Wednesday, July 5, 2017

FSMA roll out is making automated inventory systems essential

FSMA roll out is making Automated Inventory Systems Essential

With FSMA and Safe Food for Canadians rollouts in progress, many produce companies are getting your facilities in order. This includes analyzing potential hazards, creating food safety plans that detail how you will mitigate those hazards, and getting your traceability systems aligned with industry standards.
One of the key reporting requirements in common to both is the need to provide lot shipment and traceability data within 24 hrs of the request by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). This is virtually impossible in manual systems, which is stirring interest in automated inventory systems. Case labeling with GS1 Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN) and Lot Number is a required to support visibility throughout the entire supply chain. To learn more about GS1 case labeling see the following links (http://www.producetraceability.org/ & https://www.gs1us.org ).
Tracking shipments are manageable when shipping full pallets, but can be a big challenge for less than pallet or mixed pallet shipments.  When you add the requirement to record Critical Tracking Events such as, receipts, packing, processing, and repacking you quickly realize the manual systems you have used for years can’t get you where you need to be.

The software is the key.

You need software to help you track of all this information.  Some of the key functions of this software are:
  1. Manage Inventory and provide visibility to sales and operations
  2. Record key transactions of critical events(CTE’s) such as product receipt, transformation (packing/repacking/value-add processes), and shipping
  3. Print bar code labels for case and pallet
  4. Provide date in support electronic transactions
  5. Provide traceability information from receipt to shipment
  6. Provide recall tools to assist 
    • In mock recalls
    • Actual recalls

 As you start looking at options there are a few things to consider:
  1. Is the system easy enough for workers to reliably and consistently enter data?
  2. What types of internal resources are needed?  IT Staff? Servers? Training staff? Help Desk?
  3. Does the system track lots to cases and pallets using  mobile computers to capture real-time of data at the point of activity, or require operators  to  key in after the fact
  4. Does it support produce industry specific needs?
  5. Is it available on demand from mobile devices as well as PC’s?


If you don’t have an in-house IT staff, you may want to consider advantages of cloud-based solutions. For one,
you don’t have to buy, maintain and support an in-house server.  A second is most cloud software is subscription based, moving your costs from a depreciable asset to an operating cost. Talk to your accountant to better understand the implications for your company. A third advantage is the software provider maintains the training and support staff so you don’t have to; when you get new staff you can point them to the training materials or arrange personalized pieces of training.
If you have in-house IT staff, who can provide and support the network hardware and services listed above an on- premise solutions can be considered. Either way, finding the system that best fits your staffing and business needs is the first step to successfully meeting both your internal and regulatory needs.

© RedLine Solutions Inc. 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to RedLine Solutions and there is the inclusion of a link to www.traceabilitynerd.com

Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Checklist For Selecting The Right Mobile Device

Enterprise Mobility: You Want A Checklist For Selecting The Right Mobile Device? YOU GOT IT!

From faster barcode scanning to easier collaboration, mobility is having a huge impact on enterprise operations. But choosing the right devices for your specific circumstances is not always easy.

Knowing precisely what you need upfront will ensure your organization doesn’t commit investment to devices that simply aren’t up to the task in hand.

Before choosing a new device, here is a checklist of 10 key considerations to help ensure you get everything you need.

1. Security
Not all devices come with operating systems (OS) that can cope with enterprise security demands. For example, consumer-grade operating systems may have features such as voice and cloud software that undermine corporate privacy and security policies.

2. Training
Will your workers adopt their new technology or use workarounds because it is difficult to use? OS familiarity can play a big role. As can training. But if your devices have to be replaced regularly then training costs can soar. The time it takes to create new training, time to complete the course and hours away from the job all mean extra expense.

3. Battery
Multiple shifts or days spent offsite require devices that can go the distance. Battery power is important. So is the ability to easily swap out batteries with fully charged replacements to prevent any significant downtime.

4. Accessories
Being able to charge a series of devices or batteries together, rather that individually, could reduce the number of power outlets you use. Also, if your devices need to be replaced regularly, remember you will probably need to purchase new cradles and chargers too.

5. WLAN
A strong wireless connection can mean the difference between frustrated workers and faster workflows. Aim for devices that can offer enterprise grade 5 GHz Wi-Fi without having to invest in extra access points.

6. Scanning
Holdups in simple processes such as bar code scanning can undermine your whole operations. Capturing data quickly is one thing. You may also need devices that can deal with damaged or poorly printed barcodes.

7. Durability
Drops, spills, dust, bad weather—they can all affect your devices. Durable designs that can withstand these adverse conditions will prevent the cost of failed devices and downtime. Check the drop specifications, tumble specifications and IP sealing rating on the devices you review.

8. Voice
Keeping your people connected is just as much about voice contact as it is about data transfer. Devices that can combine both will cut the need to invest in other comms devices, like walkie-talkies. If you can integrate PBX telephony with Wi-Fi then you can also reduce call charges.

9. Lifecycle
Choosing a device that has to be upgraded too often can result in a fleet of mixed generation devices. This leads to significant training and support complexities, as well as extra capital outlay. In addition, you may find the accessories and chargers for new models are not always backwards compatible.

