While many grocery staples like canned vegetables are forgiving in terms of time, many are definitely not. One of the best examples of this is bagged lettuce or salads. A delicious healthy cornerstone to a healthy diet — and the epitome of convenience — they can turn abruptly into a smelly, frightening packet of slime soon after their expiration date. Automation can ensure minimum waste and maximum freshness. So let's follow the journey of a bag of salad!
From hero to zero in a flash
Time is of the essence — or more specifically, timing is. That bag of salad needs to be available for purchase or delivery right at the start of its freshness window, so it lasts as long as possible. Otherwise, you end up with disappointed consumers with a salad fail in their fridge. Or worse, product that doesn’t look appealing enough on the shelf to ever make it into a home.
The advantage of precision is clear: The more closely you can control your supply chain, the more easily you can offer that bag of salad at the start of its edible life (and the less returns and waste in your operations). Efficiency, sustainability, and accuracy all lead to profit.
Automation is the best way to achieve that precision. Farm produce can originate from almost anywhere — but the more trackable it is, the more control you will have over the process.
Minimize waste with advanced SKU tracking
Let’s assume your lettuce has been grown and packed in one location, and you want to get it to stores far away from that location.
With the right automation, you can identify the precise moment and location that lettuce was picked and processed. Barcoding at point of palletization makes the entire journey visible and tells you exactly when that ticking clock starts for freshness.
By scanning a bag, you — and anyone else in the supply chain — can be confident in how long you have before the contents goes from yummy to scummy. Automated storage will further extend the life and speed up the process, getting each salad bag from field to plate as quickly as possible.
Maximize efficiency with automation
What if a pallet is misplaced enroute to the store? This is common, especially when relying on manual labor for moving products. And it’s also common for someone who finds that pallet to return it into the system if the contents look okay.
Not only will automation make misplacing a pallet very unlikely, it will also guarantee your ability to precisely identify that pallet. And if it’s likely to fail your quality/time threshold, it can be removed to prevent further wasted energy and issues.
When applied across a whole supply chain, automation ensure minimum waste and maximum freshness to deliver deliciously fresh nutritious food, whether consumers order online or pick it themselves in store.
With the increase in SKU complexity and the unpredictability of global supply chains, automation is more than just a garnish. It is the best way to create the kind of efficiencies that drive profitability and guarantee a successful journey for all your single bags of salad.