About us

Scotland’s experts on farmer co-ops and food industry collaboration, we provide a range of specialist information, development and consultancy services to help businesses work together more effectively. #workingtogether we grow

What we do

Now more than ever, it’s vital for farmers and food and drink businesses to work together more effectively - all of SAOS’s work centres on facilitating this.


As a development organisation, owned by our members, we provide a range of specialist services not available elsewhere, to assist them in developing their people and their businesses. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.

What's New

Latest news, views and updates from us here at SAOS.

Why Supply Chain Mapping is Key for Business Resilience

16 November 2022

In our latest blog spot, we asked SAOS Supply Chain Development Manager, Rona Sutherland, to explain about our approach to supply chain development and why sustainability and resilience are key. 

How does SAOS approach its work in supply chain development?

“SAOS is well-recognised for its role in facilitating effective co-operative and collaborative partnerships. Our ethos of clear communication and working together is central to our approach. We work with a wide network of our member co-operatives and partner organisations across an entire range of agriculture and food and drink supply chains. We are a key strategic member of the Scotland Food and Drink Partnership. In the academic and technology arenas, we bring together the latest thinking and sector insights into specific supply chain challenges, and work with partners to construct the best and most cost-effective practical solutions. We are fortunate in being able to draw on a talented team of in-house specialist supply chain experts, as well as having SAOS and its subsidiary business teams leading national initiatives on food quality assurance, livestock traceability and rural digital connectivity. This gives us a unique breadth of industry knowledge, experience and understanding, and means we are ideally placed to work constructively and knowledgeably across the whole supply chain.

What is meant by sustainable and resilient supply chains?

“We are continually talking and listening to industry and partner organisations. It is clear from these discussions that supply chain planning is at the forefront of most business growth agendas. Specifically, resilience and sustainability are key priorities.

In terms of sustainability, our supply chain approach looks primarily at the three pillars of sustainability - economic, environmental, and social. Supply chains need to remain profitable to survive in the longer term, so economic sustainability is of primary importance. Similarly, environmental sustainability is now increasingly important, both with the consumer and the Scottish Government’s commitment to Net Zero. Finally, and significantly, people are important. There are precious few supply chains that can operate successfully without a committed workforce. In a knowledge-based economy, businesses are increasingly focusing on an employee’s sense of worth and job satisfaction in a bid to attract and retain the best staff.

Resilience is critical. It can broadly be defined as the ability of a business to absorb shocks and disruptions by having appropriate contingency and mitigation measures in place. There’s little comfort in having a highly sustainable supply chain if it only takes one major shock to disrupt the chain and cause its collapse. Resilience is enhanced through a process of risk management. SAOS experts can walk businesses through this process, to enhance resilience and build in risk mitigation for when the unexpected happens.”

Where do we start?

“SAOS’s starting point has been to lead on the foresighting, analysis and mapping of over twenty major Scottish food and drink supply chains in association with key industry partners. This wide-ranging detailed supply chain analysis provides a unique and clear overview of the strengths and weaknesses of each sector. It is a nationally recognised piece of work which effectively identifies individual supply chain sector pinch points, critical interfaces, and business risks. These maps act as an initial reference for discussions with sector supply chain partners. From this, we can establish if there is a collective will amongst the stakeholders to tackle some of the issues highlighted and see how we can help develop robust practical solutions and mitigate risk."

The SAOS supply chain maps will also help inform future industry and Government policy and development support as many of the issues highlighted may require change at a strategic or policy level. The maps are constantly under review and our summary 'Key Facts' documents for each sector, complete with infographics, are available by contacting patricia.rojas@saos.coop

Get in Touch

If you are interested in hearing more about SAOS’s supply chain work or would like to discuss any supply chain issues you are facing, please contact the team via rona.sutherland@saos.coop we’d really like to hear from you!







Comments (0)

This thread has been closed from taking new comments.