NEW YORK — Managing the supply chain over the past several years has been a challenge for most food manufacturers, and Kraft Heinz Co. has not been immune to the struggles. What the Chicago-based maker of ketchup and macaroni and cheese has done, though, is focus on three key qualities that give it the best shot at success: resilience, predictability and adaptability.
To survive in the current environment companies must be resilient, Miguel Patricio, chairman and chief executive officer of Kraft Heinz, said during a June 2 presentation at the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference.
“For resilience, we need to do a lot in the sense of inspiring this crowd,” he said.
A second key quality is predictability, Mr. Patricio said.
“It’s hard to predict today this world but predictability is critical,” he said. “I’ll give you an example. A current example, it’s happening right now. So we predicted that we would face a shortage of bean gum. Bean gum is the product that gives consistency to ice cream and to cream cheese — Philadelphia Cream Cheese. And basically, because the crop that comes basically from Morocco was very bad, and we had good intelligence to understand that this would be a problem. And so we acquired a big inventory of bean gum, believing that we would have a shortage. That’s predictability. The result of that is we’re gaining a lot of share in cream cheese because we predicted well.”
The third and final key quality to a successful supply chain is adaptability, Mr. Patricio said.
“I mean, with shortage on raw materials, you have to adapt every day and very fast,” he explained. “Our salad dressing was made with sunflower oils. And 80% of that is made (with what) was coming from Ukraine. So just we have to adapt our farmers. We have to adapt our labels. This level of adaptability on every day, we need to be very fast.”