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NEW YORK -- Despite all the advances the industry has made in supply chain automation, people are still the chief source of problems in the produce supply chain, according to a new industry survey released this month by Progressive Grocer.
Part of Progressive Grocer's Executive Insight series, "The Produce Supply Chain Challenge" examines the problems faced by produce suppliers, transportation companies, and retailers in moving produce from the farm to the retailers' shelves. PG surveyed representative from all three segments of the business. The research revealed that the weakest link in the chain appears to be communications and mutual understanding of each of the segment's challenges. Each of the parties involved in the chain has a different perception of why problems exist, who contributes to the problems, and how much they cost the various parties.
Fortunately, one of the major problems is also a potential solution: while the majority of those polled cited poor communication as a source of produce supply chain problems, they also cited effective communication as a solution to at least some of the challenges.
Here are highlights from responses to the survey:
-- Thirty-one percent of retailers polled say appointments for unloading trucks are not being adhered to.
-- Thirty percent of transportation companies said that wait times to unload at receiver docks are often a problem.
-- Forty-two percent of suppliers claimed that the payment of lumper fees is a costly problem.
Respondents also talked about possible solutions to the produce supply chain problems they identified. Among the ideas:
-- Approximately 33 percent of retailers cited improved communications between truckers and retailers as the best way to ensure that appointments are met.
-- Thirty-one percent of transportation companies suggested that setting realistic schedules and adhering to them will help to reduce wait times at receiver docks
-- Almost one-quarter of suppliers said they want prior agreement with retailers on lumper fees; the same percentage said the fees should be eliminated completely
To see the full report, click on the link below: http://www.progressivegrocer.com/progressivegrocer/images/pdf/CH_Robinson_PG_PDF.pdf