16 November 2006 | Helen Gilbert
Gaps in supply chain management are causing many food and beverage companies to miss out on improved profit and better customer service, according to new research. The Lawson Global Food and Beverage Supply Chain Management Survey,
published by Lawson Software this month, revealed companies routinely have excess stock on some lines but sell out on others because they are largely using spreadsheets or paper-based methods for purchasing planning, sales and production.
This can cause delays and increase the chance of data errors, leading to the risk of flawed forecasts.
Alun Baker, north-west Europe vice-president for Lawson Software, described accurate supply chain information as "absolutely key", not only for planning but also for operational efficiency.
The benefits of an integrated IT system mean the information will always be up to date and different users can access it quickly. "It's still a vastly untapped area of supply chain management," he said.
The survey found one in four companies in Asia still uses paper for forecasting and planning, compared with one in 100 in Europe. The study compared the working practices of 200 leading F&B suppliers.