10. Support
Keeping a spares pool can be costly. So check whether there are support plans that can provide you with quick replacements when devices do break or fail. These can cover everything from normal wear and tear through to accidental breakage and should be customizable to suit your operations.


Get the full details before making your choice. Use our guide to Selecting the Right Device >>

We hope that it is helpful and if you have any questions on anything in the blog or want more information please feel free to call the RedLine Solutions team at 408-562-1700 or email us at sales@redlinesolutions.com. Information provided here by courtesy of Zebra Technologies. 

© RedLine Solutions Inc. 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to RedLine Solutions and there is the inclusion of a link to www.traceabilitynerd.com

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Why track product locations?

Why track product locations?

Knowing your product locations pays big dividends for most companies shipping perishable goods. After all, with perishable goods product rotation is key to managing quality and minimizing waste or donation due to product aging.  There are other benefits of knowing you product locations that impact the rest of the organization:
  1. Sales- Your sales team needs to know what is in stock and available to sell.  In food products retail and food service companies orders are often restocking stores or restaurants. When you short ship they can fulfill their orders, which means their stores or restaurants may run out of product. This creates unhappy customers who have alternate options. At a minimum short ships damage the goodwill of your customers; repeated occurrences will often cost you their business.
  2. Finance- When your staff can’t find the ordered products they may need to substitute another product.  If the customer has not pre-authorized the substitution, you could be facing product rejections or chargebacks. In addition to issuing credits, your people are spending time/money on resolving the issues.

 How you track product locations will vary by the size of your facility and nature of your business. For instance if you pack and ship everything you receive each day, your bulk product is probably all in one or two rooms and your packed product has shipped or is staged for shipment the next day so product locations are easy to see. As the size of the facility and amount of product you store grows, so goes the level of the systems needed to keep track of your inventory and locations. All systems are as good as their last update, having a fast electronic way to record inventory updates is ideal.
That is not to say a manual system can’t work, it just means the level of effort to maintain accurate inventory is high. I once visited a table grape facility a few years ago that had inventory workers stationed in the hallway and when one or more pallets or grapes were brought into or removed from the room the worker grabbed the clipboard hanging outside the door and wrote down the pallet number and quantity stored or removed.  
At the end of the day someone would key this into their inventory system.  The customer did have accurate inventory at least once per day, but the amount of time spent managing the system was higher than the value derived.

By moving to an electronic inventory system that updates inventory in real-time, you position your company for higher accuracy, less donation or waste, and ultimately higher customer satisfaction.  What does system that look like? It starts by having inventory software that can be updated in real-time, providing access to that system to those whose jobs are affected:
  • Sales needs to know what can be sold and shipped today
  • Operations needs to know where product is for fulfillment
  • Quality needs to know the again history to ensure the product matches the customers’ expectations


© RedLine Solutions Inc. 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to RedLine Solutions and there is the inclusion of a link to www.traceabilitynerd.com


RedLine Donate to Local School

RedLine Solutions Greatly Benefits Local Students with Cash Donation

Recently RedLine Solutions donated $7500 to the Santa Clara High School science department. RedLine Solutions’ CEO @toddbaggett feels it is important to give back to the community and has supported many good causes over the years. Todd also recently gave his time to present job options to students, during the 8th grade career day, at the local Buchser Middle School in Santa Clara, CA.
Todd had heard that SCHS had a need for some vital physics supplies to enable the advanced placement (AP) physics curriculum and was moved to action. The majority of the SCHS donation went towards physics supplies including such items as a sonic flame tube, rotational turntable, variable inertia kit, rotational inertia set and others. The RedLine team got the opportunity to catch up with Chris Gallick, a math and physics teacher at SCHS, and asked him about how some of this equipment was being used, as well as its benefits to the students and staff alike.
Chris explained, “the AP class needs to cover an extensive curriculum in quite a short period and to have the aid of props, like the sonic flame tube, really help the students get a faster grasp of main concepts than they would otherwise. It is often the case that though we show images and diagrams of a topic, the students do not make an instant connection between these. When we have interactive props, we enable what I call “physics in action” as in the case of the sonic flame tube. I adjust a standing wave going into the tube the students see the impact right in front of their eyes. Ultimately the students get a clearer and faster understanding of the topics, and this helps us more effectively address the curriculum requirements.”
We also asked Chris which piece of equipment, supported by the donation, do the students think is the coolest. He stated, “Actually the students liked the Sonic Flame Tube the best, as do I. In fact, when I first set this up it was so compelling that some of the students took their phones out, to take pictures, and share with their friends, which is great!”
Lastly, we asked Chris if other classes also benefited from having the equipment on hand. Chris concluded, “Of course any level physics class can benefit from having access to these props. We also just built a STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, and Math) lab on the campus, putting an emphasis on scientific inquiry based investigation and exploration. Lots of times when a student has to explore and investigate a phenomenon, with no experience, it is tough for them. So this type of prop helps students comprehend and solidify their understanding, no matter what level they are being taught.”

