Improving product traceability will not only make daily operations easier, but could also make customers happier. According to a recent Fresh Plaza article, tracking produce offers food companies more opportunities to interact consumers, something suppliers are realizing is important and will be a big trend in 2013.
An expert on product tracking technology told the source that companies are realizing the growing demand for item-level traceability and are learning about the benefits of doing so.
“They feel it's a way to directly reach shoppers,” the expert said, according to the article. “It's a trend I'm hearing. Suppliers are saying they want to go straight to the item.”
Some people like knowing exactly where their food came from, and being able to provide this information will likely garner more business. However, item tracking is also becoming more regulated as U.S. authorities say it is needed in order to properly determine the source of foodborne illnesses.
Food Mag reported on how traceability is specifically critical in the food industry.
"Traceability enables food businesses to target the product(s) involved in a food safety problem, thereby minimizing disruption to trade and reducing potential public health risks," the article stated.
Tracking food products more closely isn't just a trend in the United States, but worldwide. Business around the globe are feeling the pressure to improve their inventory management, which means having the right equipment in place to trace products through supply chains. Being able to trace items from a food supplier to a supermarket will be possible if a company adopts barcode tracking software and other mobile data collection tools that will keep track of inventories and products going in and out of a warehouse or distribution center.
If such solutions are not in place, a food recall could be an even more challenging and expensive process for a company, according to Food Mag. One expert told the source that about one third of the cost of a recall is due the event causing an interruption in normal business. Adopting technology that makes it possible for companies to successfully track and trace products through the supply chain will prove to be a smart investment. Without it, food suppliers could lose time and money, and also miss out on opportunities to give consumers the information they want about their food.