SG Systems LLC - FreshPoint installs PTI Compliant Vantage Produce Weighing, GTIN Labeling & Traceability System

November 26, 2010 (PRLEAP.COM) Lifestyle News
Once again, SG Systems are leading the way with their production traceability solutions, this time with North America's Top Fresh Produce Distributor, FreshPoint.

FreshPoint has 31 produce distribution locations across North America . The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sysco Corporation a Fortune 100 company and North America's leading and most respected foodservice distributor.

With recent food traceability scares affecting thousands of US food companies (bakeries, repackaging and processing based) - food companies are faced with a choice as to how to address the traceability legislation from the incoming raw ingredients of products all the way through their process to finished and repackaged goods. This can be an expensive problem to address if companies take the traditional and inadequate 'paper-trail' route.

Freshpoints' Management Team looked at the PTI (Produce Traceability Initiative) in a positive light and the company's President and CEO, Brian Sturgeon comments on his approach to the problem 'food safety and traceability is paramount to us and our customers and we are always exploring new techniques and systems available to ensure that not only are we leading the industry in this area but we are delivering the safest products available.'

FreshPoint decided to partner up with Dallas based SG Systems LLC during their selection for a PTI Solution. SG Systems is the US branch of Stevens Group Ltd in the UK. The Stevens Group have over 20 years experience of developing food traceability solutions for all applications and have now achieved over 1000 installations within food companies worldwide.

This combination of experience from SG systems combined with the drive and enthusiasm for production efficiency from FreshPoint, has produced a remarkable traceability system which complies with even the most stringent legislation whilst delivering a ROI through improved yield at the Quality Control Points.

The Solution

The Vantage Produce Traceability and GTIN Labeling Solution is a combination of hardware and software modules which integrate with the companies ERP System, providing seamless PTI compliance and control to the production floor where produce, such as tomatoes, are repackaged into new customer specific boxes. It starts by a download from the FreshPoint standard AS400 based ERP solution. This download provides the Vantage shop floor workstations with information relating to customer orders, delivery dates, items ordered and available inventory to deduct from. The workstations take the form of touch screen Vantage production line Terminals, GTIN barcode scanners, label printers and a heavy duty platform scale.

When the line supervisors select the relevant customer sales order from the Vantage touch screen display, it details how many boxes of a particular product have been ordered. Each box of tomatoes is then filled to a target weight (forcing the Operator to add more products if the package is underweight a legislative issue surrounding minimum weight. If the box is too heavy, then product is removed until within the target preventing unnecessary product giveaway). Only when the box is exactly within the weighing tolerance will a label be printed to apply to the box.

Each label is unique and fully traceable. The label displays information such as the Lot Number, Country of Origin Code, Customer Name, Use By Date & Customer Details. As each label is generated, the Vantage System is adding product to the customer order to enable the Management Team to have real time production information based on actual throughput.

The Tightest Possible Traceability

Being based on the well proven Vantage traceability system (which originally started life as a Formula Control Scale for the baking and food processing markets), the reporting package has the ability to pinpoint which Lot Numbers have been delivered to which customers and when all in real time. Simply enter the Lot Number into the PC and it will generate a 'product dispatch' report giving emergency contact details in the event of a product recall.

The reports package also enables visibility of operator performance, production throughput, and production yield whilst generating no additional workload for the site staff.

Brian Sturgeon comments on the Vantage System "To ensure the highest level of food safety for our customers we needed a traceability system which collected its data from real events on the production floor. SG Systems have provided us with a product which we have taken from an initial discussion to a working solution within a rapid timeframe. Above all, the system is simple to use, easy to modify and popular with my team. We piloted the Vantage on one production line in Dallas and have implemented the system at our other production areas throughout the country."