oa South African Journal of Information Management - Effective information access and automated traceability in fruit export chains in South Africa

Volume 8 Number 4
  • ISSN : 2078-1865
  • E-ISSN: 1560-683X



Deregulation of the South African (SA) fruit export industry in 1997 caused serious fragmentation of information, as well as harm to the supply chain. This led to significant inefficiencies and difficulty in responding to increasingly stringent legal and trade related traceability requirements. The SA fruit export industry cannot afford the risk of not having access to critical information through an effective traceability system - based on common procedures and standards - in case of a food safety incident. However, currently it does not provide a sufficient level of traceability at supply chain level. The consumer packaged goods industry has developed e-commerce building blocks based on global standards, offering automated traceability of fruit exports as well as significant benefits impacting the bottom line for companies of all sizes. These building blocks are available to the SA fruit export industry to enable traceability and provide significant efficiency benefits. This article provides a deeper understanding of the SA fruit export industry and its associated business needs, a case for effective information access, traceability and its application to this industry, as well as a thorough understanding of the technologies in the consumer packaged goods industry for the automation of supply chains. The authors conclude that effective information access and automated traceability is feasible for the SA fruit export industry and that early adoption of the e-commerce building blocks will result in a strategic advantage over the southern hemisphere competitors. Cohesion, willing participants and supportive thinking seem to exist to create the critical mass for the implementation of such an automated traceability system in this important industry.

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