Traceback systems vary

04/01/2013 04:39:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

“They’re starting to see the value in having accountability of their workforce. There’s a reconciliation you can do to not pay for more flats or incur more harvest costs for what’s actually harvesting so pickers can’t get credited more than once for their work.”

Kevin Brooks, chief marketing officer with traceability systems provider FoodLink, Los Gatos, Calif., said consistent communication is vital in the traceability process.

“One of the biggest challenges out there is the ability of organizations to speak to each other in consistent language,” he said.

“There is such variance in the way product catalogs are managed. You have large groups like GS1 (GS1 US, Lawrenceville, N.J.) and others doing good work to try to make it easier for organizations to communicate, but in the practical day to day, we have a lot of on-the-fly mapping of information.”

Ed Treacy, vice president of supply chain efficiencies for the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del., said companies implementing PTI are enjoying many benefits.

Treacy cited Scott Farms Inc., Lucama, N.C., which implemented PTI to engage in a pilot program with retailers.

Treacy said he helped bring Scott Farms and Food Lion LLC, Salisbury, N.C., together.

Teri Miller, Food Lion’s produce category manager, ran a couple of loads.

That experience helped Scott Farms expanded from no business with Food Lion to becoming the chain’s primary sweet potato supplier, Treacy said.

“There are all sorts of other people getting benefits from doing it (PTI),” Treacy said.

“Not everyone will get the same benefit as you have to look at your own operation. Those that stop to think about doing and embrace it rather than fight it will have a better chance of getting benefits out of it.”


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