The exchange of information between suppliers and customers has been a mess in the food and beverage industry as far back as anyone can remember. There are several reasons for this, but it’s driven primarily by the massive duplication of effort that stems from every customer along the supply chain requesting documentation from suppliers on an ongoing basis.
Historically, it’s been a one-to-one association with suppliers sending the same information repeatedly to different customers.
To make matters worse, the data remains scattered. Manufacturers receive this flood of documents, and then file them away, but what are they supposed to do with it after? Do they retain their value? If necessary, can manufacturers investigate problems? Can they search through and analyze that data? Can they act on it?
This is a problem that Bimbo, the world’s largest baking company, faced as it continued to grow along with the supply chain. This is their story.
CHALLENGE: Too Big to Track
About a decade ago, the executives at Bimbo realized that the complexity of their business had grown to the point where their vendor management program simply wasn’t enough to handle the changing compliance requirements they faced, whether it was the Food Safety Modernization Act or the Global Food Safety Initiative.
Bimbo had already initiated the process of getting all their facilities certified to a GFSI program, but they soon realized they didn’t have the horsepower to complete the project. They simply had too many facilities, in too many countries, handling too many ingredients provided by too many vendors. In short, it was just too much to handle.
They met with their purchasing staff, who identified the same issues. It had become too overwhelming to manage so many vendors, while keeping track of those vendors and the ingredients they provided, all while following where those ingredients traveled. It became too expensive and difficult to manage on paper alone.
So, Bimbo sought out a solution, and what they found were a variety of options in the market. Many companies insisted their software was up to the task. In theory, they were. But what Bimbo found was that a lot of those systems were incomplete. Most had to be amended, customized or both, which could be both expensive and time-consuming.
SOLUTION: A Way Out
Then Bimbo discovered TraceGains, a ready, off-the-shelf solution that met their needs.
The single biggest differentiator was TraceGains Network, where they found so many other vendors and companies. Bimbo wasn’t alone. They also realized there were a lot of smart people who’d been using this system for a long time. Those legacy users helped develop the network, improve on it, and are still constantly working to make it more efficient.
TraceGains emerged as the front runner because it was a comprehensive, complete, and elegant solution to Bimbo’s problem.
The other difference between TraceGains and many of the other products on the market was that it was configurable, which meant Bimbo was able to change it to meet their specific needs. Even better, no one at Bimbo had to do any programming. The drop-down menus and the boxes had already been anticipated and built into the system. So, Bimbo was able to simply configure it to meet their needs.
The solution mimicked the process Bimbo already had in place in their plants, so training was minimal because it was so intuitive. People immediately understood what to do and how to do it because all they were doing was translating the paper process they had in place for decades, into a software process.