Supply Scan

E-Commerce Solution Targets Grocery Retailers, Customers

Descartes Systems Group and MyWebGrocer (MWG) have partnered on an e-commerce solution for grocery retailers that helps support the customer e-commerce experience from online purchase through home delivery.

“E-commerce is transforming the grocery industry and creating tremendous opportunities for grocers to drive higher share of wallet and increased customer loyalty,” said Eric Healy, president of MWG. “However, it’s an incredibly demanding business model and requires an intense focus on efficiency. MWG’s order fulfillment and picking optimization capabilities combined with Descartes’ home delivery solution help grocers’ e-commerce initiatives reach full profit potential.”

A new study from The NPD Group shows 52 million Americans currently grocery shop online. Furthermore, over 60 percent are completely satisfied by the experience, while only 6 percent are neutral or dissatisfied and the others are somewhat satisfied. Convenience is the top driver of satisfaction, but online grocery shoppers also like the delivery options and shipping deals, like Amazon Prime, along with the infinite assortment and tax advantages.

Powershelf “Smart” Shelves Debut In Ohio Supermarkets

Powershelf, a shelf automation technology that detects and automatically alerts store personnel in real time on the status of inventory, has recently been installed in 15 supermarkets in the Columbus, Ohio area.

The Powershelf smart shelf units consist of a series of shelves that hold and display products. Built-in Powershelf technology tracks product availability, and when a shelf is empty, a restocking alert is automatically sent to store personnel. The solution utilizes Microsoft’s Azure and Power BI to analyze when, where and why products sell so fast, allowing retailers and consumer product companies to identify trends and avoid out of stocks before they even happen.

“Retailers are increasingly able to leverage IoT sensors and data to enhance their businesses, and solutions like Powershelf have the potential to vastly transform a retailer’s ability to meet customer demand,” said Brenda O’Meara, senior director, worldwide retail, at Microsoft.

The Common Market Earns Coveted Safe Quality Food (SQF) Certification

The Common Market, a Philadelphia, Pa.-based nonprofit sustainable local farm food distributor, has become the first and only food hub in the U.S. to earn SQF Level 2 certification by the Safe Quality Food Institute.

As a distributor for highly regulated hospitals, schools and grocery stores, meeting stringent food safety requirements is essential.

“This certification demonstrates our commitment to food safety and puts us on the cutting edge of this issue for a local food hub,” noted The Common Market’s founder and COO Tatiana Garcia-Granados. “It also proves that locally sourced, sustainable farm food can meet the highest global food safety standards, even as it positively impacts local environments, economies and health.”

Cold Chain Monitoring Market Posed For Rapid Expansion

A report from Markets and Markets shows the cold chain monitoring market is projected to grow by 9.84 percent year-over-year in the next five years, from $3.11 billion in 2015 to $6.23 billion by 2022.

The growing demand for quality food, less food waste, and the strict regulatory environment in the pharmaceutical industry are all driving interest in cold chain monitoring technology. Among those companies that are expected to benefit from the expanding cold chain monitoring market are makers of hardware components such as NXP Semiconductors N.V. (Netherlands) and NEC Corp. (Japan), Sensitech Inc. (U.S.), ORBCOMM Inc. (U.S.) and Berlinger & Co. AG (Switzerland).

Storage logistics providers are also likely to see steep growth, says the research firm, as they represent a key support in the global cold chain.

The Asia Pacific region is expected to experience the fastest growth due to growing demand for food; an increase in the segment of the population relying on medication; and rapid urbanization worldwide.

US Ag Exporters Concerned About NAFTA’s Future

Mexico is one of the top three markets for U.S. agricultural products, but American food producers and exporters are worried that relations between the two countries are beginning to spoil following President’s Trump persistent calls to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and pledge to renegotiate NAFTA.

Diplomatic relations were strained further in January after the new administration suggested a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports and a meeting between the two presidents was canceled.

In response, some U.S. producers of corn, soybean meal and distillers dried grains (DDGs), an ethanol byproduct, are trying to accelerate sales to Mexico over concerns of rising tariffs or a trade dispute.

“They don’t know what will happen in the next month or the next week,” said Rafe Garcia, general manager for U.S. operations at shipper Primos & Cousins USA.

According to Reuters, the company, which ships U.S. livestock feed to Mexico and imports Mexican product like molasses, has already talked with U.S. producers about selling into other countries, such as Nicaragua, to lessen their dependence on Mexico.

Although the U.S. agricultural community largely supported Trump during the presidential election, they are concerned over his withdrawal of the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact and are growing more worried that Mexico could use tariffs to hurt U.S. farm exports to that country.

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