Orchestrating Food Security: A Glimpse into Logistics Innovation



In a world where fresh produce, like cherries grace our tables, it is easy to overlook the intricate journey they undertake before landing on our plates. The logistics industry, exemplified by companies such as Lim Siang Huat, plays a pivotal role in ensuring that these delicacies reach us in optimal condition. This is a story of technology and adaptation, where change is the only constant.

The Complexity Behind a Simple Basket of Cherries

To the average consumer, a basket of cherries may appear to be the result of a farmer's labour. However, it represents a complex chain of processes. From sourcing fruit varieties at the farms to precise harvesting, pre-cooling, protective coating and even inducing a kind of 'sleep mode' for cherries during long journeys, every step involves advanced technologies to guarantee quality.

Transportation delays can spell disaster for cherry quality. Therefore, constant vigilance is maintained, tracking temperature changes that might jeopardize the fruit's quality and safety during transit. Traditionally, supply chain tracking was a laborious task but the advent of modern technology has streamlined these processes, rendering them more efficient, accurate and reliable.

Not Magic, but Timely Orchestration and Agile Response

Amidst disruptions like the Covid-19 pandemic, erratic weather patterns and shifting government regulations, logistics companies like Lim Siang Huat are the unsung heroes. Jack Lim, CEO, firmly believes that "logistics is the bloodstream and vessels behind every country and its economy". His team of logisticians played a dynamic role in ensuring goods flowed efficiently and safely.

When the pandemic hit, Lim Siang Huat's teams pivoted swiftly. The hotels, restaurants and cafes (HORECA) sector faced a downturn, but the FMCG sector flourished. Logistics processes had to adapt accordingly, with a particular focus on temperature integrity and food safety. 

Stories from the Trenches: Embracing Change 

Bernard Goh, Operations & Distribution Manager and a stalwart member of the team, found a unique perspective in the field of logistics. He recognized that his prior experience in the jewellery industry had equipped him with a valuable skill set to integrate various stages and appreciate the intricate dynamics of operations. During the pandemic, Bernard and his team leveraged this perspective to drive business continuity by transitioning from a 'Just In Time' (JIT) strategy to a 'Just In Case' (JIC) approach. Bernard reflected, “I am thankful that our technology integration was already incorporated into our process, leading us to step up to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

Muhammad Hafazli, Assistant Transport Manager, highlighted how digitization streamlined supply chain planning and orchestration. He added: "From preserving the integrity and temperature of food products to tracking delivery team locations, digitalizing our processes has made our operations more streamlined and efficient." 

Anthony Low, Head of Omni-Channel, underscored the vital role technology plays in logistics. He emphasized that technology and logistics underpin various industries, ensuring products are readily available. Anthony's use of big data drives forecasting and production, ensuring the availability of goods in the market. He stated, "We must remain ready to embrace new challenges and view them from diverse perspectives." 

Phoon Shiew Teng, Quality Control Executive, highlighted the transformative role of technology in safeguarding the quality of temperature-sensitive food products. She asserted, "Every food category has its temperature nuance; however, food spoilage may not always be seen by the naked eye. Without good temperature control, food safety issues can affect the entire supply chain and cause a company’s brand reputation to fail." Shiew Teng's core responsibility centers on upholding the quality assurance standards of its logistics fleet and warehouses. She ensures that all specifications and pertinent certificates are meticulously documented. In their pursuit of excellence, technology is seamlessly integrated into their quality assurance efforts, monitoring and tracking temperature compliance across various food categories to forestall any potential breaches.

Racing Against Time: Tackling Operational Challenges

Lim Siang Huat's teams thrive in an environment where change is the only constant. When cold chain logistics issues arise, they spring into action. Time is of the essence when goods require precise temperature control. Any discrepancies could compromise the food's integrity, potentially leading to unnoticed food safety issues throughout the supply chain.

The perception of the logistics industry as old-fashioned and manual is a misconception. Logistics teams embrace technology to enhance efficiency. Data loggers record cargo container temperatures and timings and analysts leverage big data to drive logistics operations forward.

When Change Is the Only Constant

Logisticians thrive in an environment where change is ceaseless. A blend of hard and soft skills is the secret to excel in the logistics industry. For those eager to build a career in this dynamic field, embracing and mastering technology is the key. 

"Be prepared because the logistics companies are ramping up and increasingly digitalising their services," imparted Business Development Director Peter Lim, acknowledging the teething challenges of this transformation. As industries ebb and flow, logistics welcomes newcomers and seasoned professionals alike, understanding that, in the grand scheme, "people come and go". Lim Siang Huat remains unwavering in its commitment to nurturing its human capital, fostering a continuous dialogue to unite aspirations and plans.

The Multifaceted Nature of Logistics 

Muhammad Hafazli, a former F&B industry member, stands as a testament to the alluring opportunities that logistics holds. His curiosity about the intricacies of the supply chain led him to make the switch, a decision kindled by interactions with logistics professionals. He added, “Crossing paths with those from the logistics industry back at my previous workplace made me curious about the complexity of the supply chain and I want to be part of that action.”

Addressing a common public misconception about logistics, Charlene Ong, Corporate Marketing Executive, shares her perspective. She shared, “Logistics is not just a delivery driver and warehouse type of job. Rather, it involves a whole platitude of people and processes for a product to reach the customers! Logisticians are trained in many different skills and must have the capability to plan and react in order to orchestrate every move we made". 

Embracing the Impossible: A Dynamic Career in Logistics 

The logistics industry remains as dynamic as ever, especially as economies rebound post-Covid. It serves as the linchpin connecting economies and communities worldwide. Amidst the challenges, the logistics industry continuously innovates to enhance its services, playing an indispensable role in every nation's economic progress.

In the ever-transforming logistics landscape, the pursuit of the seemingly impossible is the essence of a dynamic career. As Jack succinctly reminded us, " You have to first see the invisible to do the impossible." 

The logistics industry is an ever-evolving realm, where technology, innovation and adaptability reign supreme. Lim Siang Huat and its dedicated team exemplify the spirit of resilience and transformation in ensuring the seamless flow of goods in our interconnected world. Join this dynamic industry, embrace change, embrace technology and be a part of the logistics revolution.

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