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Big Data and Analytics have introduced paradigm changes in nearly every industry today. The fresh produce industry is of particular interest in this regard—in how data and analytics is enhancing current performance and readying the industry for the future.

The produce industry is often challenged by stringent food safety regulations, fear of product recalls, disparate supply chains and rapidly perishing goods. Leveraging data and analytics is helping businesses in this space to effectively mitigate such risks, improve product safety and maximize yields. Additional benefits include gaining greater visibility and into operations—from the farm to the fork—ensuring the right produce is available to the right stakeholders; delivered at the right place at the right time in the required quantities.

In this blog, we will look at how recent technology advancements in data and analytics are transforming how produce companies operate and the benefits they are experiencing.

1. Remote sensor technology:

Remote sensing is defined as 'the capability to gain information about an area, produce or thing without direct physical contact.' Today, remote sensors are one of the most significant tools for the data-driven smart food industry.

With the help of remote sensors and telematics, companies can monitor the quality of produce during its field-to-fork journey. Mission-critical data of any activity across the supply chain is captured in real-time—like threshold violations—and corrective actions are taken immediately to reduce spoilage.

Remote sensing technology also provides improved traceability and productivity. It also helps predict failures, monitors inventory levels to prevent shortfalls, and increases efficiencies to create a 'smart and intelligent' factory.

2. Data and analytics:

Big Data and Analytics are often called the wave of the future for the food industry. They enhance businesses' decision-making capabilities in pricing, supply chain transparency, and optimization of consumer experience. It also helps analyze consumers' seasonal and temporal behavior(s) and make accurate demand forecasts based on these analyses (data across the supply chain is captured and integrated into relevant systems that are connected to a particular operation, helping make faster and smarter business decisions).

Big Data and Analytics help food businesses make strategic business decisions that promote innovation-led growth. When it comes boosting business, you have a lot of data and analytics solutions to choose from. The deal clincher is to know the right solution(s) and how to combine them to get accurate results.

3. Sorting technology:

Companies know the key role (proper) sorting plays in enhancing quality, maximizing productivity, and preventing safety issues. Over the years, sorting technology has seen the introduction of several innovations. Modern sorting technology is an amalgamation of robust mechanical architecture, advanced produce quality detection capability, machine intelligence, automation and analytics. Benefits include increased uptime, improved productivity, reduced food waste and shortened processing times.

With the adoption of the technology, data and analytics triage, produce companies are realizing cost efficiencies, improved produce quality and traceability accuracy—not only helping meet, but pre-empt, customers' demands and expectations. 

Companies that know the importance of analytics—and are leveraging it—are gaining the maximum benefit from their data, and will continue to do so. At Columbus, we give businesses the insights they need to future proof themselves.

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