BEMA Convention 2021: State Of The Supply Chain

Supply Chain

The supply chain remains in great flux, making the importance of transparency between bakers and suppliers more important than ever before. Both are ramping up communications internally and externally to keep all involved informed and on the same page.

This includes providing suppliers with as much lead time as possible and keeping those involved aware of the pain points and evolving needs. In addition to increasing lead times, customers are also dealing with price increases and shortages, causing scrambles to locate substitutes. In response, some are encouraging creativity to formulate around the problem.

To build more efficiency into their organization, other are taking the initiative to plan further ahead, sometimes as much as one to four years of capital and working with key suppliers to better understand their plans over time. Knowing every vendor has ebb and flow in their scheduling timeline, many are looking for ways to use that downtime more efficiently.

state of the supply chain



Staffing continues to be more difficult in larger cities than smaller towns and with no immediate solution to ongoing workforce issues, many are exploring how to increase automation. This includes looking at ROIs to determine how to automate more effectively, especially in plants that cannot find the necessary workforce.

As staffing woes continue within the industry, bakers are exploring how to create a framework able to attract a strong labor force today and in the future. With a mind toward employee wellbeing, some bakers are turning away new or expanded business because they are not willing to overstress their current employee base.

Other workforce initiatives include better onboarding and training of employees, the creation of mentoring programs and demonstrating a career path to employees. This includes looking toward the future to accommodate Gen Z employees who care more about purpose than money and who are interested in working for companies with strong sustainability initiatives.

Bakeries are also exploring how to keep plants cooler for a more comfortable working environment, offer fair pay, and finding creative approaches to more flexible working schedules, including part-time plant work. In the office, many are rethinking which jobs can be done at home and which roles will remain onsite. This could include some jobs remaining at home while others become hybrid.

state of the supply chain


Washington D.C.

In the first year of a new administration, there is always a lot of activity. Ongoing COVID restrictions continue to slow the supply chain, keeping vital shipment containers from being unloaded. Additionally, few anticipated the multiple logistics and transportation issues continuing across the board. Within the new Administration, there is a new task force looking at supply chain issues.

In addition, lobbyists are working on getting label flexibility from FDA, working with EPA and USDA to let refiners of edible oils come online, and negotiating with the DOT to allow drivers to stay on the road a little longer. Robb MacKie predicted bipartisan compromise on infrastructure will increase the corporate tax rate because of the amounts of money being spent, and the upcoming expiration of the depreciation schedule.

state of the supply chain

Thank you to Shick Esteve for sponsoring this session!

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