© RedLine Solutions Inc. 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to RedLine Solutions and there is the inclusion of a link to www.traceabilitynerd.com

RedLine Solutions, working with grower shippers for 20 years

RedLine Solutions Celebrate 20 Years of Customer Solutions

RedLine Solutions, was excited to move to a new facility, which coincides with the company celebrating 20 years of serving its customers. RedLine continues its focus on developing exception value for its customers, as it looks into the next 20 year with cutting edge new products like their new MyProduce.com solution, a Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA) compliant, web-based, warehouse management system for the fresh produce segment.
In 1997 Todd Baggett, the CEO of RedLine Solutions, founded the company with a goal to provide exceptional customer service, with integrity and dependability. Since then RedLine has grown an extensive client base, across the USA and Canada. Today, RedLine Solutions continues to build strong long-term relationships, strengthening its portfolio of inventory and productivity software solutions, through close collaboration with its customers and extensive investment in its in-house development team. They also partner with leading hardware manufacturers, enabling comprehensive solution offerings for their clients.
“When I started RedLine Solutions, my goal was to bring together the best software, hardware, and professional service team to create complete solutions that deliver unparalleled value for our customers. Twenty years later this is our reality. The cornerstone or our success is our amazing staff who really care about our customer’s success,” said Todd Baggett CEO.






© RedLine Solutions Inc. 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to RedLine Solutions and there is the inclusion of a link to www.traceabilitynerd.com

Read how Exp Group LLC increased their inventory traceability

Exp Group LLC. increases inventory traceability using RedLine Cooler


The Exp. Group. LLC. is a multinational organization headquartered in Glen Rock, New Jersey, with operations in several countries. With more than 40 years in the business, they supply world class fresh produce to New York, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Puerto Rico, Canada, México and South America. They grow all their tropical fruits and vegetables naturally, at their own farms in the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and South America, assuring that they can provide their customers with a 100% quality guarantee.
Business Challenges 
Before bringing the RedLine Solutions Cooler software into the business, the Exp Group was operating a 21 room storage facility on site at their New Jersey location. Planning significant long-term growth, they were looking at ways to develop higher levels of operational efficiencies that supported their goals. At this time, they were using manual systems to track and manage the movement of their inventory, which left them with several managerial challenges including constantly second guessing the volumes that they had on hand. Managing thousands of containers of produce a year, they needed a way to achieve better inventory visibility without necessarily increasing their head count.


The Exp. Group team did a lot of research to assess potential system providers. The VP of Public Relations for Exp. Group LLC, Anthony Serafino said, ”We were not only looking for the right solution, but we also wanted to work with an organization that supported us well, and that we could grow with over time.” He concluded, “Our team all agreed that RedLine Solutions provided the best path forward for us.”

Goals For A New System 
The Exp. Group had several main objectives for their new software system: • To provide instant access to accurate inventory information • To increase efficiencies within their operation • To streamline the organization to support growth without the need for headcount increases • To enable a seamless integration with their Famous Software grower accounting system • To work with a collaborative partner that treated them well, and that they could grow with over time Serafino explained, “We wanted our inventory to be clear cut, and this is what we have now.” He continued “The system provides the ultimate in traceability, not previously seen by us in our industry!”
Meeting The Customer's Needs
The Exp. Group explained that they expected the software to have a significant impact on their business and as such, they were concerned about the timeline and challenges that they may experience during the installation and training period. Serafino explained, “I was very wary about the transitional period, and it was way easier than I expected.” Once the system was installed Exp. Group’s office staff took about three days to get up and running, while it took their warehouse staff one and a half weeks to become fully proficient, using the system in a bilingual configuration of English and Spanish. Serafino added, “We can now ship more in the same time, and what was a chore, is no longer a chore.” Exp Group recognized how well the RedLine Cooler software complemented and integrated with their Famous Software grower accounting system. Serafino said, “I can log into the system, and immediate see exactly what we have, and where it is.” Adding, “it is one thing is to have a good product, but another is to have exceptional customer service, and Redline has delivered on both of these aspects.” Exp. Group plan on adding 16 more ripening rooms in 2017. Serafino said “We are so excited to add the RedLine software into our new rooms. That would take our capacity to 37 rooms all integrated with RedLine software!” 


What Exp Group Would Say To Other Customers
“It is a pretty radical change, and many produce companies are old school and do not want to invest in technology, just caring about the bottom line. However, I would recommend that they should give this solution a chance, as it will make a significant difference,” Serafino outlined. The Exp. Group team pointed out that they felt that it is natural to be skeptical of any new solution, and even Serafino said that he was also skeptical when they first talked about bringing the system in.  “I have seen what it has done for the business, how organized it has made our operation, and I have seen how enjoyable it is for the staff. It is fun to use! You scan! You ship! It works well!” Serafino explained. ”I have seen the before and after, and the after looks so much prettier than the before!”

Download the customer full story and see others from RedLine Solutions customers


© RedLine Solutions Inc. 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to RedLine Solutions and there is the inclusion of a link to www.traceabilitynerd.com




FSMA roll out is making automated inventory systems essential

FSMA roll out is making Automated Inventory Systems Essential With FSMA and Safe Food for Canadians rollouts in progress, many produce co...