The Produce Traceability Initiative is coming, and Santa Clara, Calif.-based RedLine Solutions Inc. says its suite of traceback products will give its customers instant PTI compliance.

The newest installment in the suite, said Chris Davis, chief operating officer, is RedLine Packing, which is aimed at helping packers and shippers to manage all traceback information on all products from the shed to the cooler.

RedLine Packing follows traceability products for field and cooler operations.

“It’s a traceability and inventory management system for the packing shed,” Davis said. “It’s relevant for citrus, stone fruit, apples, tomatoes, avocados, lemons, sweet potatoes and others.”

The product will save costs and labor, as well as meet PTI guidelines, Davis said.

“What it does it has full PTI-compliant traceability, but it’s tied into automated packing lines,” he said.

PTI requires that every case of produce has a bar-coded label with a Global Trade Identification Number identifying the specific product in the case and a packing lot number that has to trace back to a specific field and harvest date.

The rules also require the information be electronic to allow tracking of lots shipped to particular customers and share that information with customers and regulatory agencies as needed.

“It will get 10-15 different products, all of which with different GTINs, and it’s all merged onto one conveyor belt before it gets palletized,” Davis said.

“To do this in an automated manner, you have to be able to identify what’s in each box, get that GTIN and lot information and put that on the label and apply that label to it all in less than half a second. Our system does just that.”

The new system got a field trial on sweet potatoes in the spring, Davis said.

“We’ve also done it with citrus — most recently, with lemons,” he said. “And then, I’ve got a second sweet potato company I’m doing right after PMA (Fresh Summit). It’s going very well.”

The company has signed up about six customers and another 15 are in the midst of the ordering process, Davis said.

“We’ve had a lot of success with this,” he said.

The system fits all operation sizes, Davis said.

“First, it gives them a visibility to what’s going on with the pack line,” he said.

“For larger customers with multiple shifts and multiple lines, they’ve got a real-time dashboards that says exactly here’s where this product’s been packed and here’s where it is. If they have a special order they’re launching, they’ll know right when it’s done. They can look at productivity on packing lines.”

The system also is designed to track into the company’s accounting system, Davis said.

“When we have the information to do traceability, we can automate the receipt of the product at the end of the line,” he said.

“Right now, typically, for every pallet they want to receive, somebody has to key in a couple of screens of information. It takes about a minute, and there’s 10 or 15 things they have to get right.

“With our system, they just scan it and confirm it’s right. When they say receive, it goes automatically into the grower’s billing system. So, this is a big cost savings for them because they free up one or two people who would be doing data entry.”