Since 2000 we have participated with the food industry in the development of product identification and electronic data sharing standards and have won several industry association awards for our innovative use of these standards in the technologies which we have developed and the successful implementations which we have delivered. We were in fact providing traceability solutions before “traceability” became the food supply chain requirement that it is today. At the time that we developed our first products “traceability” existed only in the research domain of university and government departments, which were working on animal health and food safety issues. It is after these researchers found us, to conduct pilot projects for them, that our products have been marketed as traceability solutions.
Traceability and Livestock Value Chain Experience
Merit-Trax Technologies was founded in 2000 by a team of software developers and system integrators, who have more than 60 years of combined experience in the food industry developing and implementing real-time supply chain management systems. We were early implementers of the GS1 (EAN/UCC) standards for barcodes to identify and manage the movement and variable attributes of boxes and pallets in meat, poultry and seafood supply chains, including the implementation of the VICS EDI standards for electronic data sharing between distributors and food retailers.
At its founding Merit-Trax developed and sold food distribution, box meat inventory, fresh and frozen food warehouse and back to back food trading systems. In 2002 Merit-Trax and other business partners, including IBM, collaborated on the adoption of the GS1 (EAN/UCC) barcode and Global Data Dictionary standards to implement food traceability using the one link up / one link down method of electronic data sharing and the use of RFID technology in animal identification and food processing traceability. This led to the development of Merit-Trax’s TRAX-IT Traceability system, a “gate to plate” traceability solution which consists of an integrated collection of modules and components which manage production, supply chain and traceability for primary producers, packers, processors and distributors. TRAX-IT software implements the GS1 Global Traceability Standards, Can-Trace Traceability Standards, the Traceability for Meat and Poultry US Implementation Guide and product identification and data sharing best practices for livestock value chains and fresh and frozen food supply chains.
Merit-Trax has been an active participant in the development of traceability standards and best practices including its participation in the Efficient Food Service Response initiative and the Can-Trace Traceability Technology Committee.
Since 2002 Merit-Trax has been a traceability technology provider and consultant to both Agriculture and Agrifood Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
In 2006 Merit-Trax was selected by GS1 Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to develop the Can-Trace Traceability Integration Guidelines, which identified the gaps between primary producers and their downstream supply chains and recommended the changes that were needed to version 1.0 of the Can-Trace Traceability Standard. These recommendations were adopted in version 2.0 of the Can-Trace Traceability Standard. Merit-Trax was also wrote the Can-Trace Traceability Multi-Ingredient White Paper.
Merit-Trax has conducted traceability workshops for many industry conferences, government agencies and producer associations in order to present the many benefits of implementing traceability technology. We have conducted workshops for the 2007 Canadian RFID conference in Toronto, the 2008 GS1 USA UConnect conference in Dallas, the 2009 Trace R&D conference in Winnipeg, the Agriculture and Agrifood Canada Traceability and Food Safety Research divisions, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Animal Health and Policy divisions, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, the Ontario Veal Association and the Ontario Cattle Feeders Association.
Since 2004 Merit-Trax has developed extensive experience with the development and implementation of value chain management and traceability solutions for producer owned livestock value chains, which Merit-Trax is currently implementing for multiple enterprises.
Our value chain management and traceability solutions for producer owned livestock value chains have been recognized for their excellence in innovation for the implementation of traceability using GS1 and VICS standards for product identification and electronic data sharing. Merit-Trax was nominated by GS1 Canada and awarded the VICS Collaborative Commerce Achievement Award as Most Innovative Third-Party Technology Provider at the GS1 USA and VICS annual convention in Orlando in 2007.
Merit-Trax has a proven track record of innovation in implementing traceability technology in a manner which provides our customers with maximum cost savings that they gain through improved operational productivity and detailed production cost management. For example, at Atlantic Beef Products our TRAX-IT Traceability system provided real-time data integration between our supply chain management software, a third party RFID trolley hook tracking system, an Avery Weightronix integrated weighing system and a Marel Flow Line deboning / cut room system. TRAX-IT automates the livestock payment process using a settlement grid that rewards producers whose carcasses meet retail customers’ product type and attribute requirements, automates suggested and minimum selling price controls in the sales order module using individual production lot costs and a customer price discount grid, and automates the tracking of the meat from individual animals and / or receiving lots into the box and onto the pallet, to ensure that customers receive the product with the specific attributes that they ordered. This TRAX-IT implementation earned the Canadian Information Productivity Award Gold Medal for Excellence in Innovation in 2006 and the Business Solutions Magazine Channel Innovator Award for the RFID Category in 2007.