PMA’s new guide offers blueprint for standardizing fresh produce EDI

A new guide created by Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Supply Chain Efficiencies Committee is designed specifically to help companies in the fresh produce industry implement electronic data interchange (EDI). The “Implementation Guide for Fresh Produce Data Standards and Synchronization” uses globally-accepted terminology and best practices to identify fresh produce items as well as business locations – and it’s available free on PMA’s website.

“This is the equivalent of Rosetta Stone for EDI. Not only will it help you become fluent in the EDI vocabulary that describes the fresh produce business, it will get everyone speaking the same language” says Mike Agostini of Wal-Mart, who chairs the volunteer committee. “With this as your guide, you will be able to communicate electronically more easily, now and in the future.”

The guide is designed for companies that are voluntarily choosing to implement EDI. It describes the 58 of 202 “attributes” defined by global GS1 standards that specifically describe fresh produce items and locations. The 58 attributes include the 21 attributes required for the Produce Traceability Initiative. It also recommends best practices for using those GS1 standards to synchronize data between suppliers and retailers. For each of the produce-specific attributes, the guide provides definitions, examples and other considerations. The GS1 standards utilized in the guide are platform-neutral, and are compatible with third-party service providers.

The PMA Supply Chain Efficiencies Committee is a volunteer committee comprised of association members that provide oversight and guidance on the development and application of supply chain practices that create greater efficiencies throughout the fresh-produce supply chain. To view a complete list of committee members, visit PMA.com. Volunteers from Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s Industry Technology Advisory Committee also participated.

“Thanks to the work of volunteers from across the supply chain, help that is specific to our industry is now available to any fresh produce company that wants to take advantage of EDI, “ says Alec Leach of Taylor Farms, who co-chairs the committee with Agostini.

The EDI guide is the latest initiative spearheaded by PMA to improve industry’s supply chain efficiencies. PMA’s long-time leadership role began with the association’s advocacy of industry adoption of price look-up codes in 1990, and includes PMA’s work since 2007 to encourage chain-wide adoption of the Produce Traceability Initiative. Download the new EDI guide from PMA’s online Resource Center.

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