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++ Cold Storage - 3rd Party Fresh Food

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					                                             COLD STORAGE




                             Traceability, Productivity and Compliance
                             Labeling Requirements (such as GS-1) are driving
                             the fresh food industry to use barcode technology—at
                             the dock-side, in the field, at the production line and in
                             storage.

Receiving                     CHALLENGE

                             Being in the fresh food business means getting short shelf-life
Inventory Management         products to market as quickly and cost effectively as possible.
                             Wholesalers and retailers are becoming more demanding
Case & Pallet Labeling
                             and the processors, in order to comply with new require-
Lot Traceability             ments, are using bar code technology in increasing numbers.

                             SOLUTION
Shipment Verification
                             Alaskan fish processors have been using SIMBA software for
Automated Bill of Lading &   over 25 years. It was designed in the late 1980’s with the
Manifests                    purpose of reporting daily production to management and
                             sales. Since then, the system has expanded to include print-
                             ing compliance labels, tracking inventory, shipment verifica-
                             tion, and complete lot traceability for food safety.

                             FLEXIBILITY
                             The fresh food industry encompasses everything from fish to
                             produce to meat and poultry to berries and citrus fruits. Each
                             product has its own unique challenges for production, han-
                             dling and food safety. The following is a discussion of avail-
                             able and scalable solutions for cold storage companies when
                             handling fresh food products.
 FRESH FOOD STORAGE & TRACEABILITY—DYNAMIC SYSTEMS INC.            www.a-barcode.com


Cold Storage companies are most often            request. No processing or commin-
managing products owned by their cus-            gling is required. Traceability is more
tomers. This “temporary custody” of fresh        simple—keep track of the drums by lot
product includes the requirement for con-        until shipped and report to the manufac-
firming item/quantity/location, for lot trace-   turer.
ability, for maintaining freshness, and for
                                                 SOLUTION
shipment verification.
                                                 The software solution for Scenario 1 may
                                                 include:

                                                 Barcode Labeling: Upon receipt, the
                                                 facility may print a barcode label that ties
                                                 to the pertinent details in an inventory
                                                 management database or on an excel
                                                 spreadsheet.       The database details
                                                 could include grower, lot number, prod-
                                                 uct code, date received, storage location.

                                                 Inventory Control: If the drum is within
                                                 the facility, a simple scan of the barcode
                                                 label and entry (or scan) of the new loca-
SCENARIO 1: Receive/Store/Ship
                                                 tion code updates the inventory software
In this example the Cold Storage company         database.
is an inventory location for the product
                                                 Palletizing: Some product traceability
owned by their customer and performs no
                                                 and inventory management software so-
value-added functions.
                                                 lutions provide for accumulating units
The facility may be the first point of owner-    (drums, cartons, etc.) onto a pallet and
ship of the product for their customer. For      tracking all units with one “pallet label”.
example, a berry jam manufacturer pur-
                                                 Shipping & Shipment Verification: Once
chases cooked berries from a number of
                                                 the owner of the goods requests a ship-
local growers. The drums of berries are
                                                 ment, that transaction may be captured
shipped directly to the 3rd party cold stor-
                                                 in the software and, in more advanced
age facilities who hold the product in a
                                                 systems, the Manifest and Bill of Lading
temperature-controlled environment until
                                                 may be automatically produced.
they are needed for a production run.

The manufacturer has required the cold
storage facility to report upon receipt of the
drums - which grower sent the berries,
what is the product code and quantity? -
and to ship specific drums to them upon
    FRESH FOOD STORAGE & TRACEABILITY—DYNAMIC SYSTEMS INC.        www.a-barcode.com


USING BARCODE FOR SCENARIO 1                    commingle lots or perform any process-
SOLUTIONS                                       ing may chose a fairly straight-forward
                                                Inventory Management Software. A cou-
Print Barcode Labels/Store on Database:
                                                ple of features to look for:
This solution is the simplest and includes 3
pieces.                                         •   The ability to store an item in multiple
                                                    locations. Not all inventory manage-
•    Barcode Label Printer:    Prices can
                                                    ment software allows for this, and a
     range from a low of $500 up to $4,000
                                                    problem can occur if there isn’t
                                                    enough space in a specific location
                                                    for the quantity on hand.

                                                •   The ability to track lots. Again, this is
                                                    not always available and will be criti-
                                                    cal for any cold storage company with
                                                    traceability requirements.

                                                Inventory management software has a
                                                wide range in price also. It can be pur-
     depending on the number of labels
                                                chased from as low as $2,000 to highs of
     printed in a time period. Most require-
                                                $500,000 or more for those that have
     ments can be addressed for about
                                                advanced warehouse management fea-
     $1400.
                                                tures.
•    Label Design Software: A single-user
                                                When choosing mobile barcode devices
     version that will allow printing from an
                                                think about your environment.
     excel spreadsheet or database will run
     about $450.                                The least expensive
                                                mobile pda’s are the
•    Stand-alone or networked PC: The PC
                                                most fragile. Ware-
     doesn’t have to be very powerful. It
                                                house locations are
     just needs to have a USB port for the
                                                notoriously hard on
     printer and minimal memory/storage.
                                                equipment, so you will want a hardware
This solution is the least expensive, the       solution that has a high IP rating. (IP65
easiest to install and the easiest to use. It   is sealed from dust and sprayed water;
does not address the need to record in-         ask about the “drop test” and get one
ventory locations, palletize or verify ship-    that can withstand multiple 6’ drops to
ment information. It does provide lot trace-    concrete).
ability as long as a lot number is captured
                                                If the mobile devices will be used in
in the database.
                                                freezers it’s best to get ones that are
Moving to the more advanced solutions, a        “non-condensing”.     This means they
Cold Storage facility that is not required to   won’t fog up when being used.
   FRESH FOOD STORAGE & TRACEABILITY—DYNAMIC SYSTEMS INC.          www.a-barcode.com


