PTI/FYI e-news: July/August 2012

What’s new with the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI)? This edition of PTI FYI includes:

In This Update

For more information, contact Jane Proctor at CPMA, Angela Fernandez at GS1 US, Ed Treacy at PMA and Dan Vaché at United Fresh

In This Update

Resources: New Scorecard to Assist Companies with PTI Implementation

A new self-reporting PTI Implementation Scorecard has been developed to assess and communicate the progress achieved by the produce industry in implementing PTI milestones. Scorecard results from members of PTI working groups are posted to the PTI website and include self-reported, voluntary data from these organizations. Companies not active in a PTI working group are also invited to fill out a scorecard on their implementation status and may access the scorecard here.

News: Charlie’s Produce: Path to PTI

Charlie's Produce is a full service produce company, supplying restaurants, grocery stores, institutions, wholesalers and the marine industry with a full range of conventional, organic and specialty produce, floral items and a huge assortment of fresh-cut, and custom-cut produce.

With $450 million in annual sales, Charlie’s recently set out to reengineer its Warehouse Management System (WMS) to be able to do PTI required electronic data capture, achieve operational efficiencies, improve the accuracy of voice pick codes and better manage its perpetual inventory.

The project required a disciplined approach with a thoughtful discovery phase of identifying challenges and issues to be addressed, and a solid commitment to implementing the changes necessary to accomplish project objectives.

“With our investment in hardware and software, we were able to reduce errors in mispicks and shorts which translates to $500,000 in savings every year,” said Casey Precourt, WMS/Traceability Project Manager at Charlie’s Produce. “We also increased our pick rates and production by five cases per hour adding another $200,000 a year to our return on our investment.”

By implementing the new WMS system, Charlie’s has also seen reduction in headcount ($60,000 per year), transformed the operation with paperless document processing for pick sheets and increased receiving production by eight percent on inbound cases without adding receivers or forklift drivers.

“The successful and timely implementation of PTI is a top priority for Charlie’s,” said Precourt. “We are working with our suppliers to communicate PTI milestone requirements so that together we can improve traceability and food safety for our businesses as well as for our customers.”

The following summarizes the progress Charlie’s Produce has made in implementing PTI:

Milestones 1-3

Milestones 4-5

Milestone 6

Milestone 7 (Planned for rollout in 2013)

Interview: JemD Farms’ Journey to Achieve Whole Chain Traceability

Adrian Abbott, Director of Operations, answers questions from PTI FYI about traceability implementation at JemD Farms.

Q: Tell us about JemD Farms.

A: JemD Farms is a produce company that provides retailers and consumers with a year-round supply of fresh fruit and vegetables from widespread greenhouse operations. It is also at the forefront of the Produce Traceability Initiative working to complete all seven PTI milestones for greenhouse-to-retailer traceability.

Q: What goals did JemD look to accomplish by implementing PTI milestones?

A: As a produce company JemD was eager to demonstrate its commitment to food safety, enhance its reputation for innovation and improve business operations by implementing all Produce Traceability Initiative Milestones across 100 percent of its operations by 2012.

Q: How has JemD worked to achieve traceability in its produce operations?

A: JemD Farms partnered with HarvestMark to implement case-level traceability by using GS1 Standards for end-to-end visibility from greenhouse to retailer. During harvest and packing, JemD receives precise production information about produce destined for its distribution centers, enabling it to collaborate more closely with retailers, prioritize shipping as needed, and better balance produce and shipments with customer demand.

Q: How has JemD benefitted from implementing GS1 Standards and the PTI milestones?

A: Produce traceability extends JemD Farms’ strong commitment to food safety by enabling the company to respond to a recall or withdrawal within seconds using its information management system. Furthermore the traceability solution gives JemD the visibility and information to decisively manage inventory and satisfy retailers’ needs better, easier and quicker.

To read more, download a full copy of the JemD Farms case study here.

Case Study: Tracing Grapes from Chilean Field to U.S. Grocery

A new case study, Tracing Grapes from Chilean Fields to U.S. Grocery outlines the implementation of PTI labeling and communication standards for imported table grapes as they travel from Chile to retail stores across the southern United States. For additional case studies and pilot test findings, click here.

Resources: PTI Company Contacts Listed on Website

To facilitate PTI implementation and trading partner collaboration, a new section has been developed for the Tools and Resources page listing company contacts responsible for PTI at Ahold USA, Charlie’s Produce, Costco, Food Lion, Pro*Act, Publix, Walmart, Wegmans, and Whole Foods. Many of these organizations have also authorized the PTI Communications Working Group to post their vendor communication. If you would like to add your company information to this section, please contact any of the PTI administrating organizations’ contacts listed here.

Resources: Produce-Specific EDI Now Spoken Here

The Produce Marketing Association has developed a guide on electronic data interchange (EDI). This produce-specific EDI guide identifies all the standard terms that apply to fresh produce products and locations. It also includes industry-specific examples and considerations, as well as best practices for using those standards to synchronize data between fresh produce suppliers and buyers.

Download the free guide – the “Implementation Guide for Fresh Produce Data Standards and Synchronization” – from PMA’s online Resource Center. The guide was developed with input from industry representatives of the association’s Supply Chain Efficiencies Committee, whose members hail from across the fresh produce supply chain. For more information, contact Ed Treacy, PMA’s supply chain efficiencies staff team lead.