Food Logistics

OCT 2014

Food Logistics serves the entire food supply chain industry with targeted content for manufacturers, retailers, and distributors.

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Page 34 of 39 FOOD LOGISTICS • OCTOBER 2014 35 New software integrates processes Sartori Co., a cheese manufacturer based in Plymouth, Wis., selected a label software solution from TEKLYNX last year in response to the need to manage more products. Multiple custom labels are required which vary in size, type and weight. The company also creates labels for both internal and external use. Pallet tags are used in the warehouse to track inventory quantity and location, while one-off labels are created to communicate specific information to differ- ent teams. Sartori worked with Waukesha, Wis.- based reseller Miles Data Technologies and TEKLYNX to reconstruct its labeling process and developed new ways to incorporate busi- ness data from their ERP system into their label designs. A user now simply has to scan a barcode on the work order and all relevant informa- tion is pulled into the label design. This pro- cess, which previously took up to a minute per job, has been reduced to seconds, accord- ing to TEKLYNX. While barcodes allow companies to man- age inventory efficiently, RFID offers an alternative data capture and identification technology. RFID uses radio waves to trans- fer data from an electronic tag, called an RFID tag, through a reader to identify and track the object. RFID tags can be read from several meters away and beyond the line of sight of the reader and can hold more infor- mation than a barcode. While RFID tags bring new capa- bilities to managing and controlling inventory, the technology is more expen- sive. Many food and beverage supply chain managers believe that barcodes provide the necessary functionality. Many of the newer barcode printers have the ability to also encode RFID tags. From a functional point of view, there are three principal drivers of using both barcode and RFID, according to Datamax-Oneil, a pro- vider of label printers and software: 1) When the environment requires both visual and encoded data; 2) When more memory and/ or greater security is needed; 3) When non- line-of-sight tracking and visual data tracking are both needed. While RFID began as an inventory control technology, the RFID tag's ability to gather more information than other tools has given it a role as way to control foodborne illness. Infratab Inc., which provides temperature and shelf life monitoring sensors, allows users to track temperatures and the condition of perishables using RFID tags. Infratab sensors can track temperature by case and even item level. Infratab's data collection software covers a wide range of functions from temperature mapping of rooms and transport vehicles to fine tuning best-used-by dates, monitoring shelf life, and correlating product life with quality assessments. The company's predic- tive analytic reports enable analysis of data, budgeting and forecasting, matching sales to inventory freshness, and score carding suppli- ers and processes. Infratab is currently intro- ducing near-field communication (NFC) tags for mobile phones. "NFC enables small handlers, service providers and users to know how fresh a perishable is," says Terry Myers, company president. The proliferation of labeling requirements throughout food and beverage supply chains means label software solutions are playing a more important role than ever before. ◆ Label printers and software allow compa- nies to print barcodes on clamshell labels. For more information: DATAMAX-ONEIL , 800-816-9649, DYNAMIC SYSTEMS INC. , 800-342-1662, INFRATAB INC. , 805-986-8880, MILES DATA TECHNOLOGIES , 800-272-9013, NICELABEL , 888-894-6423, SUPPLY CHAIN SERVICES , 888-231-9452, TEKLYNX , 888-629-4444, ZEBRA TECHNOLOGIES , 866-230-9494,

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