SIR; In line with your article (& 'The world is their oyster', The Grocer, April 22, p38), we have seen a definite move towards the foodservice industry becoming increasingly competitive and efficient in its global supply chain efforts. However, I would challenge the wider industry perception that its business model is ten years behind that of grocery retail.
In the past 18-24 months suppliers in foodservice have made investments to automate their supply chain and make their e-commerce operations more sophisticated. While your points regarding exporting opportunities are valid, and Pavel Kolarov's comments that "it's not a simple supply chain" are true, opportunities for trade between countries, including global relationships, have never been more possible. This is due to the efforts that some foodservice suppliers are making.
By adopting electronic commerce, they are now finding themselves able to overcome obstacles such as language, technology differences and geographic boundaries. Wider initiatives, such as the Global Data Synchronisation Network, are open to companies that have embraced e-commerce and are presenting more equal opportunities for suppliers regardless of their size.
Due to their agility, improved efficiency and desire for growth, foodservice companies not only have the opportunity to expand their geographic horizons but also diversify their product ranges. Having led the way, the grocery retail sector has shown foodservice companies that they can benefit from automating their supply chains and the industry is now coming on in leaps and bounds.