Companies in the food industry have found tracking systems that compile information on where their food products come from, what they have in stock and where items are shipped have been extremely helpful in managing operations.
One company, dried food supplier Community Foods Limited, has reported improving stock recording accuracy 15 percent in the six months since implementing data collection tools, SHD Logistics reported.
“It is fair to say that we’ve seen stock record accuracy move from the low 80 per cent to about 95 per cent in six months," said John Davies, director of operations for Community Foods, according to the article. "[W]e have seen significant gains since installing [the new system] and we expect a lot more to come."
The new technology integrates with the company's enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Before implementing the new system, the company reported having to try to keep track of its stock with a manual paper-based workflow, but that left the company with some level of uncertainty on the quality and quantity of its products, SHD Logistics reported. Davies told the source that it also meant the company saw a lot of its stock wasted and wasn't able to properly control inventory movements, and the process did not help reduce the high number of picking errors in the warehouse. Workers were often picking the wrong products from the shelves because they were in the wrong location or hadn't been recorded properly, Davies said. This led to invoice errors and "a lot of customer claims and credits."
The company needed a new system that could properly and easily keep track of its items to eliminate these errors. Its goal is to improve inventory accuracy in the warehouse and ensure orders are fresh by keeping track of product ages.
Egg suppliers have also reported benefiting from product tracking technology. The tracking systems not only aid in distribution, but also help isolate and recall egg products that have been contaminated with salmonella. The technology makes it easy for food suppliers and federal regulators to find the contaminated products before they hit store shelves.
"Until scientists can eradicate salmonella, the next best way to protect people is to minimize the risk of contaminated food reaching the dinner table," a release from a tracking system provider said. "Once an outbreak is discovered, knowing exactly where the contaminated food is located and removing it from the public food supply immediately can save lives."