Communication is key in any industry, and the fresh produce industry is no exception. For any fresh produce distributor to thrive in the industry, communication down the supply chain must be unobstructed and uninterrupted.
Unfortunately, achieving such efficient communication doesn’t come easily, and there are always obstacles that stand in the way. In this article, we’ll introduce a list of the top communication challenges that the produce industry faces and how to overcome them with efficient communication solutions like Silo.
Top 8 communication challenges facing the produce industry
1. Communication in real-time
One of the biggest communication challenges in any industry is communication in real-time. This becomes an even bigger challenge in an industry like produce that deals with perishables.
Produce distributors need to remain in touch with every level of the supply chain and get real-time data. The absence of this sort of real-time monitoring can slow down response times, delaying responses to problems that might occur down the supply chain.
The result: little problems that would have otherwise been easily solved can grow into much larger issues.
2. Communication over long distances
Another huge challenge that the fresh produce industry faces in terms of communication is the need to communicate over long distances. With the fresh produce industry having such a large market that often covers expansive geographical areas, efficiently passing messages across is often one of the biggest problems experienced by produce distributors.
To overcome this challenge, it’s important to employ solutions that offer high-speed communication that remains effective even over long distances.
3. Multiple nodes in the supply chain
Fresh produce distribution often involves several stages, and distributors need to efficiently exchange information on various levels. The sheer number of levels and the various stages involved in the supply chain often make communication a problem.
An effective solution must successfully integrate the various levels in the fresh produce supply chain, ensuring seamless and efficient communication on every level.
4. Multiple mediums
Another challenge often facing produce distributors is the variety of communication media available. With various options to choose from, each of which differs from the other in its approach to solving communication problems, having a universal solution that fits different mediums of communication is often a challenge.
An effective solution should seamlessly incorporate the different mediums of communication, providing a smooth integration that supports the various mediums employed in the industry.
5. Complex communication software solutions
Software platforms are one of the go-to solutions for fixing the many communication challenges experienced in the industry. Unfortunately, many of these software solutions come with their share of problems as well, the biggest of which is the level of complexity.
Complex software solutions present an extra challenge to the produce industry, as they make communication stressful while also being inefficient. Effective software solutions for communication need to be easy to use and should require next to no expertise to use efficiently.
6. One-way communication systems
Communication is only truly effective when it goes both ways and data can be efficiently transferred from both ends. Unfortunately, communication systems employed in the fresh produce industry are often unidirectional, with information only being passed down the supply chain without any real means for mutual communication.
These one-way communication systems also make it hard to incorporate feedback, and thus rob distributors of the opportunity to make advancements to their business.
7. The lack of industry-specific solutions
No two industries are the same. Each industry has specific problems and challenges which are unique to itself. For this reason, solutions designed for one industry are only truly efficient at fixing challenges imposed by the industry they were designed for.
With the fresh produce industry not being as technologically advanced as many others (or rather, unwilling to adapt to new advancements), it can be a challenge to solve common communication problems facing the industry.
While other non-industry-specific solutions might get the job done, they’re never as efficient as those solutions designed with specificity in mind.
8. The cost of efficient communication solutions
In most cases, the problem isn’t finding a communication solution that’s effective at fixing all (or at least some) of the challenges mentioned above—it’s finding one that’s both effective AND affordable.
After all, there’s no use in investing in a solution that costs more money than the problem it was designed to fix. If you’re investing in a communication solution, it needs to be something that gets the job done without breaking the bank. Unfortunately, finding such solutions is often a challenge.
Overcoming these communication challenges
There’s a wide range of digital solutions out there designed to help solve one or more of the challenges mentioned above. While most of these software solutions are designed to provide solutions to specific communication challenges, there are a few software solutions that tackle practically all the challenges listed above rather nicely.
Before choosing a communication solution for your fresh produce business though, it’s important to consider the following:
- The unique communication challenges your business faces.
- The efficiency with which the communication solution solves your unique challenges.
- The cost-efficiency of the solution.
- The ease with which the solution can integrate with whatever other software is currently being used by your business (or that might be used in the future).
Taking note of these factors can help you choose the most efficient software solution that not only solves your specific communication challenges, but also fits your business’ specific model perfectly.