|LoBue Citrus Case Study|
Produce Traceability: LoBue Citrus Automates Labeling with Intermec, FoodLogiQ
Customer: LoBue Citrus is a family-run grower and distributor of oranges, accounting for approximately four to five percent of the California citrus industry. That equates to between four and five million boxes each year, with 40 percent of the product exported to Asia.
Based in Lindsay, California, the company recognized the need to automate its produce traceability program in October 2010. Formerly, the process was manual, which tied up critical resources and increased the likelihood of error.
Solution: Once the boxes are wrapped, the workers use an Intermec PB50 mobile printer to generate a pallet tag with a FoodLogiQ-generated barcode. The box labels from the PM4i and pallet labels from the PB50 include a barcode that identifies the kind of orange, ship date, destination, farm source, and even the farm lot. This is a powerful tool should the company need to trace a shipment back to its origin.
The new system has made it possible for these trace backs to occur within a matter of minutes, whereas before the implementation it took roughly two hours. The inventory accuracy has improved as well. Every additional percentage point in accuracy helps a produce distributor stay competitive. Before the implementation, accuracy ranged from the high-80 to low-90 percent; accuracy is now between 98 and 99 percent.
Because the system is automated, physical inventories have become a thing of the past, saving eight to 16 labor hours each day, which equates to approximately $96 to $240 saved in labor costs per day. Given the early improvements, Clark believes the system will pay for itself within two years, and all subsequent gains beyond that will further help the business.
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