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ARTS Announces Enhanced Fresh Item Management Standard

For Immediate Release
Kathy Grannis (202) 783-7971 or grannisk@nrf.com

ARTS Announces Enhanced Fresh Item Management Standard
-Improved Standard Could Minimize Disruption for Consumers with Food Recalls-

New York, January 15, 2012 - The National Retail Federation’s Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) today announced significant enhancements to its Fresh Item Management (FIM) Standard, which allows traceability for food items from farm to store.

The enhanced standard allows implementers to map specific EDI transactions, including purchase order, advance ship notice and invoice. Also, the FIM Standard data format makes it easier for companies to capture precise tracking information from product source to consumer purchase. In the case of recalls, this level of detail will permit retailers and manufacturers to identify only potentially contaminated products without destroying perfectly safe items, preventing further disruption of the supply chain.

Another significant enhancement the Standard offers is the ability to track food items through multiple transformations. For example, most grocery and big-box merchants have delis and bakeries where eggs are baked into cakes and chickens become salads and sandwich products; being able to isolate food prepared with contaminated items is now possible. To further support this, the ARTS Operational Data Model was updated in 2011 to support FIM-required transformation information.

Prior to publishing the enhanced standard for use by the industry, The Kroger Co. will conduct a pilot project in the first quarter of 2012 to ensure the objectives have been met and that the data flow is smooth and accurate.

“Ensuring food safety by being able to quickly pull products from shelves in the event of a recall is a priority for every food retailer, so this new standard will help us protect our customers,” said Francisca Vicente, IT Business Analyst at El Corte Inglés and a participant in the team that developed the Standard. “It’s extremely valuable to be able to hone in on only those products that are being recalled and will help minimize the disruption that customers experience when a product becomes unavailable as a result of a recall. This will also help companies avoid lost sales from pulling too much product.”

Led by a work team chaired by Vere Miller, a Senior Project Manager at Mettler-Toledo, FIM version 2.0 was developed in cooperation with GS1 US, a provider of supply chain standards, alongside a multinational ARTS Committee of retailers and solution providers including Bizerba, El Corte Ingles, IBM, The Kroger Co., Meat Solutions, Mettler-Toledo, NAFEM, RedPrairie, Retail Anywhere and YUM! Brands. During NRF’s 101st Annual Convention and EXPO, attendees can stop by the ARTS Pavilion (booth #1951) to review a preliminary, online copy of the Standard.

The Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS), a division of the National Retail Federation, is a retailer-driven international membership organization. ARTS was established in 1993 to develop best practices, technology standards and educational programs through collaboration and partnerships that will enable retailers, their vendors and suppliers to conduct business globally. ARTS standards, products and programs are dedicated to fostering innovation and increasing retailer efficiency.