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Food, beverage supply chain under focus at SAPICS 2017 conference

Food production is the world’s largest manufacturing sector, and in Africa it is second only to the oil and gas industry – based on the combined revenue of the 111 largest African agro-food companies. Potential for further growth is substantial, but it relies on efficient and innovative supply chains to get food to the end-consumer.

Continuous development of supply chain management skills, tools and technologies is therefore the focus of the annual SAPICS 2017 conference for supply chain professionals – to be held in Cape Town from 4-7 June 2017.

“The food and beverage industry is well represented at this year’s conference,” said SAPICS president Mungo Park. “In addition to the presentations from experts in this sector, there are also site visits to companies like Woolworths, SAB, Appeltizer and Durbanville Hills.”

The past decade has seen a surge in the number of food product variations on the market, along with the speed of new product introductions. The industry has had to keep pace with expanding consumer numbers while facing increasingly complex challenges throughout its supply chain – such as product traceability and compliance.

Presentations at SAPICS 2017 include an insight into the centralised planning function of AB InBev (previously SAB Miller) from the company’s planning manager for Africa, who will talk about improving customer service and operating synergies while standardising processes. In a case study on competitive advantage in fast-moving consumer goods, McCain Foods and Resolve Solution Partners will present the success of their gain-share partnership – which improved fulfillment while reducing costs and inefficiencies.

Site visits are valuable, practical opportunities to learn from trend-setters and market innovators; a visit that will interest delegates from the food and beverage sector is to Durbanville Hills Winery, which boasts environmentally-friendly grape-growing practices known collectively as the Integrated Production of Wine. This covers harvesting of grapes, transportation, winemaking processes and waste management – practices which are critical to securing long-term sustainability of non-renewable resources.

Delegates also have an opportunity to visit Woolworths’ impressive consolidated Foods Supply Chain Distribution Centre in Montague Gardens, Cape Town, where the company will share their ideas on the future strategy and positioning of Woolworths in the marketplace. A visit to South Africa’s oldest operating brewery, dating back to 1820 and located in Newlands, will allow delegates to hear about the SAB supply chain, including procurement processes, planning and plant scheduling. 

Short workshops on the first and second days of the conference provide valuable capacity-building opportunities to delegates at no extra charge. There will also be longer, in-depth workshops on day three, included in the conference registration fee.

Visit for more information on SAPICS 2017 and to view packages available.