Consumer Brands Launches Disrupted Supply Chain Task Force

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The Consumer Brands Association has launched a new task force aimed at increasing visibility and alleviating pressures on the supply chain, the organization announced on June 2.

The Supply Chain Health and Performance Working Group will focus on the supply chain pressures felt in the consumer packaged goods industry. It is made up of 15 member companies of the association as well as the transport management company FourKites.

“It’s all about visibility is the answer to many pinch points in the supply chain,” Tom Madrecki, ABC’s vice president of supply chain and logistics, told Transport Topics. “The more knowledge you have about what’s going on along the supply chain, the better able you are to manage your costs, the better able you are to predict in advance where you are going to have a problem and to have that real more improved – temporal visibility on everything.

The ABC explained in the announcement that the task force is the first step towards building a modern supply chain ecosystem that is resilient and can support the future of the consumer packaged goods industry. The goal of the working group is to avoid costly downtime and delays caused by disruption by using data sharing and bringing new visibility to supply chain routes.

“We’ve heard from a lot of members, and they look at 30 dashboards where they have like this report from that division of their company, and then this other report, and they consolidate things internally,” Madrecki said. “And so one of the aspects of that, too, is just really putting all of this information together in one place so that businesses have the ability to make smarter decisions.”

FourKites will play a central role in helping the association achieve these ambitions. The working group will leverage its data and machine learning capabilities to create an “air traffic control” system for supply chains. This setup will be designed to give members a real-time view to identify bottlenecks and shared inefficiencies across the supply chain.


“The demand shock resulting from the global reopening is straining global supply chains,” Priya Rajagopalan, product manager at FourKites, said in a statement. “We are proud to work with Consumer Brands on an innovative platform that enables data sharing and transparency between organizations to mitigate critical points and maximize efficiency. “

The ABC found that the coronavirus exposed vulnerabilities in the supply chain, but also created opportunities for collaboration. The Contactless Delivery Working Group was started by the association to alleviate health and efficiency concerns through electronic data transmission. This new working group draws those lessons but instead focuses on better access to the information needed to make smarter decisions in the supply chain.

“At the end of the day, a screen can only hold a certain amount of information, but it’s about having the right information,” Madrecki said. “The emphasis is on getting closer and closer to real-time information about what is happening along the supply chain. And then how that connects to your systems and being able to handle everything from a transportation point of view is a really big part of that. “

Madrecki noted that the companies involved in the task force are fierce competitors in the market. One of the big challenges is therefore to find a balance when it comes to sharing information. On the one hand, information is the backbone of much of what they do. But at the same time, being collaborative can help them better leverage this information so that they have greater visibility into capacity and how to better manage transportation costs.

Ultimately, a screen can only hold a certain amount of information, but it’s about having the right information.

Tom Madrecki, ABC’s Vice President of Supply Chain and Logistics

“The Consumer Brands Association is keen to think about how to address issues like the truck driver shortage or help shippers manage their transportation costs in the future,” Madrecki said. “So I think in the long run one of the things you might find is that there are opportunities to reflect on the existing tools that already exist.

“We have an [electronic logging device] mandate. There is already a lot of information about where the drivers are at any given time from a GPS point of view and other things. So is there any potential to leverage some of these things to make the market work better. “

The task force already includes member companies Land O’Lakes, Accenture North America and The Coca-Cola Co, all of whom understand the importance of information sharing.

“Every minute of reduced downtime in the transportation ecosystem increases capacity,

which stabilizes costs, ”said Rob Haddock, director of planning and logistics for the Coca-Cola group, in a statement. “The visibility of bottlenecks drives forward shipper / recipient choice initiatives and supports the analysis of infrastructure investment targets. As the supply of drivers continues to decline, we must focus on keeping trucks flowing through visibility and collaboration.

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