A cloud-based printing tool to improve coding and labelling for fresh produce has been released by Matthews. The free iDSnet Cloud software generates and prints carton, crate and SSCC labels.
Matthews CEO Mark Dingley said the project began 18 months ago in collaboration with Woolworths Group Supply Chain and GS1 Australia. The group was looking at areas in the supply-chain for improvement and ways to resolve coding and labelling errors for fresh produce.
The result is based on Matthews’ non-proprietary software and has been through beta testing.
“SSCC and GTIN barcoding into DCs is the number-one non-compliance issue today for the major retailers. This is extremely costly to Australian industry, so we made the decision to make iDSnet Cloud an industry-wide carton and pallet barcode label printing software solution for free,” says Dingley.
Dingley said iDSnet Cloud had been specifically designed for fresh produce manufacturers supplying into Woolworths, with the retailer’s new tray and carton label format supported along with SSCC pallet labelling.
“However, we realised what iDSnet Cloud could achieve was so important, that any Australian manufacturer will be able to use the tool online for free for standard carton GTIN and SSCC pallet barcoding requirements,” adds Dingley.
“iDSnet already manages coding and labelling across more than 1000 production lines throughout Australia and the Asia-Pacific region; from what we’re seeing, government and industry targets for Australia’s fresh produce sector to improve traceability are driving demand for Australian-made package code management software."
Matthews sales product specialist iDSnet & LPA Solutions, Braydon Cocks, said having accurate scannable barcodes is the difference between checking in fresh produce taking minutes or hours.
“When you think how many trucks of fresh produce go into a DC daily, that time difference between checking produce straight in, or then spent laboriously correcting labelling errors, quickly becomes a significant number," explains Cocks.
“The incorrect labelling issue isn’t just a problem at the DC: a supplier who doesn't have correctly coded and labelled produce will be overlooked in preference for those who do, so it makes commercial sense for all parties."
Dingley pointed out that the federal government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative wants to double the size of the food and grocery manufacturing sector by 2030, which "means it’s even more important for the sector to get coding and labelling correct".
Successful beta launch
Under its beta launch, iDSnet Cloud has generated more than 160,000 labels online. The software is free and can be accessed via the cloud. Cocks said all fresh producers need is a printer that can run Zebra Programming Language (ZPL).
“If it can run ZPL, then it can run iDSnet Cloud, but if manufacturers are new and don't have a printer, or want to upgrade, we offer packages to do it all,” Cocks says.
Matthews has an iDSnet Cloud page on its website with step-by-step videos on how to set the system up, links to Java and QZ Script coding, and “bite-sized" instructions on what to do.
Cocks said, “iDSnet Cloud is a simple-to-use tool, it’s easy to manage, and manufacturers know that the format is going to be 100 per cent compliant for Australia’s major retailers because Matthews developed it in collaboration with the retail sector. And we’re proud to be giving back to the industry by providing the tool for free.”
The product will be officially launched at Hort Connections in Brisbane, on 6-9 June.