Connected Supply Chains: The Future of Food Safety

Introduction to the Wednesday General Session at SQF Unites: Elevating Supplier Performance to Meet Evolving Standards



New Era, New Expectations

In the past one hundred and fifty years, the food industry has seen vast changes and improvements to both efficiency and safety. From the era of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle until now, incredible strides have been made to protect workers, consumers, and product alike – but what does the future hold in store for the industry?

FSMA 204 offers a significant hint. A shift to digital record-keeping will leverage new tools to satisfy increasingly complex requirements from certifications, regulators, and consumers.

Key among the requirements laid out by the infamous final rule is the weight placed upon supplier management. Annual certificate-gathering will not suffice. We’re witnessing the dawn of the connected supply chain era – a paradigm shift in food safety management practices.

Introducing the Connected Supply Chain

Leading SQF sites no longer view their suppliers as third-party hangers-on to their own operations. Rather, they now view suppliers as integral extensions of their own operations, food safety cultures, and risk management strategies. Keeping continuous monitoring, collaboration, and improvement at the forefront, leading SQF sites are embracing the idea of daily – rather than quarterly or annual – oversight of their supplier networks. This approach has been dubbed the “Connected Supply Chain.”

This important shift is empowered by a number of smart food safety systems, including Provision. Multi-location operations and grower-packer networks are sharing their live food safety documentation in the cloud. As a result, these connected supply chains can enjoy:

  • icn-check-circle-green Earlier Detection
    Smart rules can instantly escalate critical deviations from any site in a network, enabling quicker CAPA and more thorough team resolution
  • icn-check-circle-green SOP Compliance 
    Monitor task alerts to ensure every site is following procedures on time – not just pencil whipping in the days before an audit
  • icn-check-circle-green Management Efficiency
    Ensure each site is audit-ready with simple automations for verification, versioning, and internal audit reports 
  • icn-check-circle-green Data-Driven Insights
    Replace bulky binders with dynamic reports that benchmark performance - and risk - across a connected supply chain
Green Quote right Icon

“I’ve got managers and teams reporting to me in every timezone. I’m always traveling, so having real-time visibility in my facilities is great. I can see if we need a corrective action and root cause analysis, or if there was a log that had a problem.” 

- Kyle Farmer • Senior FSQA Manager, Local Bounti


Driving Continuous Improvement

The significance of the connected supply chain lies in its ability to ensure the highest standards of food safety throughout all the stops in a produce network – be it a grower, packer, or shipper. With daily compliance data, operations can find trends to facilitate new strategies for efficiency, resilience, and safety in the supply chain.

The connected supply chain is not simply a fad, but a strategic imperative. By embracing the principles that drive today’s successful modern food safety strategies – connectivity, collaboration, and continuous improvement – food safety leaders will continue to forge ahead, ensuring reliable results for products and consumers alike.


Amy Wayne

Amy Wayne

Provision Analytics

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