May 2011: Traceability Insider
New HarvestMark PTI Pricing Makes Compliance Easier
Have you heard? We've changed the pricing for our PTI solutions to make compliance easier and more cost effective for growers and shippers. While our pricing for PTI used to be on a penny-per-box basis, we now offer a simple annual platform fee-regardless of how many labels you print. This model will help our customers effectively manage and forecast their PTI programs. The annual fee for our new PTI solutions is $1500 for PTI Express and $3000 for PTI Pro, plus the cost of hardware. Best of all, unlike other PTI providers, software updates are free if PTI standards evolve. Check out the new features and pricing of our PTI solutions here. For more information, contact us.
Best Practices for PTI Case Labels
The PTI Committee recently approved the case-label best practices for PTI. The best practices identified are consistent with key features of the label we discussed in March—such as the VoiceCode™ and not needing date-specific lots for field-packed produce. You can find out more here.
Mobile is Hot. Catch Up on 2-D Barcodes.
Last month, HarvestMark was featured on the cover of Florida Grower in a discussion of 2-D barcodes. A 2-D barcode is a machine-readable code format that uses pixels instead of bars to store data (so, technically it's not really a barcode). There are three dominant types in the market now: QR codes, data matrix codes, and the more obscure Microsoft tags.
A 2-D code packs more information into a given space, and is being used to direct consumers to websites and store item-specific information. Here's a quick guide to the three major formats so you can talk knowledgeably with retailers, marketers, ad agencies, and your kids.
||Globally recognized standard. Very efficient use of space. Can be square or rectangular.
||Readers are not native in cell phones (needs an app). Cannot be functional (e.g., URL, SMS)
||Most popular format for reading with cell phones. Open standard (free licensed from Denso). Can embed functions (e.g., URL, SMS).
||Can overlay on logos with certain designs, color tags have very high data density. Can embed functions.
||Color can’t be printed variably. Format is proprietary to Microsoft. All scans are tracked by Microsoft. Restricted quantity.
|Rectangular data matrix containing 16-character traceability code
||QR code containing URL and 16-character traceability code
What are they being used for?
While 2-D codes cannot be read at checkout they can be read by cell phones (POS scanners typically can only read 1-D bars—so are limited to UPC codes and DataBars. Their primary uses are for directing consumers with smartphones to a mobile-optimized website, or for incorporating variable data such as traceability information.
Final note: for some reason, people often call these 3-D codes. Until someone figures how to make a barcode in the third dimension—these are most definitely two-dimensional.
Example of data matrix traceability code
Need a Refresher on GTIN Attributes?
The PTI identified primary attributes that define a GTIN. A change in one of these attributes would signify a different GTIN. We expect that as the PTI becomes widely adopted, retailers will begin to use these attributes to order products electronically or reconcile substitutions (rather than by GTIN). So, using the right attributes in your GTIN definitions is critical.
Here's the attributes (and some additional ones) and our thoughts on how much detail to include in each. Where we indicate GDSN—that field can only include specific values as defined by the GDSN.
Note: although we did not include case attributes (such as dimensions and TI-HI), it seems sensible to include at least nominal values when defining a GTIN. Other dimensions that may drive a split in GTINs are Brand and Post-Harvest Treatment.