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NEWARK, Del. -- The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) here is working with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), and GS1-US to implement a four-month-long pilot program with select buyers and sellers to gauge the impact of employing the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) to improve supply chain efficiency and profitability.
The participants are PMA members representing both sides of the supply chain, including Wal-Mart, Sysco, and BJ's Wholesale from the buyer side; and Tanimura & Antle, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, the Oppenheimer Group, the Giumarra Cos., and L&M Cos. from the seller side.
The goal of the GTIN Produce Pilot is to identify challenges and advantages of using GTIN standards within the produce industry in order to maximize efficiencies and drive costs from the produce supply chain.
At the completion of the pilot program in July 2006, RCM Technologies will evaluate the outcome. A resulting report will include information about integrating produce into existing and future systems using GS1 standards. It will also identify challenges encountered in the pilot program and possible solutions to those challenges, an assessment of what education and training is required, and recommended strategies for effective implementation.
GTIN is a standard managed by GS1 to streamline identification of products in the food industry. GTIN provides a standard number for each level of packaging, including item, case, and pallet to maximize efficiency and automation throughout the industry's supply chain. In September 2005 PMA conducted a survey of over 100 produce suppliers and 43 buyers. Results of this survey revealed that only 30 percent of the produce companies surveyed are using GS1 standards at the item level, 6 percent at the case level, and a mere 4 percent at the pallet level. No other industry standards have been identified.
While the North American produce industry has not yet fully embraced these standards, they are widely accepted within the food industry in more than 103 countries and are used by more than 1.3 million companies internationally.