The restaurant industry is lagging in data standardization and electronic communication. There’s an opportunity to improve the supply chain. Even a single efficiency has the potential for major impact.
“In most cases, supply chain stakeholders are traditionally buyer and seller,” says Steve Pattison, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Business Analysis and Risk Management for Restaurant Services, Inc. (RSI). “In our supply chain, it’s far more complicated. There are multiple trading partners through different stages that a product goes through before it ever reaches a customer, which means there are numerous challenges in the flow of communication.”
Without strategic, technology-supported synchronization across the supply chain, unintentional errors can easily happen.
Reduce Human Error
- At the account level, people take data out of the system, manipulate it, and then sync it. It’s easy to imagine how issues can inadvertently creep in.
- An end-to-end system would keep data consistent and accurate.
- Ultimately you want an automated system, where data flows smoothly, leaving no need for reconciling or manual follow up.
Why Restaurants Need to Sync Up
- Foodservice in general needs better data and visibility across the supply chain. Restaurants in particular could see major gains from synchronization.
- Pattison recalls the conversations he had during a recent supply chain optimization project: “We had distributors, suppliers, and chain restaurant operators in the same room, maybe for the first time, talking about the challenges we have in day-to-day transactions. The challenge of managing limited time offers (LTOs) was very apparent.”
- These LTOs are outside of the normal business processes, which makes them particularly prone to error. Any deficiencies in the system are more likely to cause problems during these types of product rollouts.
Where to Start
- If you’re looking for the best point in the chain to start working towards end-to-end consistency, start with complex items.
- Although it’s a little counter-intuitive, if you tackle the high volume items and work your way down you’ll see bigger returns right away. Then, as you move on to items with less volume, the process will be quicker and easier.
- The goal is fully integrated, end-to-end system that reflects long-term strategy.