Step III: Assess current industry situations, trends and initiatives. Next, identify and assess the current industry situation, trends, and initiatives toward fresh foods. Note the value-chain players and trading partners—from farm to checkout—and how the flow of goods, information, cash and work takes place, assessing the major value chains that lead to supermarkets or similar retail formats. This assessment should include the most applicable metrics for the value chain: cost, time and quality.
Step IV: Evaluate your practices against industry leaders. Now, seek best practices and analyze the relevant findings for the program. Make sure that performance data on your fresh food business is available and in the form to compare and contrast against the best in the industry. This will help you identify gaps and determine opportunities for improvement. Look at the criteria available and value streams of cost, time, and quality, and note the gaps and their value.
Step V: Determine your initiatives, value and implementation program. Finally, construct a plan for prioritized initiatives. Employ several methods such as shareholder value framework, business case methods and other balanced scorecard measures to determine ROI, payback and time to value ratio. Be sure to gain consensus on the right initiatives and their value, and determine timing, responsibilities and other implementation needs. With group buy-in and feedback, initiatives are usually more readily and successfully implemented.
If you get stuck anywhere in the five-step process, seek expert help. This will allow you to learn from their current and recent foods experiences and industry knowledge, which will also help you make the best decisions or even expedite the outcome.
A Healthier Bottom Line
In a fresh food supply chain, taking the time to do things right the first time can save headaches in the long run. By using this process and implementing the above steps, you will gain a clearer direction for your fresh food business. And your investments—time and money—will also be paid back many times over. With a more efficient supply chain, you can achieve profitable growth and overcome the special challenges faced by the fresh food industry.
Simonson is a partner with Tompkins Associates, Raleigh, NC. For more information, go to www.tompkinsinc.com.