Integrating Traceability Solutions in the Potato Supply Chain
In recent times, food producers have developed an extensive capacity to track the flow of food along the supply chain, though individual systems vary. Some traceability systems are deep, tracking food from the retailer back to the farm, while others extend back only to a key point in the production process. Some are very precise, tracking food products to the exact area of a field where they were grown, while others are less accurate.
Traceability systems tend to be motivated by economic incentives, and not by government traceability regulations. Companies build traceability systems to improve supply-side management, to increase safety and quality control, and to market foods with certain claims – such as whether a type of food was produced without genetic engineering. The benefits associated with these objectives include lower-cost distribution systems, reduced recall expenses, and expanded sales of high-value products. In every case, the benefits of traceability translate into larger net revenues for the company.
But traceability is only one side of the coin. Tracking food in the production process does absolutely nothing unless the tracking system is linked to effective control procedures.
How it Works
The first step to traceability is labeling. While most farms are not required to label each piece of produce they sell, processors prefer to work with farms that label each container that leaves their store. In addition, if the farm uses barcoding technology in its labeling process, it makes traceability more effective and efficient.
Using barcode labeling, processors can track potatoes from the moment they are leaving the warehouse, as each pallet is scanned and placed onto a truck for delivery. Advances in RFID technology and telematics systems allow processors to record every movement of each batch.
Tracking products during the delivery phase is important not only to ensure products are delivered on time, but tracing a series of additional variables helps eliminate potential product damage or food spoilage in transit—preventing recalls and lost revenue.
You can read the rest of this article in the Winter Issue of Potato Business Digital magazine, which you can access by clicking here.