It is becoming clear that companies that fail to digitalize will not be able to compete in increasingly competitive markets.
In the current pandemic, which is causing digital transformation processes in many companies in different sectors, is enhancing companies to become more efficient, and as a consequence, ends up driving out of the market those that are not so efficient.
For this reason, today we want to write about a technology that has been on the market for a long time and that the agri-food sector is receiving massively with great satisfaction: Radio Frequency technology.
What is RFID or Radio Frequency technology?
RFID technology is encompassed within the new technologies of Industry 4.0 (IoT), allowing the univocal identification of products, being able to interact with them remotely in real time, characteristics that make it very interesting for the agri-food sector, by allowing you to digitize all products plant, save costs and have real traceability.
Francisco Robredo, CEO of the KiwandaFood company, a company specializing in RFID technology for fruit and vegetable companies (www.kiwandafood.com), suggests that "RFID technology is an evolution of the barcode, which allows you to identify pallets, boxes or pallets in a simple way, being the only technology that allows a reliability in the precision of the data, and this means that you can obtain innumerable advantages in a simple way.
Direct, for example, having a stock in real time, knowing the real traceability of your products reduce waste, avoid manual inventory counts,… ”
Thus, RFID technology can contribute to solving one of the main strategic problems of fruit and vegetable cooperatives: the digitization of their production chain.
The problem of waste is especially important for fruit and vegetable companies, since almost half of the fruit and vegetables that are traded end up in the trash along the supply chain. Obviously, numerous factors come into play, such as the quality and appearance requirements of the consumer and distributor, timing, etc.
But cooperatives can significantly improve in reducing the losses they are having within their plant. In Kiwanda Food for example, they have been able to verify in the implantations that have made that the improvement in the reduction of waste can reach up to 33%.
How are fruit and vegetable losses reduced in a cooperative? In a very simple way, by having all the fruit and vegetable inventory within the facilities controlled in real time, we can automate certain operations that would otherwise be impossible, such as, for example, apply a FIFO system in real time, which warns us of the expiring fruit that has been in our facilities for the longest time, warnings when the cold chain is broken inside a conservation chamber, or when the product is at its optimum ripeness point.
One of the main advantages of RFID technology compared to traditional systems such as the barcode, is that it allows you to have digitized traceability. Being able to know the traceability forwards and backwards of the manufactured products. Being able to visualize information such as batches, dates, varieties, weights, calibers and data related to the product.
You will be able to capture information from the field and associate it with the RFID tag of each palette or box, such as the dates of collection, field and plot by GPS coordinates, crew and humidity conditions, which are key data to provide a real traceability.
Traceability in food companies is mandatory, but the fact of carrying it in a manual or by traditional systems, it makes searches not agile, simple and unreliable; Francisco Robredo told us.
The importance, if possible, is greater in companies of organic fruits and vegetables, since the fact that they can certify that the product comes from a field or plot that meets the conditions to be considered an organic product, makes it essential for related aspects with audits or commercial level offering that confidence to the client.
In short, the introduction of RFID technology allows lower returns on investment per year, with a clear and direct cost savings. For the Kiwanda Food company, the main activities where the cooperatives are having clear cost savings:
- Eliminate inventory counts.
- Reduce fruit and vegetable waste.
- Faster order preparation.
- Optimize warehouse space.
- Increase product rotation in the chamber.
Thank you to Fernando for the write-up!