The firms’ Greenlight Quality Control software is used by around 70% of the UK’s fresh produce supply chain for greater traceability and reducing the risk of poor quality product reaching the shelves.
The system works by centralising product specifications online for members of the supply chain to access, update and share information.
Muddy Boots said this results in visibility of on-site performance, suppliers and products in real-time.
Quality and traceability of products
Mark Powell, Greenlight QC product manager, told FoodQualityNews that the retailer and supplier are on the same platform collaborating on product specifications.
“The retailer can approve and suggest changes. All checks are done against the specifications before a product is dispatched and the retailer checks it on arrival. It cuts out the logistics cost of bad product being shipped,” he said.
“The platform has performance reports so you can see who is the best and worst supplier, where is the best country of origin and where is the best to source from at different times of the year."
When asked about deficiencies, Powell said it depends on the product.
“A defect found like an external defect is visible, so you can see things like bruising or scars on fruit, insects or pests and length, shape or size but it could be internal like temperature control. This is more at the supplier level as they have the expertise and specific knowledge of the product, at the retailer level if is more of a lightweight check to see all is ok.”
In a press release, Powell said traditionally produce would arrive at the supermarket depot and the retailer either accepts and sells the goods, or rejects and discards them.
“However, when all members of your supply chain are accessing the same data via Greenlight QC, everyone is clear on the required specification from the get-go; the supplier, and even his suppliers, have confidence that the produce is the appropriate quality for the customer before it’s shipped, and the retailer has confidence that all produce about to arrive at depot is fit for purpose.
“This early warning system allows the supplier to identify any produce that the retailer will reject before he ships it, therefore allowing him to redistribute to another customer. The end result is a significant reduction in waste, increase in efficiency, and stronger supply chain relationships.”
Muddy Boots said more than three million items of fresh produce were quality checked using the system in 2015, an increase of 140% since the horsemeat scandal in 2013. The majority of customers work in fresh produce while it also has clients active in the meat industry.
More users and more checks
Powell told us that in this timeframe more people were using the software and previous users where increasing their use due to quicker checks and the ability to share data easier than paper-based systems.
“At retailer level we have five of the major seven retailers using the platform and it is all electronic but it depends on how far down you go after Tier 1 suppliers, the deeper you go the more paper based it is. One of our goals this year is to go deeper in the supply chain,” he said.
“Europe is a big growth area for us this year. We hope to be in with two EU retailers by the end of the year and we have an office in Hamburg which is the base for our focus on Germany, Belgium and France and we have a footprint in Australia.
“These markets are closest to the UK but the UK is ahead in quality standards but as these markets come up behind there will warrant a system like ours.”
The Greenlight system is four cloud-based products that work from grower to retailer; solving challenges around supply chain transparency, compliance, provenance and product performance.
Greenlight Assessments lets users manage any audit and assessment. Greenlight Supplier Approval allows customers to manage the approval status of suppliers and Greenlight Grower Management lets growers, agronomists share field and cropping data with stakeholders.