Supply Chain Matters often provides our readers education on the costs of supplier non-performance or the risks of supply chain globalization efforts. Such efforts take on critical importance in food and food services focused supply chains.

In the summer of 2014 well-known global restaurant brands such as McDonald’s, Yum Brands (operators of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell) and Burger King were named by both media and Chinese food regulatory agencies for offering expired meat products to customers. The expired chicken and beef meat products were traced by restaurant operators to food supplier Shanghai Husi Food Company, which was affiliated with U.S. based OSI Group, a $6 billion producer of food products. OSI itself had garnered what is reported to be a solid reputation as a quality focused food supplier. Unfortunately however, wide-scale publicity across China and continued regulatory scrutiny hampered efforts to restore consumer confidence.

Since that time Yum Brands as well as McDonalds have attempted to recover from potential damage to their brands by China’s consumers in the wake of this incident.

This week, in conjunction with reporting fourth quarters earnings, Yum Brands who derives almost half of its revenues from China operations, reported an 11 percent sales declines for China with sales for established stores down 16 percent. Revenues for the December-ending quarter fell 4.4 percent and the firm reported a loss of $86 million compared with a year earlier profit of $321 million.

By now, readers are also aware that McDonald’s has initiated a CEO change based on continued disappointing revenues and earnings for both China and U.S. outlets. McDonald’s has since encountered and overcome a shortage of French-fried potatoes within its Japan outlets.

Strategic sourcing and procurement teams are often well aware of the critical importance of proactive supplier quality management. Continued incidents such as those that occurred in China bring that awareness to the executive suite and boardroom.

Bob Ferrari