Everyone’s favourite spooky holiday, Halloween is here! Tonight millions of bright-eyed kids in costumes will be running from door to door collecting candy. But have you wondered about the complex confectionery industry supply chain behind it all?
What Halloween means for the Confectionery Industry
Candy sales skyrocket during this time of year. Families and homeowners alike buy candy for trick-or-treaters. Sugary treats are an important part of any holiday celebration and the candy industry counts on these holidays to continue to grow their success. Specifically, did you know that Halloween candy sales alone make up 8 percent of the confectionery industry’s annual sales?
In fact, the National Retail Federation predicts this year, Americans are going to spend 2.6 billion dollars on Halloween candy!
The Journey Through the Confectionery Supply Chain
With such a huge global market, spanning over 70 countries, the confectionery supply chain is very complex. Companies have thousands of locations, suppliers and partners all working together to create the different aspects within their products.
The process begins with the raw ingredients. Ingredients used in candy, more specifically chocolate bars, are often sourced from various farms and factories around the world. Sourcing good quality ingredients like vanilla and cocoa beans can be difficult when the products are grown in countries with lower infrastructure and in tough geopolitical climates.
Some companies in the confectionery industry have received backlash for poor practices in these countries. For example, child labour on African farms remains a real issue within the industry. Although, some companies are taking steps to foster farming initiatives to improve the chain. These initiatives cover training less developed countries farmers about labour rights, crop maintenance and harvesting practices.
The packaging process is a necessary part of candy production. Similar to raw ingredients, the packaging is also sourced from around the world. Unlike ingredients, however, these materials are imported from Australia and the Indies.
Correct packaging is essential for confectionery companies. Improper packaging damages the candy. Oxygen and moisture easily destroys a candy bar, ruining the overall taste and freshness of the candy.
Transportation happens between all stages in the candy process. Some companies assemble all candy components in one location, while others choose to transport between multiple. If not managed properly, delays and miscommunications occur.
Raw material locations are difficult to export goods from. These places are often remote and difficult to access by regular forms of transportation. Seemingly simple issues like a rainstorm can cause heavy delays in the shipping of products. This means delays are quite common and difficult to predict.
Finally, the candy makes it to a warehouse A confection company must manage its product and effectively meet retailers demand for their candy. They have to ensure the product is in stock and readily available for their customers. Problems near the beginning, middle or end of the supply chain process hinder their ability to deliver to rising demands.
Companies that implement proper management systems can track where all goods are in real-time saving valuable time, costs and resources.
In summary, all aspects of the confectionery supply chain must work collaboratively, in constant communication. The parties must work to keep low costs while also meeting deadlines. One error in the chain will halt the process on an order completely. This is why many companies implement management systems to control service and product visibility throughout their operations.
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