Today’s food and beverage producers must deliver to exact requirements and provide safe products of the highest quality. In an increasingly global and connected world, the emergence of new business models, such as Amazon Food and the offer of direct deliveries to consumers, is creating ever more complex supply chains for manufacturers. The number of steps between the raw ingredients and the consumer are increasing, creating new and more numerous challenges inside the production process for food and beverage manufacturers.
At Tetra Pak we’re committed to constantly innovating and developing new services and technologies to support our customers with increasing supply chain complexities. This includes systems to help track products as they enter the factory environment, when they leave the factory, and when they enter the retail distribution chain.
The digitalisation of management processes and services, alongside basic management processes, is playing an important role in helping food and beverage manufacturers to manage these complexities. While the ultimate solution, a silver bullet, doesn’t yet exist (if such a thing is realistically achievable), at Tetra Pak we remain committed to improving the sophistication of our offerings to ensure that our customers are able to manage the supply chain effectively and mitigate against food safety risks.
The first step to keeping food safe starts before the raw ingredients enter the processing facility. The safety of raw material is so important because it impacts the end quality of the product. Pasteurisation and heat treatment can only improve the product so much, and therefore the higher quality the raw ingredients, the better the final product.
Basic management processes must be in place at this stage of the supply chain, ensuring the good management of the supplier base. Our expert consultants work closely with customers to implement supplier framework audits that allow customers to benchmark their suppliers’ performance. Through this supplier framework we’re able to advise our customers to collaborate transparently with their suppliers, encouraging open sharing of information and traceability in the supply chain.
Production Process and Entering the Retail Distribution Chain
Increased sophistication of tools in the industry is also enabling high-level traceability at the packaging stage. This means that food and beverage manufacturers are tracking and tracing products right the way through to the consumer. The Tetra Pak PlantMaster, for example, is a tool that enables food and beverage manufacturers to programme their entire plant through a single data management system, and improve product traceability internally.
Specifically designed for the food and beverage industry, the software provides a user-friendly interface through which our customers can control their entire operations – from raw material reception to finished packaged and palletised products. Based on Tetra Pak’s extensive food production knowledge, the Tetra Pak PlantMaster streamlines data collection, facilitates accurate data analysis to ensure the safety standard are maintained throughout the production process.
Using unique package identification technology, such as a 2D barcode on packages, the Tetra Pak PlantMaster is able to process this information and track products throughout the supply chain. For example, if a manufacturer were to experience a food safety issue in a certain production batch, the Tetra Pak PlantMaster would be able to track all products in that batch and support making a recall. In addition to improving functions on a reactive basis, the Tetra Pak PlantMaster also has a reporting function, designed to provide data to help prevent issues from happening again in the future, and mitigating against food safety risks.
As new business models continue to emerge and more parties become involved in the production process, the complexity of the supply chain will only increase. Digital strategies alongside basic management processes have an increasingly important role to play in helping food and beverage manufacturers manage these complexities to ensure that their food is safe for the end consumer.
This post was written and contributed by:
Food Safety & Quality Services Business Manager