Consultation Into The UK Dairy Supply Chain Launched
Unfair practices in the industry were exposed during the Groceries Code Adjudicator Call for Evidence in 2016, and the consultation from the UK government will ensure these are brought to an end, helping farmers to be treated fairly by regulations.
It is suggested by evidence gathered that a significant amount of unfairness in the supply chain is often caused by milk buyers having the ability to set and modify milk prices in a contract. They can do this with little notification, leading to uncertainty and unfair pricing to dairy farmers and businesses.
Dairy farmers across the UK have struggled throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The consultation will look across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and all of the dairy farmers across the region, to decide whether future regulations should be put in place to strengthen fairness and transparency in the supply chain.
A mandatory pricing mechanism within all contracts between dairy farmers and processors is one of the proposals included. Implementing this would ensure the price paid for milk produced by farmers would be formally agreed within the contract, with contract negotiations taking place clearly and in a transparent way.
Farming Minister Victoria Prentis said “It is absolutely vital that our dairy farmers are paid fairly for their high quality produce and I am committed to cracking down on any unfair practices within the UK dairy industry.
I welcome all views to this consultation to determine how best we can guarantee fairness across the supply chain. This will help the industry continue its vital role in feeding the nation and ensure our dairy farmers can continue to be competitive in the future.”
Scottish Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, said, “I encourage all dairy farmers, processors and their representatives to take part in this consultation and ensure that their voices are heard on this matter.
Milk prices can vary and are often changed at short notice for a variety of reasons which can cause major issues for farmers in Scotland and across the UK.
It is vital that we look at any opportunity to address any potential imbalance that exists between buyers and producers and bring our supply chains closer together.”
This is the UK government’s latest move in support of dairy farmers, with the Dairy Response Fund in England, which opened for applications on June 18th, enabling eligible farmers to access up to £10,000 each to help overcome COVID-19 disruptions and losses.
Pandora and IBM digitise jewellery supply chain
Pandora has overhauled its global supply chain in partnership with IBM amid an ecommerce sales boom for its hand-finished jewellery.
The company found international success offering customisable charm bracelets and other personalised jewellery though its chain of bricks and mortar retail destinations. But in 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak forced physical stores to close, Pandora strengthened its omnichannel operations and doubled online sales.
A focus on customer experience included deploying IBM’s Sterling Order Management, increasing supply chain resiliency and safeguarding against disruption across the global value chain.
Pandora leverages IBM Sterling Order Management as the backbone it its omnichannel fulfilment, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud powering its ecommerce. Greater automation across its channels has boosted the jeweller’s sustainability credentials, IBM said, streamlining processes for more efficient delivery. It has also given in-store staff and virtual customer service representatives superior end-to-end visibility to better meet consumer needs.
Jim Cruickshank, VP of Digital Development & Retail Technology, Pandora, said the digital transformation journey has brought “digital and store technology closer together and closer to the customer”, highlighting how important the customer journey remains, even during unprecedented disruption.
"Our mission is about creating a personal experience and we've instituted massive platform changes with IBM Sterling and Salesforce to enable new digital-first capabilities that are much more individualised, localised and connected across channels and markets,” he added.
Pandora’s pivot to digital
The pandemic forced the doors closed at most of Pandora’s 2,700 retail locations. To remain competitive, it pivoted to online retail. Virtual queuing for stores and virtual product trials via augmented reality (AR) technology went someway to emulating the in-store experience and retail theatre that is the brand’s hallmark. Meanwhile digital investments in supply chain efficiency was central to delivering on consumer demand.
“Consumer behaviour has significantly shifted and will continue to evolve with businesses needing to quickly adapt to new preferences and needs,” said Kareem Yusuf, General Manager, AI Applications and Blockchain, IBM. “To address this shift, leading retailers like Pandora rely on innovation to increase their business agility by enabling and scaling sustainable supply chain operations using AI and cloud.”
Yusuf said Pandora’s success was indicative of how to remain competitive by “finding new ways to create differentiated customer experiences that protect their enterprises from disruptions to help mitigate risk and accelerate growth”.