Food safety, traceability and sustainability blog


Food Safety / Food Safety Program

SUBWAY®/IPC's Journey to Supply Chain Transparency

IPC Logo

SUBWAY® / IPC's vision was to achieve full supply chain visibility. Armed with that level of visibility, they'd be able to make real-time, fast, and accurate decisions while giving customers exactly what they craved - transparency around the food they buy.

IPC's Quality and Supply Chain Director, Rick Buttner, came to the realization that traceability by lot code - from the manufacturer to the SUBWAY® restaurant - was the key after numerous large recalls.

By using GS1 Standards and partnering with FoodLogiQ, SUBWAY® / IPC has set about achieving their vision of supply chain transparency. We'll cover the 4-step process SUBWAY® / IPC used in today's post.

After produce suppliers introduced the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative to IPC, they joined in 2010.

IPC quickly learned there was great opportunity to improve the way they managed and shared item information, which provided the foundation for all their business processes and for enhanced traceability. IPC worked closely with their supply chain partners to enhance the efficiency and visibility of their supply chain implementing GS1 Standards in a process improvement journey.

Utilizing GS1 Standards, product data discrepancies in our supply chain system seemed like a good place to start. With the help of GS1 US®, they were able to outline specific steps our manufacturers, distributors, and redistributors had to take to reach their vision while getting a tangible ROI. IPC leveraged the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative Adoption Checklists to establish timelines and goals for their whole system.

Here are the 4 steps of their journey in more detail:

step 1: Assign unique global product and location identifiers

SUBWAY® assigned Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) to all SUBWAY® branded products and asked our manufacturers to do the same with their proprietary items to facilitate the communication of product-specific information whenever a business transaction takes place or a barcode is scanned in the supply chain. IPC also asked trading partners to start using Global Location Numbers (GLNs) to help identify supply chain physical locations.

GS1 Standards & FoodLogiQ

These standards provided a solid foundation toward whole chain traceability. Using these unique global identifiers greatly simplified the exchange of information for both master data and dynamic data for business transactions and traceability.

STEP 2: leverage the global data synchronization network (GDSN) as one source of supply chain product data

The GDSN enables the electronic transfer of standardized product information between trading partners and the continuous synchronization of that information over time. Most IPC suppliers and distributors were more than willing to use the GDSN, as they saw the mutual benefit for all involved to have one source of product data. The GDSN ensures all partners have access to the same, accurate information.

As part of a data quality SixSigma study last year, IPC estimated that by using the GDSN and having everyone access one source of truth, their organization would see a return on investment of about $1 million dollars in annual freight and material handling costs just through “cleaner” product information for 83 products where they corrected erroneous data leveraging GS1 US Data Quality rules.

STEP 3: improve visibility with case level gs1-128 labeling

Supply Chain Product DataIn 2014, IPC outlined expectations for trading partners around the use of GS1-128 barcode case labels and this is now part of their contracts. These labels are important to the traceability program because it encodes the product GTIN as well as other dynamic data elements, including dates and batch or lot numbers. By being able to identify cases, all supply chain partners can manage fast and accurate tracking of inventory.

STEP 4: integrate technology solution for enhanced traceability

IPC partnered with FoodLogiQ to create an enhanced traceability program. The custom platform syncs with the GDSN and provides an online portal for all vendors to manage and track their shipments from the source all the way to the destination restaurant. Eight suppliers and distributors participated in the pilot, assisted with the development of the program and helped determine how it will operate moving forward.

After a pilot concluded successfully in November 2015, IPC began fully rolling out the SUBWAY®-IPC/FoodLogiQ Traceability program. Currently 74% of products by volume sold to SUBWAY® have a GS1-128 barcode. The goal is for 100% of SUBWAY® branded product manufacturers to have these in place by December 2016. 46% of their distribution system (by restaurants serviced) are already capturing or have committed to capture case lot code information for each case delivered to their restaurants by the end of 2016.

Traceability programs based on GS1 Standards reduce the costs and time of managing suppliers, reduce the cost of investigating and executing recalls or withdrawals, increase profits with access to new customers and channels, and help protect the brand by delivering quality product.
Get The Full Case Study 

Posted by Katy Jones on Nov 2, 2016 12:07:01 PM