Perhaps most impressive about today’s technology however is that it can warn you when those expiration dates are upcoming. Users can mandate when feed or grain needs to be used as soon as possible or when it can no longer be used at all. For example, every Monday the system may send a notice of which lots will expire in the next month. Employees can then make sure those are used in time so that the product remains safe yet no supply is wasted or thrown away. When the expiration date does comes, an alert can be sent to the computer system or even a mobile phone to make sure everyone is aware which product not to use.
Many plants use soft and hard deadlines with this type of technology. When a hard deadline passes, the system will literally not allow you to use an expired lot, ensuring no bad product can hit the market. With soft deadlines, the system may warn you about the ingredient quality but allow usage for a certain period of time.
Basically, tracking technology is changing the feed and grain game. To this day we still see some users tracking products on pieces of paper. To put it simply, technology has come too far for industry veterans to rely on the tedious, often unreliable, manual tracking system. While there certainly will be some upfront costs, implementing tracking technology pays for itself in the long run. The time saved will be a relief. The recall saved could be a life-saver.
Edit Note: Meetesh Shah serves as President of iRely LCC, a leading provider of commodity software solutions. He previously served as CIO of a multi-national food and beverage company and has over 15 years experience in food and agricultural IT systems.