If you can’t map it, you can’t manage it
Rick Sanderson Chief Commercial Officer at Authenticate IS and Helen Fitzgerald Client Services Manager discuss some of the changes in traceability whilst they have been working in agri supply chains
Rick Sanderson, Chief Commercial Officer, Authenticate IS
Having worked in procurement and supply chain roles for the last 20 years, I understand the issues facing retailers’ agri teams. Are we dealing with the right producers; are they credible and sustainable; can we get the data we need from them; and how can we manage them? I often wish that Authenticate IS had been around when I was facing these issues – the platform has been designed specifically for the food industry with the sole aim of giving food companies the insight they need into their entire supply chain. Let me explain how Authenticate IS can help you.
Having held various roles all through the agri chain, I understand only too well the importance of KPIs to enable benchmarking of every aspect from production rates to herd health. For example, the recent concern about free range dairy cows led to clients wanting to know very detailed information about the herds such as the average days grazed. Whether or not they agreed with the issues being raised, they still needed to understand where their business sat within the debate and to be able to demonstrate that they could swiftly access this information. Authenticate IS enables you to immediately answer questions, providing a director level response with complete confidence in the information you have.
While the UK currently produces less than 60% of the food it consumes, it is under growing pressure to increase efficiency with precision production, particularly in the shadow of Brexit. This makes it more important than ever for retailers’ agri teams to be confident that they are buying from suppliers who are producing food responsibly. The starting point is obviously to find the right producers – the most credible, progressive, well-invested and compliant. The Authenticate IS platform, together with our knowledgeable client services team, can help you to identify the best suppliers for you and then support you in the onboarding and monitoring of these suppliers going forward.
What’s more, in this age of social media, food retailers must be in a position to react immediately to whatever scare or scandal hits the internet. Whether you need information about the amount of time pigs are being kept indoors, GM within your supply chain or country of origin, our system puts the information at your fingertips. Authenticate IS is your first line of defence. For example, in the last year, we’ve had bird flu outbreaks as well as pig MRSA hit the headlines and during these issues we worked closely with our clients to help them very quickly identify the risk within their supply chains and take appropriate measures. By knowing where the potential risk is, you can alert your customers about the possible impact.
Our platform gives you the ability to have all producers, with profiles and compliance information, stored in one place. You can audit and assess suppliers, manage and analyse continuous performance, monitor the key costs of production and report on areas of concern. With live links to many of the leading agri certification bodies, we can provide the ‘gate to plate’ compliance assurance you need. Remember, if you can’t map it, you can’t manage it!
Helen Fitzgerald, Client Services Manager, Authenticate IS
Given the complexity of today’s global agri-chains, food companies need the assurance that they are only working with high quality, compliant suppliers, at every level in the chain. At Authenticate IS, we are experts in providing the real time information you need – using the latest technology, we have the relevant data and KPIs at our fingertips. Many of the UK’s leading retailers are turning to us to give them peace of mind that quality data is only a click or a phone call away. By having detailed information about all of their suppliers stored in a single place, they are prepared and able to swiftly defend their business in the face of whatever the latest concern to hit the sector.
Most of our clients are not data experts, but with suppliers around the world, there’s no avoiding the need for them to have access to detailed information, often from indirect suppliers in other countries. We provide the solution – our business is helping clients to manage and make sense of supplier data and KPIs. For example, with Brexit looming one of our key clients has recently announced that, going forward, it will only source from the UK. We are able to provide the necessary information about the provenance of its products as well as giving the retailer the assurance that British suppliers can provide the quality and quantity of products it needs.
Another company we work with, a leading UK retailer with a chain of local convenience stores which has a reputation for ethical trading, relies on our platform to provide vital support in ensuring the ongoing compliance of its suppliers. They ring us on a daily basis and, as we have a dedicated client services team with the technical expertise to swiftly interrogate the data, as well as understanding their supply chain inside out, we can very quickly answer any questions they may have.
We’re finding that our biggest advocates are brands which embrace digital throughout their business. Those which are already putting technology at the forefront of what they do, are also turning to Authenticate IS as a cutting edge way of managing their agri-chains as they can immediately see that only a digital approach can cost effectively provide the real time data they need. They also appreciate our ability to quickly react to changes in the sector by developing different features within the platform. My team sits with agri teams daily meaning that we really understand what they need and we are then able to work with our technical gurus to develop solutions so providing clients with a truly agile approach.