The meat industry and its supply chain is long and complex. As consumers, we don’t really think about where our meat comes from, nor what it takes for it to end up in aisles 3 and 4 at our local supermarket or at the counter of our favourite butcher. How often do we meander through the supermarket aisles, wrestling with a shopping trolley that has the same manoeuvrability of an inert cow, aiming to pick out our favourite cuts for dinner… only to find that the cuts we want have run out?
It’s easy to blame our disappointment on the store or the quick-thinking guy who just cut in front of us (and grabbed the good trolley too) and made a bee line for the choice T-bones and chicken wings. But this begs the question: How do supermarkets and meat processors manage their supply, meet the demands put upon them and balance their inventories?
The industry as a whole is on the up and up. Meat consumption is growing globally, and producers are working hard to meet increased consumer demand while maintaining sustainable and responsible practices in both livestock management and supply chain optimisation. According to the recent IBIS World report, the meat processing industry in Australia alone has grown by 9% over the past 5 years, with the export market is forecast to grow at an annualised 10.4% over five years!
So, how do meat processors and retailers know when there is a high demand for specific products – such as beef ribeyes (a perpetual favourite!) or lamb chops (Australia Day!) – and have a sales forecast that meets SLAs and stock targets? How do processing plants accurately decide the amount needed, and how to do they then make the right call to get the optimal number of meat cuts needed to tackle the volatility in demand? In the meat industry, every decision affects processes further along the chain. For example, in order to have back ribs, the prime rib is removed from its bones. However, if the prime rib were to be cut differently, back ribs won’t be available from that cut.
For meat producers, disassembly and processing may take place at different sites and perhaps even with different companies or suppliers. Any changes to one will surely affect another. In most cases, there is often a disconnect and a lack of collaboration which holds producers and processors back from fulfilling their production potential or sales orders and maximizing their profitability.
Optimal production planning for meat starts with the centralisation of data which allows suppliers as well as processors to maximise the efficiency of processing operations. Demand volatility is dictated by retailers, their weekly promotions and of course, the mercurial whim of the all-powerful customer. Planning with a single system allows all inputs – such as forecasts for raw materials, slaughter demand, storage and shelf life limitations – to be included, giving planners a complete picture of how these factors interact with one another. Using the information from disassembly and processing decisions to determine the exact product mix needed for delivery will reduce shortages or – even worse – wastage.
Quintiq’s planning software offers end-to-end visibility in real time, giving accurate information to balance supply and demand in the disassembly process. The scheduling solution can be integrated seamlessly with your company’s existing systems architecture, providing planners with an accurate view of customer demand. The result? Increased throughput and the ability to maintain an advantage with lean margins in a competitive business environment.
Want to learn more about the biggest supply chain challenges in the meat processing industry? Join us on September 27 as we dissect the intricacies of the industry and explore how to overcome some of its biggest challenges. Click here to sign up for the webinar.
This post was previously published on LinkedIn.