Fresh item management (FIM) within the ARTS Operational Data Model context encompasses the practice of monitoring and controlling the acquisition, transportation, processing, storage and disposition of perishable merchandise through a retail enterprise. Perishable merchandise includes any item with a limited shelf-life that requires a controlled environment for storing and moving (e.g. refrigeration, limited exposure to light or Ultra Violet light, etc.) and would include things ranging from produce and meat to batteries and prescription drugs.
This definition limits the functional scope of FIM to the retailer. The goal of FIM is to maximize the profitability of perishable merchandise sales through:
•Matching fresh item ordering and receiving to sales demand in order to synchronize merchandise flow with optimum shelf freshness;
•Displaying fresh items in a way that keeps the merchandise fresh, clean, and neatly arranged to appeal to customers;
•Attractive, informative retail unit labeling that informs consumers when to buy and use the product, where the product was grown or produced, product ingredients, product allergy warnings, etc.;
•Identifying and eliminating any delays or environmental conditions that cause merchandise spoilage or reduction in shelf life;
•Tracking the flow of fresh items through each activity that touches the product; and
•Identifying and eliminating the causes for waste and spoilage in preparatory operations.
In addition to these bottom line benefits, FIM is required for retailers to satisfy regulatory demands around food safety tracking, reporting and, where necessary, recall processing. Fresh item traceability, or the ability to track an item through every action that touches it, is meant to identify sources of contamination or infection that pose a threat to consumer health and safety.
As currently scoped in the ARTS Operational Data Model, FIM includes data entities and attributes designed to support the following business functions:
•Fresh item identification at a saleable unit and/or lot level – including maintaining relationship between fresh items used as ingredients within other prepared or assembled items;
•Fresh item product labeling;
•Fresh item tracking through ALL activities that touch the product; and
•Fresh item recall notification.
This initial version of FIM support within the ARTS Operational Data Model will evolve and grow in future releases. For now, it is limited to supporting these four core functions.