The Easter Supply Chain – Optimisation and Collaboration

Did you over-indulge at the weekend? Did all the kids’ Easter eggs make it to the Sunday morning Easter Egg Hunt? Whether your Easter delicacy of choice is the humble egg, sweets like jelly beans and marshmallows, or something more like a Spanish torrija, you may not realise the complicated supply chain that is required to help the Easter Bunny complete his deliveries.

In the UK, Easter sales of chocolate make up 10% of the figures for the entire year. According to the National Confectioners’ Association in the USA, around 70% of the Easter sweets purchased are chocolate, which works out to a whopping $2.1 billion spend.

And it’s not just the confectionary market that will see an increase in sales over the Easter period. According to a survey by Evans Distribution Systems, $2.9 billion will be spent on clothing and fashion, while a combined $2.7 billion will be spent on flowers, greetings cards and decorations.

Delivering all this chocolate, sweets and other items to stores requires a mammoth effort from logistics organisations around the world. Shipping efficiency, customer location, order quantities and supply chain management all have to be reviewed in order to keep up with the demand.

In the USA, Hersheys opted to optimise their supply chain around the elements of customer geographical location and grouping stock-keeping units with product groups. It is estimated that by doing this, and using off-the-shelf software, the organisation has saved itself in excess of $15 million per year.

Just Born, a confectionary manufacturer who are responsible for America’s favourite non-chocolate treat, the Peep, changed their supply chain strategy in order to cope with the huge demand for their products at Easter.

The organisation now uses distribution centres and 3PL to break bulk orders for more efficient delivery to retailers. Just Born also shares these centres with other organisations, with this collaboration further reducing the costs associated with deliveries.

An increasing use of technology for inventory management and planning is making life easier for organisations too. Barcodes can be used to manage inventories more efficiently, while also allowing for real-time tracking of stock at both distribution centres and retail outlets.

Further advancements in technologies such as ERP and MRP systems will allow organisations to further increase efficiencies, while increased collaboration will benefit not only the whole industry, but also the consumer.

So just remember, the next time you crack open that chocolate egg, there’s more than a simple process required to get it from manufacturer to shelf (and that’s before the Easter Bunny gets involved!).

If you have any ideas about the technologies being used in procurement and supply chain, or any advancements that could make a difference in the profession, let us know and we’ll add it to the discussion at the Big Ideas Summit. Or why not tell us by joining our Procurious group, or Tweeting your Big Idea using #BigIdeas2015.

Read on for the big procurement and supply chain headlines making the news this week.

Jamaican Government to spend $51m on eProcurement

  • The money will be spent on its electronic procurement system to strengthen its public procurement for purchasing and tendering agencies and suppliers.
  • The purchase will enable all of these activities to be automated and integrated in a single portal.
  • Just over $31 million will go towards the hosting server and electronic procurement system, scheduled to be in place by July.
  • Other amounts include $1.47 million to be set aside for training, $575,000 for a final project evaluation and a project audit costing of just over $1 million.

Read more at Supply Management

Advanced announces place on NHS SBS procurement framework

  • Healthcare software provider, Advanced Health & Care, has been named as an approved supplier on the NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) Healthcare Clinical Information Systems framework.
  • Advanced is one of 26 suppliers to have been chosen for the framework
  • The new framework, which has been divided into six lots, is valued at up to £1.25 billion.
  • It will operate for four years with a potential two-year extension and is free for any NHS organisation to access.
  • The aim is to offer providers a more cost effective means of procurement when tendering for healthcare systems.

Read more at Shared Services Link

Businessfriend – a new way for execs to do business

  • Businessfriend was one of the new technologies that had been launched at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas
  • The app allows multiple networks and platforms to be pulled together into one place, decreasing the time taken to manage all of them
  • It has already been described as “Facebook meets LinkedIn, with a little of Office365 sprinkled in there…”
  • The programme boasts up to 2 gigabytes of free cloud storage, video chat, instant messaging, as well as adaptability to contract management systems that can be linked up into the functionality

Read on at Supply Chain Digital

Companies focusing on supply chain innovations in food and beverage industry

  • Organisations are looking to their supply chains in order to find success in food and beverage
  • Mondelez, Diageo and Nestle are just some of the big names looking at their practices to find new innovations
  • These include reduction of packaging, commitment to sustainability and reducing waste
  • It is hoped that more will follow suit when the savings from these activities become clear

Find out more at fooddive.com