In the past year, we’ve seen a surge in e-commerce and it’s going to continue to be a driving trend as the restaurant industry moves forward. With operators rushing toward a more technology-friendly environment, it makes sense they do the same when it comes to supply chain management.

E-Commerce is a very big part of the unfolding food GPO space as operators now realize they have more purchasing power when partnered with other restaurants. Having the opportunity to leverage buying power and gain access to manufacturers, distributors, growers-shippers, and foodservice experts—through the use of technology—is driving more and more restaurant operators to foodservice GPO’s.

Meanwhile, another recommendation is to become a key part of the IBM Food Trust Blockchain. This blockchain service is one of the first of its kind, bringing together key critical knowledge in the foodservice industry by merging supply chain and food safety into efficient real-time management across the leading players in food manufacturing. The next steps that would support this action would be to invest in more automation tech and AI contracting to support both the e-commerce and blockchain drivers.

Foodservice operators are increasingly required to do more with less when it comes to running their operation—and managing the supply chain is no different. Technology can help streamline the supply chain process and make for quicker decision making, accurate ordering and lower costs.

Will the rise in e-commerce supply chain limit (or expand) the overall products available to operators?

More Purchasing Options and Transparency into Pricing

Online, on-demand ordering platforms have become a popular way to mass order food for restaurants. E-commerce food distribution encompasses all types and sizes of food distributors. The use of technology opens many more doors for purchasing options on high-demand items such as procuring food, disposables, smallware’s and other supplies they use every day.

Already, 50 percent of operators are already using e-commerce to purchase some of their products and 70 percent of operators expect to use e-commerce purchasing solutions by 2025. By using automated product recommendations, operators can make cost reduction a regular part of their processes. Having access to supply chain technology, operators get a wider range of product options and can identify similar products to what they are currently buying that offer savings potential. Technology makes it easy for food and beverage operators to make informed purchasing decisions and compare prices across multiple vendors to ensure that they are buying with restaurant profitability in mind.

Procuring inventory at a better cost is a high priority for operators these days. Technology allows for a clearer picture into pricing and allows restaurant owners to compare prices so they can get the highest quality of products at the best prices.

End-to-End Digital Process

Technology and data are what drive procurement optimization. Digital procurement increases speed, accuracy, and transparency. Food and beverage operators can now digitize the entire supply chain process from ordering inventory and traceability to audits and invoice management.

Using GPO Technology to streamline an operator’s procurement process allows them to unlock potential for their data, gain valuable insights, optimize their processes, decrease costs, and increase profitability. By utilizing e-commerce technology, operators can manage their supply chain contracts and manufacturer and distributor relationships through computers, mobile phones and tablets—which makes for quicker decision making and faster results. Overall, operators across all foodservice segments can easily boost their profit margins by streamlining their supply chains, reducing their labor costs, and uncovering savings on the products and services they buy every day.

Melissa Evans is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist for Buyers Edge Platform and its associated GPO brands including Dining Alliance, Consolidated Concepts, and others. Buyers Edge Platform is a Digital Procurement Network made up of tech-enabled GPOs, Saas companies and supply chain consultants that creates unparalleled efficiency and new value in the foodservice channel.

Outside Insights, Story