I had read earlier this year about the 80 to 90 percent decline in peach harvest in Georgia and South Carolina due to the hard freeze. Then yesterday, I read about the decline in peaches coming from Texas. Yes, there are other regions that supply peaches, but with major regions of supply being restricted, it got me thinking about quality implications.
The prices of the fresh peaches may increase especially on a regional basis. What about the impact on supply to the further processors? These types of weather events can impact the quality of the available peaches in addition to the overall tonnage. The standards for fresh peach sales are probably higher than the standards for processing peaches. But if the acceptable quality standards go down for the fresh peaches, how will that impact the supply to further processors and their acceptable quality. How bad is bad? How you source your peaches can make quite a bit of difference in quality. If you are buying from select growers or a co-operative, your ability to control quality may be better than spot purchases. But what if you purchase sort offs from packing houses for further processing? You may be receiving peaches from several different growers that are accumulated in cold storage rooms until enough are available for shipment. You could have peaches in various states of ripeness, color, size, appearance or mold. Obviously, there would be little traceability back to the fields and even less control of what, when and how pesticides are applied to the lot of sort offs.
This type of situation is not limited to just peaches, just pick another different type fruit or a vegetable and you can have the same situation happening. Perhaps, several weather driven produce shortages or increased risk of poor quality at the same time have to be managed. Potentially, the shelf life could be affected which would change as the product moves through the supply chain with incremental losses due to sort offs due to quality issues.
So, how do you know what you are receiving?
Many companies sell based upon a USDA product quality level specification but a customer may have their own specific specification for acceptance or you may have your specific specification.
What is acceptable is what is documented in the specification and usually, that specification is linked to the contract. But specifications are written by people and people can revise specifications based upon business needs e.g. cost savings or supply needs. The ability to rapidly version requirements across all locations and retain inspection data specific to the version of the specification used is incredibly powerful.
So as a supplier or a customer, you need a quick means to evaluate product throughout the supply chain and identify your best partners or the worse partners based on quality and shelf life performance data. Compliance to quality is dollars, failure to accurately capture quality data will result in significant losses in dollars due to poor quality sort offs/rejections or even unhappy customers who return a product that goes bad within the expected shelf life. It only takes a couple of bad apples to obtain a reputation as a poor produce supplier.
How do you solve this problem, you Share-ify
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