Washington Fruit and Produce Co. Enhances Food Traceability with Key Distribution Center Upgrades
Intermec Case Study
Customer:For Washington Fruit and Produce, Co., one of Washington State’s largest shippers of apples, maintaining the most effective technology possible for distribution center (DC) operations is a constant requirement.
The company, which recently moved into a brand new state-of-the-art packaging and storage facility in Yakima, Wash., identified a need for a more streamlined pallet tagging and inventory management system that would not only help streamline daily operations, but also provide them with compliance to new food traceability initiatives required by the U.S. Government.
On a daily basis, they package fruit from orchard bins to size, shape, color, and quality-graded boxes for worldwide sales, and operate year-round and ship both domestically and export to Europe, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico and South America. They not only require extremely efficient operations, but rely on accuracy for all of our shipments.
The company was severely lacking a pallet tagging and inventory management system, which often resulted in the wrong pallets being shipped. Additionally, of the 250,000 boxes of apples the company usually has on hand, there was often a discrepancy in tracking what they actually had in the warehouse. This resulted in daily "house counts" to ensure inventory control, which proved timely and an ill use of employee time. They had handwritten sheets used on the loading dock for loading trucks were hard to read or many times were inaccurate as to what was actually loaded onto the truck.
Solution:Their new technology solution helped Washington Fruit become one of the first in the region to comply with the new food traceability compliance laws. The inventory at the new facility is tracked at the box level with all information about the fruit inside each box -- all the way down to what part of which orchard the fruit was picked from. This is done with serial numbers printed on each box, and they are the first to deploy this traceability to apples in the entire region. In case of a recall, they know exactly where every box was shipped and which orchard’s fruit it came from in case the problem was rooted there.