Supply chain worries for UK food and beverage firms

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UK food and beverage companies are highly concerned about their supply chain management issues, with  63 per cent of those polled in a new survery listing customer service and support as the biggest single challenge to their business in the coming year.

The study - by IBM and JD Edwards - surveyed the opinions of 400 senior supply chain, logistics and procurement managers to determine the level at which they are collaborating with their own suppliers and customers to improve business processes.

The majority of respondents agree that improving customer service and support is a major priority for their business with 63 per cent saying that this issue would be critically important to them in the coming year. Some 52 per cent made gaining better control over their supply chain a top priority while 48 per cent wanted to improve demand planning capability. Meanwhile 46 per cent still want to see further reduction in costs.

While this might be seen as a good chance for vendors to step in and sell solutions, in fact the bad news for the SCM supplier community is that most customers think their supply chain is too complex, with 41 per cent saying that a medium to long term priority is to cut the number of vendors they use. Meanwhile an overpowering 97 per cent wants to see rerspondents becoming more responsive.

 
"Suppliers need to make significant changes to the way they do business if they are to remain competitive," said Ed Stubbs, solutions consultant, J.D. Edwards.  "Technology has long ceased to be the most significant obstacle to collaboration but in a shrinking market few can continue to ignore the reality of collaborative supply chain management."

Respondents included Supply Chain Directors, Operations Directors and Heads of Logistics for many of the UK and Ireland's leading food and beverage manufacturers.

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