SCENARIO 2: COMMINGLING OR                      is recalled, so are Lots A&C in their en-
PROCESSING AND STORING BY                       tirety. This can get expensive.
LOCATION AND DATE                               A better method is by using a carton
                                                tracking scheme. The software accumu-
Commingling is when product from differ-
                                                lates carton data, defining which cartons
ent lots (perhaps even different species)
                                                contain which Lots. Then when Lot B is
are mixed together in a new carton. This
                                                contaminated, only
can happen when the Cold Storage facility
                                                cartons B, A/B and
is asked to complete an order fulfillment
                                                B/C are recalled.
function for their customer. Processing
                                                This      tracking
happens when the facility actually alters
                                                method (re-boxing
the product (cuts into fillets, adds ingredi-
                                                lots by carton)
ents, etc.) To maintain lot control and
                                                would also pertain
traceability, the software used must have
                                                to any recalled in-
re-boxing or commingling functionality.
                                                gredients in proc-
You will find this only in software specially
                                                essed foods.
designed for fresh food.
                                                For a Cold Storage company, the risk of
TRACK BY LOT OR BY CARTON?
                                                a cooler or freezer malfunction must also
There are two methods of maintaining            be considered. If that happens, the car-
traceability: (1) track the lots as they move   tons in that location at the date of the
through the supply chain; (2) track lots        malfunction should be tracked and de-
within cartons as the cartons move              stroyed.    Again, unless the lots are
through the supply chain.                       tracked within each carton, the risk of
                                                having to recall the entire lot rather than
If a simple lot tracking method is used, as     the affected cartons is a real possibility.
lots are commingled, all the included lots
are considered contaminated in the case         THE IMPORTANCE           OF    SHIPMENT
of a recall. For example:                       VERIFICATION

Lot B is Commingled with a portion of Lots      Every company has had shipment dis-
A&C (see diagram). Because there is no          putes. Ideally it would be possible to re-
way in a straight-forward lot tracking          tain proof of what was contained in a
scheme to differentiate which portions of       specific shipment. Using a method of
Lots A&C have been commingled, if Lot B         shipment verification (sometimes called
                                                “van loading”) solves this problem.

                                                As cartons are accumulated onto pallets
                                                and loaded onto vans, each is accounted
                                                for using a barcode scanning application.
                                                Each carton number is assigned to a van
                                                and included on the manifest.
 FRESH FOOD STORAGE & TRACEABILITY—DYNAMIC SYSTEMS INC.               www.a-barcode.com


USING BARCODE FOR SCENARIO 2                    .Other key features to look for:
SOLUTIONS
                                                •   Ease of use—make sure the system
A system that address the Lot tracking re-          can accumulate attributes, print bar-
quirements of Scenario 2 will include all of        code labels and track cartons & lots
the features of the inventory management            without too many key strokes
system in Scenario 1 plus the following.
                                                •   Speed & Flexibility—collecting that
                                                    much information can take time if the
                                                    data collection scheme isn’t efficient.

                                                •   Track by Carton—we’ve already dis-
                                                    cussed how tracking lots within car-
                                                    tons will save money.

                                                •   Shipment Verification—record ship-
                                                    ments by carton and van number to
                                                    satisfy any disputes.

                                                CONCLUSION
Printing the Carton Label: A carton label
                                                The use of barcode in Cold Storage envi-
may be as simple as a serialized number,
                                                ronments can be key to a well-run and
as specific as a GS-1 label, and as com-
                                                profitable business.       Solutions range
plex as a Costco-compliant label.
                                                from simple to very complex, and from
Whichever is the case, find an inventory        inexpensive to over $1 million. It is im-
management system that allows for the           portant that you list the key elements that
most complex label you can envision.            will be required for your system to both
                                                satisfy your customers and provide you
Boxing, Re-boxing and Commingling:              with access to the information that you
The requirements for Commingling and Re         need to run your business at the highest
-boxing are unique to products that have        level of efficiency, accuracy and profit-
the potential of recontamination or recall      ability.
(fresh foods, drugs). It’s important to find    Learn more at:
a software solution that accounts for these
                                                http :// www. a- b ar c ode . c om /s of twar e/f oo d-
situations by tracking expiration dates and
                                                traceability/
lot numbers—and that has a tracking
scheme that mitigates losses in the case        Call 800-342-3999 ext. 240
of a recall. The ability to track products by
various attributes (size, grade, owner, etc.)
is also unique and important in the fresh
food industry

				
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