A software upgrade to RedLine Field aimed at getting information quickly to harvest sites is available to users of the traceability system this spring, according to its developer.
“We put an enhanced version in place over winter, and our customers are starting to use it now,” said Chris Davis, chief operating officer for Santa Clara, Calif.-based RedLine Solutions Inc.
RedLine Field has been in use for two years. The new software, Davis said, simplifies harvest planning.
“The commodity manager will have one console where he can see and set up the whole plan,” he said. “He’ll say, ‘I have these crews going to these fields to pick this amount.’ The system sends information about a specific harvest to a handheld mobile scanner.”
In the morning, each foreman logs into the mobile device to see which farm, block and commodity his crew is to harvest that day. From the scanner the foreman can choose the number of Produce Traceability Initiative case labels needed and send a command to an onsite printer.
“People would love to preprint, but in a harvest things change all the time, so this way they can adapt to that,” Davis said. “For the person in the field, there’s a concept of ‘my harvest.’”
At a minimum, the PTI case labels include Global Trade Identification Numbers and lot labels plus a voice-pick code — a four-digit number that allows a retailer to trace over a voice system instead of scanning barcodes. In practice, growers add varying amounts of detail, such as country of origin.
In California, RedLine’s system is used on the typical vegetable commodities — leafy greens, celery, cauliflower, artichokes, green onions and the rest.
The company doesn’t name its clients. “We’re working with about a half dozen good-sized to major-sized growers,” Davis said. “Mostly with businesses doing 10 million to 30 million cases a year.”
In early February, RedLine Solutions held a symposium on field harvesting in Yuma, Ariz.
Gary Fleming, vice president of strategic services, spoke to grower-shippers on how to translate Produce Traceability Initiative requirements into a field process. Fleming, formerly vice president of industry technology and standards for the Produce Marketing Association, was an architect of PTI.
Similar sessions are planned in Salinas in April, and in California’s Central Valley for grape season, Davis said.