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Encos System Picked To Set New Global Standard

A New Zealand company has developed a revolutionary generic information network it claims will set a new global standard in supply chain management for food manufacturers and agricultural producers.

The system, developed by Christchurch-based Encos Limited, breaks the boundaries of linear supply chain logistics by using a product tracking network applicable across companies and borders.

Encos managing director, Greg Evans, says food growers, processors and governments hit by crises such as infected ingredients, chemical contamination and genetic modifications can no longer rely on food supply chain integrity.

"Serious mistrust is growing between consumers and industries, one that is demanding traceability and the right to know the origin of a product and what it contains beyond the ingredients listed on the label," Greg says.

"Current supply chain technology is incapable of providing the transparency needed to provide the answers being sought - and with total justification - by end-users in the market.

"The necessary information on product traceability is simply not available because there are too many different techologies operating incompatible networks, or boxes, through the entire supply chain."

Mr Evans says companies have spent billions of dollars on information technology to improve the speed and efficiency of supply chain modules, but are increasingly out of step with a global explosion in inter-connected markets.

"The contradiction is that no current supply chain system can deliver the requirement for tracking and tracing products in an ever-expanding network, from the farm gate to the consumer's plate, and back again.

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"To achieve this traceability, there has to be a user-friendly system that everyone in the supply chain can access as a universal knowledge platform, whether a farmer, a distributor, or a supermarket operator.

"This is the generic information base Encos provides, vertically up and down the supply chain as well as horizontally across industries and countries, with full flexibility, security and manageability."

Mr Evans says the new system is being tested by selected New Zealand food producers and processors in meat and fibre sectors.

Participating companies are able to add value through product certification, as well as by efficiency audits of product movements at each processing stage.

"Right now a meat processor selling a 100 per cent grass-fed product into Europe that can be audited back to the farm would have a huge market advantage over the rest of the world.

"Encos enables exporters to achieve this advantage by turning a basic commodity into an information product - a quality that is rapidly becoming more important than the actual product itself.

"Traceable information on what a product contains and where it comes from opens up huge opportunities for every participant in the supply chain.

"The opportunities exist for growers looking for a way to add value to their products, all the way to retailers wanting to match specific products to individual customers' needs."

Mr Evans says Encos has unlimited international potential, with major food producers and financial institutions expressing strong interest in its generic information principles and auditing capability.

"After several years of software development and now practical testing in New Zealand, we believe we are 18 months ahead of any comparable system being used in the world.

"The positive early response from industry experts here and abroad is an indication that Encos is the right supply chain process at the right time."

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