Prioritizing Quality & Quantity  | A Quality-first Approach
Blog

March 16, 2020

Prioritizing Quality & Quantity | A Quality-first Approach

Keeping Quality Top-of-Mind When Delivering at Scale

By Joe Sheeran

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring the challenges and solutions involved in upholding quality throughout the global supply chain. In this, our first entry of our “Prioritizing Quality & Quantity” blog series, we take a look at the food and beverage supply chain from a quality perspective.

We’ve all heard the cliché, “quality over quantity.” Emphasizing that quantity cannot come at the expense of quality, this age-old saying is particularly poignant in today’s global reality, where high volumes of products are produced, purchased, and consumed each day. Never is quality more important than in the food supply chain, as millions of ingredients travel from farms into manufacturing environments and then are distributed to stores and customers around the world. At every stage of this process, it is vitally important that scalability does not come at the expense of food freshness and integrity.

Yet, maintaining quality from field to fork requires complete, granular insight into food genealogy —a tall order for today’s global manufacturing environment. In order to prioritize quality while producing high quantities of food items, manufacturers require a traceability solution that can record every item from where it’s sourced, to where it’s packaged, and sold, storing insight into origin, expiration, condition, and more.

In order to prioritize quality while producing high quantities of food items,

manufacturers require a traceability solution that can record every item

from where it’s sourced, to where it’s packaged and sold.

With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the three stages of a food item’s journey, noting where quality must be upheld without compromise:

Stage 1: Farm

While oftentimes manufacturers think of quality beginning in the factory, it starts the moment an ingredient is harvested. Here, food items must be critically evaluated to ensure they uphold standards for integrity. At the same time, “quality” does not mean the same thing to every consumer. Rather, certain consumers prioritize non-GMO, organic, fair trade, and other factors that begin at the farm level. As such, upholding quality requires farmers to assign unique identities to each food item that allow for supply chain-wide traceability. These serialized identities will later be correlated to a digital database that will house granular data regarding the food item’s history.

The Quality-First Takeaway: In order to prioritize quality at the farm level, manufacturers require a traceability solution that can extend to the very beginning of a food item’s lifecycle, utilizing advanced serialization to track and store data about ingredients from the very onset.

Stage 2: Factory

Next, quality must be considered on the factory level. Oftentimes, it is in manufacturing environments where the greatest quality compromises occur—ranging from the introduction of foreign materials to exposure to undisclosed allergens to unsafe processing or storage temperatures. These issues are only aggregated by the sheer scale of operations, where factory systems operate in separate silos, ultimately allowing batches to fall through system gaps. Not only does this introduce the potential for undetected contamination, it also prevents manufacturers from being able to identify compromised food items before they reach store shelfs, resulting in costly and drawn out recalls.

The Quality-First Takeaway: In order to prioritize quality at the factory level, manufacturers require a traceability solution that can seamlessly integrate into ERP and factory systems and pull essential data from all areas into one central location, providing granular insight into product quality. At the same time, the system should enable forward and backward traceability, empowering manufacturers to proactively intercede in the unlikely event of a recall.

Stage 3: Fork

Last, quality must be considered until the moment a food item reaches a consumer’s plate. Today’s consumers desire an unprecedented level of insight into the food items they purchase and they prioritize brands they trust can reliably provide this information. In turn, a critical aspect of upholding food quality at the fork level is extending traceability to the consumer. Here, consumers at a single scan can trace products back to the factory level—ensuring there are no recalls or instances of contamination—and to the farm—verifying that planting and harvesting conditions are in line with claims listed on packaging.

The Quality-First Takeaway: In order to prioritize quality at the fork level, manufacturers must leverage a best-in-class traceability solution that can extend insight to the consumer level, connecting stakeholders with relevant data, accessed from a highly secure database, to build loyalty and trust.

Taking a Quality-First Approach Throughout the Food Lifecycle

In today’s global landscape, where food is often grown in one location, shipped to far off destinations for manufacturing, and distributed to stores around the world for final purchase, maintaining quality standards is more challenging than ever before. To uphold quality in this fast-paced environment, manufacturers requires a global traceability solution able to track and document food items from field to fork. That’s where ProLinc® comes into play. As an advanced SaaS-based product security and traceability solution, ProLinc establishes a serialized identity for every ingredient, product, and batch, storing data in a secure, Blockchain-enabled database for greater insight and control while providing an all-in-one view of data.

Want to prioritize quality at every stage of your food’s lifecycle? Talk to an expert today to learn more about how Ashton Potter can enable end-to-end traceability across your complex food and beverage environment.

Tags: , , ,