Democratizing Fresh Produce Quality Assurance with a Mobile-Enabled Solution
When it comes to enabling digitization for fresh produce quality assurance processes, some features are easier to understand than others. Automation immediately makes sense to our customers – freeing up time from manual and repetitive tasks. Cloud-based is a clear win, allowing teams to collaborate more easily, and providing the opportunity for reporting and analytics. Standardization? A no-brainer, ensuring that all quality control (QC) processes are the same across the value chain.
However, mobile-enabled? This one sometimes needs a little more explanation. Let’s break down why mobile is such an essential differentiator in the Clarifruit tool-belt, and why it truly democratizes the process for quality control of fresh fruit and vegetables at every stage.
The Challenges in the Fresh Produce Market Today
Our mission is to reduce waste in the fresh fruit supply chain, and to allow it to run more efficiently from end to end. For that to happen, we can’t think about fresh produce quality assurance in any kind of silo, whether that’s only considering the grower, the warehouse or the retailer outside of the rest of the value chain; or even only considering one of many quality control instances at any single location.
In reality, whether you’re a marketing company or a wholesaler, a distribution center or a retailer, you might have as many as six different QC processes taking place for any particular shipment. Fresh produce quality assurance and control is happening at the entrance of the packing house when you receive the supply, at the point of storage, pre-shipping before you send out a shipment, and when the pickers are choosing produce for an online purchase.
While it’s somewhat common to have a testing room at the entrance of a packing house or a distribution center – the other points of quality assurance are likely to offer less tools and technology to ensure a consistent or standardized process. In many cases there might not even be space to have a testing room with all the necessary equipment such as sizing rings and color palettes in the first place!
This is where things start to fall apart…
Automated, Consistent…. And Mobile Quality Control
An automated solution only solves part of this problem, providing better technology for a single testing pointy adding mobile-enabled to the must-have checklist, any stakeholders are able to share the technology across multiple stages of working with fresh produce, completing the exact same high-quality, high-accuracy test but at different points throughout the value-chain.
As the Clarifruit solution can be downloaded easily onto an existing mobile or tablet device, it also helps to close the gaps and add visibility at the growing stage, where there is often no official QC at all. Rather than wait until the marketing company has the produce before you ever see the status or quality, a mobile-enabled platform adds this insight at the earliest possible stages, without adding incremental or prohibitive costs to the grower.
In short, while an automatic and consistent QC platform is fantastic on a stand-alone basis – it’s even more effective if you can successfully apply the automatic concept across all of your testing points, whether that’s internally for multiple stages of your business process, or externally to add control and visibility across the whole value chain.
Practical Benefits of a Mobile-Enabled Solution
We get super excited about the mission here at Clarifruit, disrupting the way that fresh produce quality assurance and control is managed across the fruit and vegetable supply chain to reduce waste, and save businesses time and money. But there’s no denying that there are more practical and everyday benefits of a mobile-enabled solution, too.
For example, our mobile QC process offers both online and offline functionality, so that your workers can perform inspections even when there is no internet access. This eliminates any blind spots, and allows inspectors to perform QC at the right times, with the data saved locally to be uploaded when a connection is established later in the journey. At that point, all the information will become available on the cloud – and stakeholders can zero in on the points of friction or where handling or storage might have degraded quality. This is essential for route optimization or shelf life predictions, and can only be achieved with a smart mobile-enabled solution that can process data on the go.
On a day-to-day level, your inspectors are also empowered to complete QC with greater ease if their technology can move alongside them. It doesn’t take up much space, it’s convenient to use, and it doesn’t involve taking the information physically back to a computer and resubmitting it manually. This results in more tests, greater accuracy and objectivity in the results, and streamlined overall efficiencies for the business as a whole.