Supply Chain Management in Meat Industry

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The Burning Issue

Meat is a major foodstuff in most western counties. Customers want they could purchase safe and fresh meat and this demand carries quite hard requirements to the meat supply chain management.

In June, 2008, Australian supermarket giant Woolworth, has been exposed that provide contaminated lambs to their customers ( Woolworths now has a shopping centre in almost every metropolitan and regional centre of Australia and offer food to millions of customers nationwide. This event may cause a large-range negative influence to public health and have a huge damage to this company brand reputation. Therefore, how to improve the meat supply chain management to satisfy consumer expectation and prevent such event occurs again, should be a big question to Woolworth and other meat retailers. It is suggested that these meat retailers could enhance their supply chain management through the following practices: adopting continually quality improvement methods, building long-term partnership with suppliers and operating business ethically.

The Overview

Meat is an important source of human diet and has significant effect on public health. In both the United Kingdom and Australia, total meat and poultry consumption is stable increase in last 30 years (Watson, 1994, p. 25) while it has been referred to as the food item in which customer confidence decreased most during recent decades (Becker, et al. 1998). Customers expect purchasing good quality products derived from healthy animals raised in a healthy environment, to be natural, fresh tasting and nutritious (Kennedy et al. 2004, p. 122). However, corporations fail to satisfy this expectation. The meat production and consumption is under heavy criticism in the last decade (Verbeke, 2000, p. 522).

Supply management may be able to help companies out of the hot water. Effective meat supply chain management could improve the product quality to meet the customers’ demand and bring competitiveness to firms. In 1997, Chiappe and Herrero indicate that knowledge in supply chain management becomes crucial for both local and international enterprises (1997, p. 87). However, though many firms have recognized the significance of supply chain management, they still struggle to achieve optimal results (Payne & Peters, 2004, p. 77).

Firms in meat industry may face more critical difficulties in their supply chain management, due to the higher inventory and transport requirement to keep meat fresh. Thus, to improve meat supply chain management hence to offer credible products to satisfy customer expectation is a big task of retailers such as Woolworth and Coles.

The Ideas in Tangible

First of all, continually quality improvement within the whole supply chain management will assist meat retailers satisfy customer expectation. The quality of meat is the key factor for business success within this industry. For delivering creditable quality meat to customers, supply chain improvement practices should be adopted. It may be claimed that ISO standard can offer the backbone for these supply chain improvement practices. ISO could give the confidence for all stakeholders of the company that everything within the organization is going well as they should be (Evans & Lindsay, 2005). ISO9000 is a set of quality standards that are defines as being necessary for manufacturers and service organizations to be effective (Raisinghani, 2005, p. 494). ISO 9001 provide useful frameworks and concepts to analyze quality problems (Schroder & Mceachern, 2002, p. 84). On the base of ISO, it may be suggested that the combination of lean system and six sigma, may offer best solution for meat retailers to optimize the product quality

Secondly, the retailers may improve the reliability of their supply chain through building long term partnership with key suppliers. The supply channels can be viewed as “system of relationships among businesses that participate in the...
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