Supply chains are the driving force behind CPG companies with the power to make or break a brand. Teams must consistently evaluate operations to close loopholes and improve business outcomes to succeed.
CPG companies now produce more complex and diverse products with longer, more globally dispersed supply chains. Because each item or ingredient requires as many as thirty documents, teams struggle to keep up, and businesses face more risk.
There Were Two Attempts to Solve the Supply Chain Problem
Attempt No. 1: Digitize Documentation
About 25 years ago, people in the food business decided the problem was paper, and the solution was to digitize it. So instead of paper and faxes, they moved to Word documents and PDFs. To store the new digital documents, they created folders and subfolders. Rather than solving the problem, this created a new hurdle for finding information. While they no longer had to leave their desks to search through filing cabinets, they still had to search for digital files on their desktops. To make sense of the documents in digital folders, they turned to spreadsheets to keep track of what documents and information they had, what was missing, what had expired, and what would soon expire. Unfortunately, this approach is too time-consuming, not scalable, and prone to human error. Sadly, many companies still live in this world, and they know it’s ineffective.
Attempt No. 2: Single-Use Portals
Food, beverage, and supplements companies made a second attempt to digitize documentation about 15 years ago. Some of the largest companies decided to have their IT departments build single-use portals for suppliers to log into and upload the necessary documentation and information. But as more companies took this route, suppliers soon had 50, 60, or 100 different portals, which meant they had to enter the same information repeatedly. This approach requires teams to constantly ask suppliers for documentation and information without knowing how suppliers are tracking against requirements.
Both Attempts to Fix the Supply Chain Failed
The identification and qualification of suppliers and items remain labor-intensive and slow for most teams. And once selected, companies have limited visibility into supplier performance. Documents sit in files, and teams can’t mine them for business insight. Incomplete information and poor communication can have a significant impact on product development and innovation. When you can’t see what others on your team and in your supply chain are doing, status is unclear, and progress stops. Poor collaboration causes inefficiency, waste, and mistrust between teams and supply chain partners. And this problem gets much worse when you’re operating globally.
Three Requirements for Solving the Supply Chain Challenge
Instant Collaboration: Connect departments, suppliers, and co-manufacturers over a networked platform that tracks and digitizes information exchange, documentation, and agreements.
Actionable Insight: Extract data from the documentation required throughout the supply chain and at every stage of product development, converting it into dashboards and reports for real-time business insight.
Automate Business Processes: Leverage workflows to monitor, record, streamline, and automate the product development process, sending alerts when stakeholders have tasks to complete and recording everything for easy version control, change management, and a complete audit trail.
Real-World Supply Chain Solutions
TraceGains Network is the collaborative platform where food, supplement, and CPG professionals in R&D, procurement, quality, and regulatory departments work with suppliers globally to safely bring new products to market faster.
Thousands of supplier locations are available for manufacturers and brand owners to source and qualify new vendors, procure ingredients, build and reformulate recipes, negotiate ingredient specifications, and automatically collect supporting documentation from a growing library.
TraceGains recently earned a patent for its PostOnce® technology. The software allows suppliers to share information and documentation with all customers with a single action on TraceGains Network, eliminating the need to respond to each customer individually and automating the customer service process. Find out more about this exciting news by checking out our latest press release here.