August 2013: How Walmart Could Implement PTI, Crowdsourced Shopper Insights
How Walmart could implement PTI … without scanning a single barcode
Walmart recently announced that they would require all produce suppliers to comply with the produce traceability initiative (PTI).
Some critics immediately flagged the field – protesting that because Walmart doesn’t yet have the ability to scan every case, it’s not fair to make suppliers add traceability labels. But, here’s how Walmart (or any retailer) could completely implement the PTI without scanning a single PTI barcode.
A retailer can take advantage of two innovations to eliminate the need to scan barcodes in all but the most exceptional circumstances.
First, the retailer requires their suppliers to use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to send the GTIN, Lots and quantities of every pallet of product – linked to a pallet identifier, such as an SSCC (Serialized Shipping Container Code). That way, when a truck arrives at the DC, the retailer simply confirms the pallet numbers on the load against the EDI transaction – and the GTIN, Lot and Quantity information will flow into the retailer’s Warehouse Management System (WMS) along with the put away locations.
So far, no case scanning required – unless the supplier doesn’t use EDI, in which case they can scan the Hybrid Pallet Tag (HPT).
Second, the retailer can use its voice picking system to determine which cases are being sent to particular stores. When an associate builds an outbound pallet of mixed cases, they simply confirm the 2 or 4 digit Voice Pick Code verbally as they pick the cases. The WMS can then accurately infer which GTIN/Lot was selected.
Again, no barcodes were scanned – unless the supplier has failed to put a Voice Pick Code on the label (in which case it wouldn’t be in compliance with the PTI).
You can get more details of how and why the Voice Pick Code works here.
What Makes A Shopper Buy A Product Again?
Dumb question, right? It’s the combination of freshness, flavor and good value that keeps them coming back. Or because they are trying to eat healthier, and found out that your product is a great match for them. Or was it because they remember your brand and the product looked enticing in the store? Or they loved a gluten-free recipe that your website had provided. Maybe they are price sensitive, and only buy when there’s a promotion? Or they need the product to last until the end of the week – and found that yours has good shelf life? Suddenly, it’s obvious that what drives a shopper to become loyal to a produce brand is not … obvious.
This is an ideal application for crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing uses the concept of the wisdom of crowds to answer questions and get tasks completed. Questions that are impractical to solve experimentally, can often be easily answered by spreading the task across hundreds, or thousands of individuals.
HarvestMark has something awesome cooking … if you’re interested in getting a unique perspective on what shoppers are thinking about your product – drop us a line and get a sneak peek.