How is technology helping the Food & Beverage Industry manage during the worker shortage crisis?

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

In August, a report titled ‘Establishing the labour availability issues of the UK Food and Drinks Sector’, was compiled by Grant Thornton revealed that there were “953,000 vacancies in the UK over the past three months” (1), with just over half a million job vacancies in the food & drink industry alone.

These vacancies are affecting every level of supply, and the implications have been contributing to supply shortages which are expected to worsen in the coming months.

Immigration regulations due to Brexit, alongside the ‘pingdemic’, have resulted in driver shortages and offices operating under capacity, at a time when demand is rising.

For the food & beverage industry, there are simply too many vacancies for each company to have the resources available to meet the demand set by their customers, and this goes for every level of supply. The Government has been urged, along with individual businesses, to incentivise people to apply for roles in this sector, and food distributors are looking for ways to retain a level of normal service amongst these disruptions.

For the horticulture sector, a 12-month 'Covid-19 recovery visa has been recommended “to help firms recruit staff such as HGV drivers, and an expanded seasonal worker scheme”, with some businesses seeing a “34% shortfall in recruitment.” (2)

Alongside these incentives, what are the ways food & beverage businesses can retain efficiency at a sustainable level while these disruptions continue?

Protecting Workers

The first priority is worker and customer safety. Cases may be dropping but it has been outlined that we are not in the clear, and hospitality’s reopening will test the efficacy of our efforts in terms of social distancing measures.

Electronic proof-of-deliveries, and photofraphic evidence of a fulfilled order are 2 digital capabilities that ensure accountability while keeping workers and customers safe.

With both delivery operations and their customers working at below optimum capacity means there is a window for deliveries to be made while customers are not present.

This must be balanced with the security that deliveries have been made as per customer requirements - Photographic evidence ensures deliveries are accounted for, which helps you to avoid disputes over misplaced deliveries. The proof is there, and can be sent to the office and your customers right after the delivery has been made.

Having as much evidence as possible for deliveries in these circumstances is essential for promising consistently reliable services.

Automation & efficiency