of food and drinks manufacturers have never ‘mapped out’ their entire supply chain to find out exactly who all their suppliers are

* Just over half of food manufacturers still rely on paper records to manage information about suppliers across the world

* Only 24 per cent of food manufacturers said they were ‘very confident’ suppliers in emerging markets would continue to adhere to health and safety responsibilities. 30 per cent said they were ‘very confident’ suppliers in emerging markets would continue to deliver required quality

* Despite this, 60 per cent of food manufacturers said they were ‘very confident’ that the way they manage their supply chain allows them to manage risk effectively

Adrian Chamberlain, chief executive of Achilles, said: “ “The food industry is reliant on an increasingly complex and globalised supply chain, as shown by the horse meat scandal – where counterfeit meat originated in Romania. However, this research shows food manufacturers have far less confidence in suppliers from the second tier and below, with even less confidence in the credentials of suppliers in emerging markets.”

And he said food and drinks manufacturers should act proactively and implement a single, coordinated system to manage information about all suppliers across the world and map their supply chains before another horse meat scandal.

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