The Produce Traceability Initiative is in place to ensure the produce industry is effective in their method to trace products back to their origin, and assist with standardizing the process for producers and consumers.  This allows products to be traced throughout the supply chain and reduces the time it takes to recall products that have been suspect to have an issue and allows good products to remain on the shelf.  Large companies and distributors have the capital and resources to implement sophisticated systems for traceability, but what about the family run grower or distribution center that may not have the capital to invest in such a system?  For small to mid-size companies, the traceability process might be a manual process.  In other cases, growers may be timid to use new technology to streamline their process not realizing the benefit to their business.  This means that workers are spending hours manually marking their boxes and product and owners are incurring additional costs and lacking efficiencies.  Also, there is potential for human error utilizing the manual process in marking product and keeping records that are manually recorded which could be detrimental to the supply chain.
A way to improve the traceability process for the small to mid-size grower and distribution center is to take advantage of printing systems.  Not only do these systems offer flexibility, accuracy, and efficiencies in their packing and inventory tracking process, but they also help these businesses comply with the Produce Traceability Initiative.  Another benefit to the entire supply chain is that it provides real time access.  If there is a product issue growers, distributors, and retailers can quickly and efficiently locate a lot, know its origin, and remove from the supply chain.  Mobile printing systems can be compact, low maintenance, and easy to operate.  Employees no longer have to manually mark boxes and products, and can print labels with a mobile system that is on a cart and can be brought to the product packed on pallets and marked with a sticker that includes all traceability information including bar codes to identify the product.  Printing systems are also used on the production line and as long as it’s easy use and will not affect the production cycle growers will be willing to implement the systems and software to provide more visibility.  Not only does this solution provide traceability and ability to meet Produce Traceability requirements, growers are finding that this solution provides the accuracy they need for inventory controls and can even be used to track harvest yields.  This simple solution provides the tool needed to keep up with consumer requirements and create efficiencies in the product business.
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Lindsey Fandozzi

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