We are all consumers, which is why we are more and more concerned about the food we eat and its safety. We have also become more responsible consumers, buying more green and sustainable products. Further, this fact has been accelerated during the global pandemic we are still facing worldwide.
Trends such as global and complex supply chains, stringent regulations, booming e-commerce and mobile apps for end-consumers are pushing the food industry to provide more complete, traceable and transparent product information along the whole value chain. It becomes more and more mandatory for brands to invest in food and beverage traceability to provide the right information to consumers and to ensure food safety by fully controlling their supply chain, end-to-end.
But which digital technologies and solutions allow food and beverage stakeholders to build a credible, integrated, transparent and trustworthy value chain from sourcing to end-consumers, while addressing supply chain efficiency and food safety and sustainability requirements?
End-to-end traceability journey at Danone
We at Schneider Electric talked to Yasmine Achab, Transparency and Traceability Global Program Director at Danone Specialised Nutrition Division: “Consumers are asking for more and more transparency. And as a mum, I would like to know where my baby milk is coming from, which ingredients were used and first and foremost, I want to make sure that it is a safe product.”
Danone’s mission is to serve life and bring health through food to as many people as possible, especially for their Specialised Nutrition Business where safety and quality are crucial, as there is no margin of error when it comes to a baby’s health. Danone engaged in this journey years ago to bring more trust to consumers and in particular, to give parents the “peace of mind” you really need when you first start out.
The end-to-end traceability journey started four years ago at Danone Specialised Nutrition in startup mode with a small team, gathering knowledge from different sources with the idea of finding a way to secure the Infant Formula packaging beyond the company’s quality standards and basic safety guidelines.
The solution in place today consists of providing a unique digital identity to every single product by laser marking two QR Codes – one on the outer side of the pack that can be scanned several times, and another one inside the pack available only after purchase that is scannable only once. Those two codes are linked together, thus providing the additional layer of security to consumers.
This is now opening an endless world of opportunities regarding end-to-end traceability and enabling Danone Specialised Nutrition to better connect with their consumers by providing them information on the product journey, nutritional advice, answers to their questions, guidance and more.
To start an end-to-end traceability journey, you need a certain level of maturity inside your company. The prerequisite for starting is to perfect your traceability at batch level through digital solutions. perfecting the traceability at different levels of granularity (batch, pallet, cartons, item) requires a very good management of processes and data through different systems used within a company, for example, Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES).
As part of this journey, Danone Specialised Nutrition has implemented a serialisation and aggregation solution, engaging not only their own network but also their external stakeholders (such as distributors) to ensure complete end-to-end traceability.
“As the supply chain is scattered, it is a real challenge to control the data, and that’s why not many industries actually do detailed traceability. We need to decide how to manage and exchange data with all those hundreds and hundreds of partners,” mentioned Yasmine.
That’s why Danone Specialised Nutrition is ultimately using blockchain technology as a platform to exchange data with their entire network of suppliers and partners, and to ensure data cannot be tampered with.
Starting an end-to-end traceability journey is a use case for the digital transformation of a company. It starts at plant level, leveraging different digital solutions and technologies and selecting the right granularity of traceability data applied to a company’s needs and/or strategy.
To read more about traceability solutions, visit https://www.se.com/au/en/product-range/22491043-ecostruxure-traceability-advisor/#overview
By Marilidia Clotteau, Schneider Electric.