FMI-The Food Industry Association has partnered with commodities technology specialist The Seam to launch the Food Industry Exchange, a cloud-based marketplace to help retailers and wholesalers manage their supply chains amid the COVID-19 crisis.
FMI and The Seam said Wednesday the subscription-based platform is designed to function as a real-time exchange by linking buyers and sellers across geographies and fostering collaboration between trading partners.
Participants can showcase products and services available in a digital space and on an ongoing basis. For example, grocery retailers needing more resources at stores will be connected with sellers offering capacity of products, transportation services, labor and warehousing services.
“The tool ensures the food supply chain remains safe and efficient,” Mark Baum, chief collaboration officer and senior vice president of industry relations at FMI, said in a statement. “The new effort will make the process of connecting FMI and related product suppliers with capacity, and FMI member companies in need of assistance, quick and more precise through a digitized system. This allows us to assist our FMI food retailers and wholesalers fulfill needs at grocery stores, which are experiencing skyrocketing demand, and at the same time assist our product supplier members in creating new relationships and providing their needs.”
Sponsored by FMI and powered by The Seam, the Food Industry Exchange features simple categorization of food products and services, as well as easy data entry for orders and offers. Sellers can display the availability of products — such as fresh meat, masks, labor services, transportation services and foodservice offerings — during the pandemic crisis and address disruptions in the supply chain for retailers by providing alternative solutions, including categories such as frozen foods, cereal and beverages, FMI and The Seam said. Suppliers, wholesalers and retailers interact via a secure, verified platform, with added assurance provided through online credential display, such as PACA licensing, and certifications.
Not developed only for the coronavirus outbreak, the Food Industry Exchange is intended to bring more efficiency to the food supply chain, filling FMI retailers’ and wholesalers’ long-term product discovery and procurement needs while serving as a critical tool in times of emergency, FMI and The Seam noted.
“As the current world pandemic increases the demand to provide access to suppliers who have capacity for products and services, retailers/wholesalers are challenged with keeping store shelves stocked with essential consumer goods,” stated Mark Pryor, chief executive officer at The Seam, a Memphis, Tenn.-based provider of commodity trading and software solutions for agribusinesses. “Technology drives efficiencies and fuels markets, and connecting suppliers with buyers is what we do best at The Seam. We are honored to collaborate with FMI to develop this real-time exchange that will digitize and interconnect a geographically dispersed supply chain.”
The Food Industry Exchange marks the latest digital initiative announced by FMI during the coronavirus crisis. In early April, FMI unveiled the Eightfold Talent Exchange, an online marketplace created with hiring and talent search service Eightfold.ai to help connect workers displaced by the pandemic with employers looking to fill jobs. And earlier this month, FMI said that in July it plans to hold the Midsummer Strategic Executive Exchange, a new virtual event to help spur business recovery and facilitate supply chain collaboration.