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In a recently published industry consultation report, the need for the development and implementation of the appropriate systems to assure supply chain integrity and therefore supply chain resilience, throughout manufacturing, distribution and sale was listed amongst the key industry priorities. Such systems would involve analytical, horizon scanning and intelligence gathering tools able to identify, assess and mitigate risks.

Supply chain resilience is defined as the ability of a global supply chain to reorganise and achieve continuous delivery of its core functions despite the impact of external and/or internal pressures. Factors that can have a significant impact on supply chain resilience include energy price increases, environmental changes and major pandemics, amongst others. According to the results of a comprehensive, global industry supply chain management survey conducted by SGS, product tampering and fraud was identified as the number one threat to supply chain resilience followed by supplier financial stability, political and social unrest as well as sustainability. Identifying risks and prioritising those according to potential impact is a key approach towards improving supply chain resilience. The results of our survey have so far indicated that conducting risk audits of key suppliers as well as creating a supplier risk register are industry’s top current resilience improvement practices.

It is a fact that no process can guarantee the safety and integrity of a supply chain as complicated as the food supply chain, however the development of better traceability systems throughout the supply chain as well as attempts to simplify, harmonise and standardise industry specifications, standards and auditing approaches are significant steps towards that direction. Our industry survey has also confirmed that effective communication and collaboration across the supply chain, end to end supply chain visibility, traceability and transparency as well as knowledge of current and emerging risks are commonly considered to be the three top prerequisites to effective supply chain risk management and “must have” requirements for the development of a resilience framework.

Take the opportunity to hear first-hand the complete set of findings, key highlights and conclusions of the SGS survey, completed by industry representing the entire food supply chain from around 50 countries, by joining the SGS Special session “How well do you know your supply chain” on March 5th at 8:15-9:15 AM. We will discuss the concept of risk and vulnerability in the supply chain and the challenges of implementing mitigation strategies. Issues around managing traceability and transparency in the supply chain will also form key parts of our discussion.

Dr Evangelia Komitopoulou, Global Technical Manager for Food, SGS United Kingdom, is an expert food microbiologist. With a career that spans food technical consultancy, trouble-shooting and contract applied research and development, Evangelia is also the author and editor of many technical reports and articles.

About SGS
SGS is a leading independent third-party service provider offering efficient solutions to help safeguard quality, safety and sustainability throughout
all stages of the global food supply chain. SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company and recognised as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 80,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,650 offices and laboratories around the world.