John Triel, IT Manager at Total Produce, explains how they brought the GS1 standard into practice.
Total Produce is a specialist in overseas fruit and uses the Palletlabel + EDI SaaS Solution of Type2Solutions with which they optimize their logistic chain, delivering to the leading European retailers.
John, could you tell us some more about Total Produce?
“Total Produce B.V. knows a long history, dating back to the year 1850. As specialist in overseas fruit from South Africa, North-, Central- and South-America, Total Produce B.V. is amongst the largest importers in Europe and focusses on building a durable connection between supplier and client. Located at the heart of the port of Rotterdam, clients can be reached within 24 hours through a well-linked intricate transport network.”
Total Produce is active in over 34 countries. Which countries are your largest points of sale?
“All of Europe, but mostly the Benelux, Germany, Scandinavia, France and Spain. We sell our products to the largest retailers in Europe, wholesalers, processor, foodservices and online. The retail is a very important distribution channel for us.”
Total Produce supplies the leading retailers in Europe, how do you handle their requirements?
“We have to comply with the GS1 Standard, provide SSCC labels and use EDI. We’re talking about EDI messages such as DESADV, INVOIC and ORDERS. It became apparent quite soon that while people talk about the GS1 Standard, every retailer has their own implementation version of it. Every one of them has their own wishes and potential additional requirements. This concerns both customer as well as country specific wishes.
How did you proceed?
“I’m responsible for the IT department and checked for ways to integrate it into our ERP system first. Eventually I’ve kept it separate from our system. The separation offers us a lot of flexibility, especially since Type2solutions is specialized in labelling and GS1.
Why do you use the Palletlabel + EDI SaaS Solution of Type2Solutions?
Palletlabel can generate customer specific labels and easily meet additional requirements of retailers. Our supply is stored at various third party locations and we deliver the labels that were generated using Palletlabel electronically. We can also grant trusted sites access to the Palletlabel portal, so that they can generate labels themselves. Because it’s a cloud solution, and not integrated into our ERP, this can be done without any hassle. We maintain the products and GTINs, whilst they can only generate labels. This is how we stay in control and are always able to supply our pallets with the proper labels, regardless of where the products are stored.”
What are your thoughts on the partnership?
“Excellent. The Palletlabel Team of Type2Solutions has great know-how and experience, including with the different retailers. Not only do they guide you through the process, but they also give useful advice for processes outside the initial scope. Logistics can no longer be viewed as separate from IT. It’s the hub between customer, internal backoffice and the sales department.”
Do you have any tips?
“It is often thought that these kinds of projects only concern IT, but this is not the case. Because there are many internal and external parties involved, good communication is of vital importance. It’s essential that product masterdata is carefully organized. Also, don’t forget to use suitable hardware and software to both create and manage GS1 codes and, subsequently, to be able to scan them. In short: start on time, get in touch with GS1 specialists and use the right technology.”
““Palletlabel is a SaaS solution. It is separate from our ERP system. The separation offers us a lot of flexibility. Palletlabel can generate customer specific labels and easily meet additional requirements of retailers. Type2Solutions has a great know-how and experience, including with the different retailers.”
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