Importer goes bananas over i2’s quality control technology!

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Fruit importer Jamaica Producers Fruit Distributors (JPFD) is seeing “greatly enhanced” quality control now that it is using i2 Mobile Solutions technology within its banana operation. According to JPFD, the UK trading arm for Jamaica Producers Group’s marketing and sales operation, the quality control “is more efficient and has greater flexibility”.

JPFD sources fruit, such as bananas, grapes, melons and pineapples, from many parts of the world and across all seasons for customers including Tesco, Somerfield, Morrison and Marks & Spencer. It is involved in the entire supply chain from grower to consumer.

Although there was some computerisation, the company’s previous quality control system was primarily paper-based. Banana quality control (QC) would be performed at two points – on arrival at the UK port using a bespoke computer system, and on arrival at the ripening depots employing the paper-based method. Neither system was seamless or readily compatible.

JPFD’s IT department felt that a system should be developed in-house to provide continuity and accessibility for all QC-related information and which would be flexible as well as extendable, allowing JPDF’s and its customers’ needs to be met.

Having researched the market, JPDF discovered the TAPPS application development software supplied by i2. TAPPS is an application generator that allows non-technical people to create mobile data collection and management systems to run on DOS-based Symbol and handheld products terminals. It is built up with user-selected modules from a wide range of menu options, which just need the parameters to be defined by the user.

Having provided the software, in-house training and technical support, i2 also supplied the hardware – Symbol PDT 6800 hand-held terminals.

i2 says that the biggest benefit of the new system for JPFD is that all QC data is in a form that can be interrogated in any way it so desires. At the click of a button, the system provides data for growers and suppliers, statistics for management review, and information for customers.

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