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Make supplier contracts longer to improve F&B supply chain, say panelists at Seatrade Cruise Global

Royal Caribbean Group's Jim Wells said improving the F&B supply chain 'starts with technologies'
Cruise lines need to lengthen the duration of F&B suppliers’ contracts in order to improve the supply chain and implement new technologies to streamline operations.

‘We need to build flexibility into the supply chain to be able to adapt to the current situation and build solid partnerships with suppliers,’ said Paolo Raia, MD, F&B division, MSC Cruises on creating resilience.

He went on to add, ‘We should move from the standard one-year contract in order to improve together. Sometimes we don’t have enough time,’ with Tami Blanco, VP strategic sourcing & sIte services, Carnival Cruise Line responding, ‘We need to find suppliers at the national level and put shared KPIs into the contract… for three years or five years with pricing reviews throughout.’

The comments came during a conference session at Seatrade Cruise Global in Miami, titled, ‘CLIA Cruise Line’s Food & Beverage Sourcing & Supply Chain Current State - Challenges & Opportunities.’ Among the issues raised were lack of products available in the supply chain, lack of available raw materials, food shortages and packaging.

Investment needed

Another key topic was the investment in technology, with Michelle Solorzano, VP F&B supply chain management, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, asserting, ‘It’s been very difficult to project consumption. We have four different reporting systems and and supplier tools to manage data… these tools need to be quicker and more accurate.’

Jim Wells, SVP, chief supply chain officer, Royal Caribbean Group, agreed with the statement, noting, ‘It starts with technologies.’: the SVP went on to add that he is exploring passenger demographics through technology in order to better meet individual need and create greater accuracy.

Cruise restart and lessons learned

‘Increasing lead time has been helpful on both sides and we really appreciate the increased floor stock,' said Soloranzo, thanking suppliers for bringing in additional staff.

‘It’s worth noting we come together,’ said Kasper Diaz Sommer, global head of marine logistics, Blue Water referring to the unity of the industry in tackling obstacles, with session moderator Jeff Gilkerson, principal, sourcing & procurement transformation, The Hackett Group adding, ‘It may be painful now in dealing with shortages, but it will make everyone stronger.’

Noted Raia, ‘Tools, technology, capabilities and innovation will come outh of the challenges.’