Professionals in the supply chain discipline play a vital role in foodservice distribution. Without people who coordinate purchasing, receiving, order fulfillment, and delivery — goods could not be moved efficiently and safely from the manufacturer or grower to the operator customer purchasing products for their restaurant or other foodservice outlet. 

In a nutshell, supply chain management professionals ensure that the right products are in the right place at the right time and at the right price. In this fast-paced environment, supply chain management professionals are negotiating and making decisions on inventory to ensure that a distributor has a product available and gets it to the customer on time. As you can imagine, this is a highly dynamic area that requires critical thinking and analytical acumen.  The right supply chain strategies can drive a company’s competitive edge.

Positions in Supply Chain

Procurement (including buying, replenishment, and negotiation)

  • Establish long-term contracts with suppliers; negotiate price and quantity terms to ensure adequate supply of products at a reasonable price.
  • Maintain established product levels for inventory.
  • Determine new products to sell to customers based off of market trends.

Transportation Management (including inbound and outbound product)

  • Responsible for collecting all relevant data and information on products coming in and products being shipped from the facility to customers.
  • Ensures all deliveries are made in a safe, efficient, and timely manner.
  • Trains drivers on safe working practices.

Warehouse Operations Management

  • Directs and manages all operations in the warehouse.
  • Ensures all policies and procedures are being followed within warehouse operations.
  • Controls warehouse functions to ensure the accurate and timely flow of product through the warehouse.

Inventory Management (including inbound and outbound product)

  • Manages all assigned staff to ensure accurate inventories are maintained at all times.
  • Controls all merchandise to ensure product is fresh while also implementing systems to minimize product damage and theft.
  • Replenishes inventory and provides analysis as needed to ensure products are always available to customers.

Process Management

  • Defines optimal process strategies to maximize output and profits.
  • Utilizes Six Sigma and Lean methodologies to manage others and ensures proper methods are being used by all.
  • Shares best practices to others within companies.

Pricing Analytics

  • Manages pricing databases accurately to increase company profits.
  • Provides ongoing support for operating company personnel on all aspects of pricing implementation and maintenance.
  • Analyzes market trends to ensure pricing results in maximum company profits.

Demand Planning and Forecasting of Customer Needs

  • Analyzes historical trends in customer purchasing to predict their needs in advance.
  • Communicates findings with Buyers and Inventory Control Managers to ensure sufficient supply of products.
  • Conducts market needs surveys to determine new products to buy.

Food safety

  • Ensures all USDA standards and regulations are being met in regards to the product and production process.
  • Directs assigned staff to perform frequent and thorough cleaning and sanitization of all processing machines and work areas.
  • Implements and enforces quality control procedures to ensure consumer safety.

Attributes of Supply Chain Management Positions

Analytical with strong attention to detail
Critical Thinker
Enjoy Negotiation
Decision Maker
Self-Directed
Results Oriented
Good Communicator
Relationship Builder
Problem Solver with the ability to implement process improvement

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