Supply chain management practices were not as stringent as they presently are. Public awareness has resulted in advocacy for quality through consumer advocacy groups. This was not so in the past. This implies that consumers are more aware of the need for their foods to meet certain expected qualities than it was in the past. The implication here is that the food supply chain management process must employ internationally accepted standards to govern these chains to ascertain quality.
However, the complexity of this issue is because of the enormous chain involved and the need to enforce adherence to these standards at every phase of the chain. “Presently, all those involved in the food supply chain from suppliers to manufacturers and distributors to wholesalers as well as retailers are focusing on modern inspection procedures to uphold quality in the food supply chain.” This, however, is not without increased food prices since the costs for implementation of such systems remain high.
However, a scholarly view exposes the futility of this approach instead of advocating for the introduction of quality inspection within the overall process. Suggested best practices to manage an end-to-end supply process on a global scale propose the implementation of the six Ts approach. These processes can be used to establish and maintain quality up to a certain acceptable level within the food supply chain. Transparency describes the process of openness in providing information on a food product. This is through informal as well as formal agreements between the various parties involved.
Testability relates to testing a food product feature to ascertain that it is within the acceptable levels stipulated within certain universally accepted standards. In this case, mechanisms benchmarked to high-quality standards can be used in determining the conformity of such features and, thus a proof of the product quality. Time relates to the period within which a food product is in transit, the time-lapse before an identified contaminated food product is recalled from all consumer outlets as well as the time the disruption is rectified and normal supply is resumed.
Traceability relates to transparency, where it is expected that a food product has openness as far as its source or the source of its ingredients is concerned. This implies that a consumer can trace the product to its source with minimal effort. Training relates to all the aspects that go into helping the various food supply chain players understand the socio-political, technical, and cultural aspects of a food supply chain capable of upholding the desired quality. It can therefore, be clearly seen that the food supply chain has undergone tremendous advancement, unlike in the past, because it operates on a global scale, unlike in the past when it was localized and rarely international. Today, unlike in the past, trends have emerged in modern food supply chains.
These have been because of the forces of commoditization, globalization, and consolidation. Globalization has caused formerly traditional regional food supply chains to expand their bracket to cover global participation through importations and exportations at various supply chain levels. Consolidation in the food supply chain has resulted from dismal margins gained from food supply links as well as businesses aimed at reducing costs while maximizing profits. This consolidation has resulted in commoditization.