Kaizen methods can help continually improve produce cold chain processes, starting by addressing low-hanging fruit problems and then progressing to ever more advanced practices. Knowledge-based systems can provide situational awareness and help workers make smarter, data-driven decisions in real-time, taking into account changing circumstances on the ground, such as expected field harvesting rate/timing, pre-cooler capacity and queue length, and projected reefer truck arrivals, departures, and capacity.
Food & Agriculture
End-to-end Food & Beverage supply chain, including agriculture, processing, distribution, and retail
There is an opportunity to substantially improve the consistency of produce quality and shelf life by adopting modern process disciplines and quality management techniques. The produce industry can learn from successful manufacturers who have, for decades, used statistical process control and related process disciplines to continually reduce process variation, minimizing waste and reliably creating consistent products conforming to precise specifications.
Pallet-level monitoring enables a more intelligent approach to distribution—Intelligent distribution and FEFO inventory management (First Expired, First Out)—as well as providing the data needed to optimize end-to-end processes for maximum shelf life. Implementing these approaches can cut losses in half for retailers and growers.
Maintaining freshness of produce and other fresh products is challenging for grocers and their suppliers. Here we discuss why, and how some of these challenges can be solved.
The quality of fresh food is the prime determinant of where consumers decide to shop for their groceries. Here we discuss why that is so and the role of freshness in competition for grocery market share.
As the saying goes, “never let a good crisis go to waste.” Ironically, the industry’s response to the recent crises of E. coli contamination of romaine lettuce may delay rather than speed up implementation of traceability across produce supply chains.
With today’s technology tradeoffs, the optimal approach for managing the produce supply chain appears to be a hybrid, combining blockchain technologies with an off-chain Networked SaaS architecture. Here we describe an example of an end-to-end (grower-to-retailer) produce freshness and safety management system that takes a hybrid approach with blockchain.
We discuss blockchain and three other approaches to achieving traceability, as the foundation for providing provenance assurance and improved recall capabilities. This includes a discussion of the impact of FSMA, industry standards, and networked SaaS systems.
Improving produce freshness and quality requires a system bringing together the end-to-end temperature history of each pallet, knowledge of the temperature response of different varieties, capabilities to match each pallet’s condition-based expiration date with different customers’ requirements, and finally, prescribing simple actions to workers and supervisors to ensure the best match between remaining shelf life and customer need.
Freshness ‘blindness’ causes a lot of waste in produce supply chains. Here we explain the role of the Condition-based Expiration Date–a critical element to solving this problem. We look at what it takes to create a reliable and accurate algorithm that models deterioration of different varieties of produce exposed to different temperature histories.