Local bakers who are hoping to grow their brand into a regional business face logistic challenges. Developing efficient supply chains that meet governmental regulations and deliver baked goods to market is not easy. If you’re looking to take your small bakery to the next step, outsourcing your supply chain management could help your company grow and let you focus on baking. Here are four considerations for selecting the right supply chain optimization service for your bakery.
Can the Service Handle Multi-Warehouse Management?
Right now, you might only have one bakery and warehouse, but your company is growing. You may need another warehouse, which adds complexities to your supply chain, in the future.
Transitioning from a single bakery and warehouse to a multi-site supply chain will be easier if the company you’re using can make the switch for you. If the company you select can only handle a single warehouse, you may need to find a new supply chain management service one day. It is better to select a company now that will be able to meet your growing company’s needs in the future.
Does Your System Support Expiration Dates or Other Traceability Codes?
Lot numbers are used to trace products throughout a supply chain. They help identify inefficiencies in the system and address issues that arise. While eliminating inefficient redundancies will help any supply chain, the latter benefit, addressing issues that arise, is especially important for bakeries.
Baked goods, since they’re foods, need to be tracked throughout the entire supply chain, from the raw-material supplier through baking and to the points of sale. Should a quality-control issue or health concern arise at any stage in the supply chain, your bakery will need to recall all affected products. Traceability codes help identify and recall the affected products.
The American Institute of Baking (AIB) recommends using a traceability code to track products throughout the supply chain. A traceability code may be a product’s:
- expiration date
- lot number
- Julian date
- production date
- individual serial number
Local food regulations may require you to stamp an expiration date on each product, which can double as its traceability code. If this is the case, specifically ask whether the supply chain service supports lot codes. If you do not specifically need an expiration date, then any of the above traceability codes will work.
Will Your System Track Raw Materials and Finished Baked Goods?
Bakeries have more complex supply chains than wholesale distributors. Whereas a wholesaler simply needs to know what’s coming into their warehouses and leaving them, bakeries need to monitor materials within warehouses. Bakeries require a supply chain management system that can track when raw materials, such as flour, sugar and eggs, are turned into finished baked goods.
Recording the change from raw materials to finished product is an advanced, but necessary, feature in supply chain management systems. The service you select should be able to update both raw material and finished product inventory levels automatically when a batch of baked goods is prepared.
Does Your System Integrate with Other Software?
If you’re pleased with the software applications your bakery is already using, then look for a supply chain system that will integrate with those programs. Integrated software will keep all your business’ operations running smoothly by automating communication between departments.
If your bakery is ready to grow, a supply chain management service can handle the logistics of more complicated distribution channels. Look for a system that has all these features, and then get back to doing what you do best — baking. Leave your supply chain up to the professional managers you hire. They’ll make sure everything is delivered and tracked as efficiently as possible.