Farmers cooperative Cherry Central is using IBM's DB2 Web Query platform to trace food through the supply chain with the goal of improving food safety.
, a cooperative of fruit
and vegetable growers, is using IBM's DB2 Web Query analytics platform to track
fruits and vegetables to boost food safety.
N2N Global, IBM's business
partner, has built a business analytics platform for the cooperative using DB2
running on the IBM Power System platform to trace products throughout the food
distribution process, Steve Eiseler, vice president of operations at Cherry
Central, told eWEEK.
Cherry Central traces fruit
and vegetables from harvest through the distribution warehouse and to the
grocery store and consumers. In real time, Cherry Central collects, views,
aggregates and analyzes data, which is growing at a rate of 1.6 million records
per month, IBM reports.
afflict 48 million people, or one in six Americans per year, according to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"IBM is committed to
bringing advanced capabilities such as analytics to clients and business
partners to help them transform the way they deliver their products and
services to their clients," Andy Monshaw, general manager of IBM Midmarket
Business, said in a statement.
Cherry Central collects data
on mobile devices such as the Motorola
rugged handheld, according to Randy Odom, director of sales and
marketing for N2N Global.
see the date, time and location of the food items as well as details on food-safety
"Cherry Central is able
to see the flow of the product through the entire operation from packing to
processing to warehousing," Odom told eWEEK.
DB2 Web Query allows
companies such as Cherry Central to query or create reports from data in a DB2
database, IBM reports. They can view data in spreadsheets, PDF or HTML. IBM
first introduced a form of DB2 in 1983.
The data platform also helps
Cherry Central prepare for Food and Drug Administration audits of food plants,
IBM announced its
collaboration with Cherry Central on Oct. 18.
Big Blue's analytics
platform can reduce the amount of time it takes to trace specific items in the
supply chain, according to Eiseler.
"Any given plant used
to take two days," Eiseler said. "Now it's done in less than a
By using the analytics
technology, Cherry Central is aiming for transparency in the food process to
guard against spoilage, according to Eiseler.
"One of our key
challenges is to provide transparency to the data," he said. "The
analytics fill that gap for us."
In addition, the platform
allows Cherry Central to set up control points for data such as temperature and
ingredients used, Eiseler said.
"The approach has
increased our accuracy and makes sure control points are monitored as
The tracing process involves
tracing one step forward and one step back in the food process, according to
"If you bring me a jar
of apple sauce or apple juice that was produced here, I can tell you what
orchard it was grown in, what processing plant, when it was processed and when
it got delivered to the customer," he said.
All cans, caps and bottles
in which the food products are packaged and shipped in need to be tracked as
well, Eiseler noted.
The project with Cherry
Central is part of IBM's Smarter
, in which the IT company aims to have food traced properly
through a complex global supply chain.
IBM unveiled the new DB2
Oct. 19 to integrate a data warehouse appliance from
the recently acquired Netezza into IBM's zEnterprise mainframe.
In addition, Cherry
Central's adoption of IBM's analytics technology is part of Big Blue's push
into the small and midsize business market.
"We are collaborating
with Cherry Central in an effort to bring a small to midsize business at the
forefront of innovation to improve its ability to quickly trace tainted food
through a more transparent food supply chain, ultimately ensuring the safety of
consumers," Monshaw said.
"We're able to react
with a relatively small number of individuals to do a lot of very difficult,
complex and large tasks," Eiseler said.
Cherry Central has
transitioned from tracing food products on reams of paper to using an analytics
database. "We can present what our focus is without going through masses
of paper to produce it," Eiseler explained.
"We wouldn't have
thought 10 years ago that we can make records for food safety electronic, and
today they're almost 100 percent electronic," Angela Paymard, chairman of
N2N Global, said in an IBM video. "That's a huge advancement for the food-safety