Traceability Still Trumped by Cost-Cutting

While establishing traceability strategies has become a priority for food service executives, cost cutting initiatives remain at the top of the priority list for 2011, according to a survey released by Voxware, supplier of software for voice-driven warehousing operations. More than three quarters of those polled (76%) said that traceability is a priority for their companies, yet only ten percent said it was their top priority, according to the survey conducted at the International Food Distributors Association’s annual conference. More than half (57%) of the respondents said that cutting costs is their top priority over the next 12 months.

The survey points to the growing emphasis on adopting traceability standards across the food service industry. It also indicates a potential conflict in priorities as organizations grapple with the expense of implementing traceability while simultaneously focusing on cost cutting in the broader operation.

Traceability has become more important to food service companies’ customers, as nearly a third (31%) of those polled said their customers ask either frequently or urgently about plans on compliance. An additional 52 percent of respondents said their customers are asking about traceability occasionally. Another indication of the growing support for traceability is that, despite the clear focus on cost cutting, the overwhelming majority of respondents (72%) said they are either somewhat likely or very likely to adopt some traceability standards in the near future.

“Traceability is becoming an increasingly important issue for food service companies and their customers and this survey confirms decisions we made in regard to traceability support in our software,” said Scott Yetter, Voxware CEO. “We see a real opportunity for organizations to proactively implement standards, gain good will from their customers and in some cases gain competitive advantage.”

Most respondents (93%) agree that outbound traceability data should be captured at the point of the pick, although there is no consensus on the best technique for capturing the data. More than half (55%) said that using voice, in some cases combined with scanning, is the best technique for outbound data capture. The survey polled food service managers and executives.

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