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FoodLink Showcases ‘Item,’ WMS Services

FoodLink's Kevin Brooks

FoodLink, which began about 12 years ago to help retailers connect with their fresh foods suppliers, is offering a number of new services. In fact, the Los Gatos, Calif.-based company took home the “Best New Food Safety Product” award for its item-level tracking solution at the United Fresh Produce Association’s annual convention in San Diego earlier this month.

Kevin Brooks, CMO for FoodLink, chatted with The Shelby Report’s Bob Reeves at the convention about that new product, called FoodLink Item, and the company’s warehouse management system (WMS).

“FoodLink has really grown to be one of the prominent platforms that major retailers and wholesalers are using to manage a whole bunch of different things across their supply base,” Brooks said. “In the past couple of years, FoodLink has really expanded. We’ve got a new management team that came on board about three years ago. We acquired a company called TrueTrac that does (produce) traceability labeling and technology in the field, and we’ve rolled out a whole variety of new products and services—really specifically targeting the supply side of the equation.”

Historically, Brooks noted, FoodLink has mostly been oriented to retailers.

“We’re now really turning our attention to bringing a lot more value to the supply side,” he said.

FoodLink’s award-winning product, FoodLink Item, is an item-specific labeling solution.

Brooks, in describing how the solution works, said the company has been working with California Giant Berry Farms “and they put a FoodLink label on each of the clamshells as they’re packing them. The clamshells get the label, they take them to the field and they put the berries in there; they’re tracking that all the way through their supply chain and all the way to the end point.”

The FoodLink Item service developed following the company’s 2012 acquisition of TrueTrac. TrueTrac’s advanced case and item-level tracking solutions, combined with FoodLink’s broad network of buyers and sellers, resulted in the web-based network that directly links information from a field where food is grown and harvested all the way through packing, shipping and purchasing by retail category mangers. The solution, according to FoodLink, ultimately brings full visibility to consumers.

Additionally, FoodLink showcased its WMS (warehouse management system) at the United Fresh convention.

“It’s really the first of its kind warehouse management system for the field and, by that, I mean we’re taking what’s happening at the growing side of the equation where you’re loading, picking, packing product—and you’re able to get that information about what’s coming in to the cooler more visible while it’s en route,” Brooks told the The Shelby Report. “You’re giving the warehouse and the cooler operations the ability to turn faster, you’re giving your sales desks on the grower/shipper side a much better insight into the actual inventory that’s available to sale that day; so you have a lot less bottlenecking that’s occurring at the point of where that initial kind of crush of product starts to come.

“And we really see that as being something that brings a lot of value into that end of the supply chain,” Brooks added, “not just for the growers and shippers, but also for the guys upstream because we’re able to get fresher product into the chain faster and attack all of the various kinds of pinpoints you have when you’re handing off items between players.”


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