The South American beef industry is currently experiencing a shake up, due in part to changing market requirements in the European Union (EU).
As part of an overall reorganization effort aimed at improving the consistency and visibility of the industry's supply chains, a number of different stakeholders have come together to launch the Operational Management and Geodecisional Prototype to Track and Trace Agricultural Production (OTAG). The project consists of several parts, including the development of a traceability system that meets the needs of South American producers while satisfying EU regulations that establish safety-centric standards for imports.
Projects Magazine, a publication of Insight Partners that focuses on European research and technological development, asserts that "It is recognized that traceability using electronic devices, readers and labels, is understood as the safest way for effective tracking and tracing."
The news source explains that there are three main factors driving the industry's adoption of traceability technology. These include the desire to add value through product differentiation, the need to comply with international standards that have become requirements for entry into particular markets such as the EU's and the prospect of improving supplier coordination in a way that reduces transaction costs.
The ability to track and trace beef products throughout the supply chain also enables producers and retailers to provide their customers with specific information on the practices used to raise their cattle. For those companies with exemplary environmental and animal welfare records, this offers an opportunity to highlight positive conditions and draw a contrast with competitors who either have lower standards or lack the data tracking capability to confirm any claims they make regarding the sustainability of their practices.
Businesses in other industries can also implement label traceability systems to achieve similar goals. Using a solution that is GS1 certified ensures that it will function properly, because the underlying technology has been proven sound through its extensive use in a wide range of industries.