May 2010: HarvestMark Makes its VoiceCode™ Solution Open Source
In February, we shared the VoiceCode with our Traceability Insider readers. The solution is the latest innovation from the HarvestMark team that addresses the PTI Milestone 7 issue by removing the need to scan outbound cases from a distribution center.
The VoiceCode is a 4 digit ‘digest' of the GTIN, Lot (and date where included) printed on the PTI label, and works with the voice picking systems popular in distribution centers. The voice picking system simply instructs the operator to select cases from a slot by looking for a 2 digit code–eliminating the need to scan the barcode. It's even smart enough to know if different products in a slot share the same VoiceCode–automatically switching to 4 digits.
We made the VoiceCode algorithm available for free in January to encourage industry-wide adoption. The VoiceCode was also recognized with the United Fresh New Product Award for "Best in Food Safety" in Las Vegas.
Retailers and distributors need a cost-effective solution to process outbound cases of produce, and to this end we are offering our VoiceCode intellectual property to the industry – including our competitors – without payment fees of any kind, including the waiving of all patent royalties in perpetuity.
You can access our VoiceCode whitepaper
Romaine recall - how did HarvestMark help?
On May 6th, Freshway Foods announced a recall of romaine lettuce used in foodservice and retail salad bars. As retail-sized packages of salad were explicitly excluded in Freshway's announcement, HarvestMark was able to quickly provide information to consumers who traced their produce on HarvestMark.com.
In fact, consumers responded extremely quickly to the news of the recall. Tracing activity on HarvestMark.com for salad items shot up more than 20X within hours of the news breaking. Not only did this demonstrate the value of responding to consumer concerns and uncertainty - but also proved the fact that consumers are aware of traceability, and will use it when they need it.
Highlights from United Fresh
United Fresh 2010 was a great show with a series of discussions on traceability and lively exchanges of ideas and conversations with a well-rounded representation from all segments of the perishables supply chain. A few highlights to note:
- Don't buy a bigger Company Prefix than necessary! GS1 provided clarification on the use of the Packaging Level. Your company prefix can now apply to packaging levels 1 through 8 - effectively increasing the capacity of the prefix you have by 800%. (Previously, the packaging level was suggested to be fixed at "1").
- Social Media key to telling your story: The produce industry is increasingly embracing social media as a way to engage with consumers and promote their produce. Tools such as Facebook and Twitter combined with latest mobile applications are enabling farmers to tell their story – even when they are not local.