Food traceability becoming more important to supply chain

Invest in the right technology to improve traceability or risk damaging consumer confidence

Leading software provider, Advanced Business Solutions, is advising supply chain logistics companies that unless they invest in the right technology to improve traceability, they risk damaging consumer confidence.

The food and logistics industries have gone through several crises recently, including the horse meat scandal, which happened earlier this year, and which the media are still publicising. In response to further media scrutiny, Advanced has advised that the ability to track, trace and monitor the journey of all food stuffs will become increasingly important in the UK logistics sector.

According to the software provider, using technology which helps improve visibility will enable staff to quickly trace food items back to their origins. Ultimately this provides a safer supply chain for end consumers and will build public confidence.

Graham Gittins, West Midlands Regional Chairman of Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport, says: “Food traceability is still a big issue for the industry, particularly since the horsemeat scandal earlier this year. When these kinds of high profile events happen, consumers and retailers want to know where the food comes from, how it was prepared and how it got to its end destination. The demand is for complete traceability, and the inability to provide this information damages consumer confidence, and that can be costly.

“Increased consumer interest in food provenance is leaving retailers with little choice but to improve supply chain traceability. Investment in technology enabling this is clearly imperative in the sector, and those who respond the fastest stand to be the biggest winners.”

Technology such as bar codes, electronic business standards, data synchronization and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and labelling, which already feature in Advanced’s Warehouse Management System, will become much more widely used to aid food traceability.

Simon Fowler, Managing Director, Advanced Business Solutions (Commercial Division) says: “Access to this kind of technology will help retailers keep track of produce, and track down batches quickly and efficiently when a problem is identified.

“Our automated warehouse management software is already making it easier to manage complex warehouse activities for all types of organisation and orders, boosting productivity, reducing costs, and increasing customer satisfaction. It allows stock to be tracked and recorded on the latest GPRS hand-held devices, while with remote labelling you can track and label inbound stock from anywhere in the world. This is going to become much more common.

“Logistics firms which are flexible and quick to adapt software like this will be best placed to capitalise on changing consumer demands, or legislation changes.”

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