Improving product quality and initiating benchmark checks to drive supplier performance.
Worldwide Fruit are enthusiastic advocates of the Muddy Boots' Greenlight Quality Management (GLQM) solution, initially implemented in 2014 the platform provides the company with a mobile quality and compliance solution that is used across the business. Enabling them to significantly improve intake pass rates across product groups, increase efficiency and drive the business forward in its ambition to be their customers’ 'first choice' fruit providers.
Who are Worldwide Fruit?
Established in 2000, Worldwide Fruit is an award-winning international fruit marketing and distribution company specialising in the supply of apples, pears, avocados and stone fruit to the UK market, sourced from top quality suppliers in the UK, New Zealand, South America, South Africa, USA and Europe. Around 350 staff are employed at its two sites based in Spalding, Lincolnshire (HQ) and Whitstable, Kent. The main HQ in Spalding comprises a 4,800m² grading, packing and distribution facility and 790m² of office space. It's a huge operation, now handling 4.4 million cases of produce every year and 52.8 million packs of fruit.
The company supplies some of the UK’s leading supermarkets and buys from approximately 30 countries, with over 100 suppliers from around the world. Willie Wood, Head of Technical at Worldwide Fruit explains "We need robust and effective data management systems for all our global supply base. It is imperative that we have a partner who can deliver this area of expertise."
The value of Greenlight Quality Management
Having the ability to provide feedback to suppliers, regarding their quality performance is another critical requirement for the business. Julie Thorold, Quality and Compliance Manager at Worldwide Fruit, says: "Greenlight Quality Management is allowing us to see how our suppliers are performing throughout the season. We can tackle underperforming suppliers immediately and drive improvements with them so that we don't live with problems throughout the season."
Greenlight Quality Management has facilitated a measurable improvement in product consistency. Since the platform was introduced, produce rejection rates have fallen from 40% to less than 10%. The focus and visibility GLQM provides their business ensures Worldwide Fruit's reputation as suppliers of top-quality fruit is being retained and enhanced, it provides continued customer satisfaction and is helping Worldwide Fruit reach its ultimate objective of being their customers' first choice fruit producers.
One of Worldwide Fruit's core values is 'Together', which emphasises the importance of all team members feeling involved and passionate about the business and their contribution to its success. This value applies equally to the company's suppliers. "The relationship we have with Muddy Boots really does support this core value," says Julie Thorold, Quality and Compliance Manager. "We worked very collaboratively on development, making sure we were aligned on vision and how Muddy Boots fit into it.
New Initiatives for 2020
Data capture is integral to Worldwide Fruit's processes and Muddy Boots are constantly exploring new ways for the business to further improve and streamline using GLQM’s powerful reporting and analytics capabilities. New initiatives in 2020 for Worldwide Fruit include product benchmark checks, these have been a key driver for suppliers continuously improving their performance.
Product benchmarking has been used in two key areas.
1. In-store sampling – Checks are performed in retail stores on a mobile device to monitor the quality of Worldwide Fruit products and benchmark against competitors' products.
2. Taste testing – Products are purchased from retail stores and blind taste tested against competitor products; this check has been evolving to enable retailers themselves to perform these checks.
A further initiative for 2020 has been the fruit monitoring solution. Data is captured on the quality and maturity of the fruit prior to harvest, helping determine when the optimal time for picking is and giving early warning indicators on any potential problems later in the process. Automatic generation of grower reports and an interactive dashboard help to visualise optimum picking dates, creating a ‘batting order’ of what fruit to use and when.
*Example of in-store sampling checks
Collaboration in action
A great example of collaborative work between Muddy Boots and Worldwide Fruit was demonstrated in a proof of concept case study in conjunction with Cardiff University. Using the vast data set of historical checks, the students were able to prove the value of AI and machine learning in shelf life prediction. Not only does this prove significant business value to Worldwide Fruit, but more importantly affirms Quality Management’s value to the industry, with its ability to help with key sustainability drivers such as food waste reduction.
Mark Powell, Solutions Manager at Muddy Boots explains "The shelf life prediction model is an exciting innovation which can give Worldwide Fruit an early insight into whether a batch of fruit is likely to reach it’s stated shelf life or not. This will help with important stock movement and rotation decisions. Looking further ahead, we would like this to open an opportunity to have dynamic shelf life on the labels which is informed by the data. Ultimately this leads to a reduction in food waste for retailer and consumer towards the end of the product life. This project also demonstrated the value of Worldwide Fruit capturing good quality data which can help inform other AI models in the future."