Roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption gets lost or wasted every year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Food demand will rise as the world population grows from 7.4 billion to 9 billion by 2050. 90% of the world’s data was created over a period of two years as reported by Forbes.
When food is wasted, there is collateral damage. When land is not used to produce food, fertilizers, compost, seeds, water and labor is wasted. Manufacturing production lines, packaging, and transport and inventory space is wasted. For any food and beverage company, there is an obvious operational and environmental cost for food waste.
As the world population increases, the demand will likely outgrow the yield of food production. How will your organization secure its supply chain? How can you maximize your throughput?
The solution is simultaneously simple and complex: using digitized data to make your supply chain more intelligent and zero waste ready.
A few years ago, an idea like embracing a zero-waste business model was something for environmentalists and small organic-food producers to ponder. Today, the idea is gaining traction for larger organizations as the triple bottom line approach is going mainstream.
The zero-waste philosophy encourages companies to design products and services that optimize resource usage and make it possible to give resources a second life through repurposing. In the case of food systems, our goal is to reduce food waste, as well as to encourage composting and package recycling.
We are in a great era when many technology enablers are available: cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), social media, blockchain, etc. OPTEL foresees its Intelligent Supply Chain™ as a tangible solution to embrace a zero-waste way of doing business. The supply chain is the backbone of companies and the medium through which products are forecasted, stored, distributed and sold. Real-time demand forecasting, real-time product tracking and real-time consumer patterns are key to establishing visibility on operations and the ability to apply corrective measures. With this digital information, AI is the natural next step to model current data trends, optimize resources and reduce waste.
Steps to work towards the zero-waste Intelligent Supply Chain:
- Digitize your supply chain. This is easier said than done. Manual processes should be digitized.
- Gather the data from the raw material to the end consumer via tracking products, IoT, software.
- Connect the data dots and have visibility on what is going on.
- Start optimizing with AI algorithms and reduce your bullwhip effects and waste.
Traceability solutions, such as those developed by OPTEL, are readily accessible today and can be the secret weapon for companies around the world to integrate global traceability into existing supply chains and improve their sustainability.