Food supply chains are affected by supply chain trends such as globalization, consolidation, and commoditization. Supply chain managers have eagerly sought to apply textbook knowledge to these supply chains. Consequently, companies have concentrated on core competencies like processing or marketing to meet customer requirements. However, the horsemeat scandal is just another example to reveal that food supply chains got out of control. The more complex supply chain systems become, the less controllable they seem to be. Based on a series of incidents in food supply chains, Roth and her co-authors (2008) have developed a conceptual framework for quality management in food supply chains. The framework contains six Ts, which are identified as critical factors associated with food (or more generally: product) quality: (1) traceability, (2) transparency, (3) testability, (4) time, (5) trust, and (6) training. I believe that this framework can help improving food supply chains, but customers should also stop focusing solely on food price rather than food quality.
Roth, A., Tsay, A., Pullman, M., & Gray, J. (2008). Unraveling the food supply chain: Strategic insights from China and the 2007 recalls The Journal of Supply Chain Management, 44 (1), 22-39 DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-493X.2008.00043.x
Previous studies about SCM in China have highlighted that uncertainty in the supply chain can be reduced by process flexibility, information sharing, and process integration. However, a new study by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, titled The end of the China cycle?, warns that “the value proposition for many firms in China is disappearing as the competitive cost advantage is beginning to erode relative to other countries” and that “government policy and social issues are further compounding the complexity of doing business in China”. The authors argue that some industries in China have already passed the tipping point. As China is in transition towards high-value add manufacturing, firms need to rethink the strategy of their manufacturing footprints. Supply chain managers will continue to face volatility and uncertainty, also in China, but the new study demonstrates that managers can seize the opportunity right now. However, the Chinese window is closing quickly.
China has become a major player in the world economy and is one of the most attractive markets for foreign market entry. However, only a few studies have examined the success or failure of these entries. The study Operating Successfully in China by the TU Berlin in cooperation with WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management highlights two strategies to cope with a dynamic and complex market environment: Process flexibility of companies as well as the level of collaboration with supply chain partners. The results are based on the responses of 248 decision-makers of German manufacturing facilities located in China. On the one side, it is recommended that companies should strengthen process flexibility in order to respond to high dynamics and local-specific requirements. On the other side, the findings imply that a higher level of information sharing and process integration with suppliers, customers, and logistics service providers reduces uncertainty and leads to better performance results.