Our industry is facing a number of challenges in this area, but a collaborative solution may not be far away.
METRO GROUP, a member of The Consumer Goods Forum and leading international wholesaler and one of Europe’s biggest fresh fish and meat marketers, has acknowledged traceability as a key issue for many years. Whereas in the beginning we used traceability solutions for business-to-business (B2B) commerce only, METRO decided to enhance those traceability capabilities and product data directly to the professional customers of our wholesale subsidy in 2012. This concept works throughout the entire METRO Cash & Carry value chain. 
After implementing a successful pilot of our traceability solution for fish and meat in Germany, we are now launching a roll-out to other EU countries.
The innovative traceability solution offers a cloud-based, decentralised data management for ease of integrating diverse databases and interfaces. The system is scalable and operates on an internationally harmonised level. A key feature of the traceability approach is that it is strictly based on global GS1 standards: this ensures global interoperability, avoidance of cost caused by spreading island-solutions and best use of modern technology.
The Consumer Goods Forum, in recognition of the importance of traceability to both retailer and manufacturer members around the world, has now started a new project covering this very topic. The main focus of the Traceability & Crisis Management project is to bring the consumer goods industry together and to work towards a common approach. A win-win situation for all – manufacturers, retailers and customers.
The benefits from the traceability solution are not only confined to provide consumers with necessary information for purchase decisions. Alongside the traceability function the solution can be utilised for internal process optimisation, e.g. for more targeted recalls, in-stock and supply chain management, anti-counterfeiting solutions and fraud protection.
METRO GROUP, together with The Consumer Goods Forum, sees traceability as a key step in improving value chain efficiencies and improving consumer confidence, and we recommend members of The Consumer Goods Forum to contact Ruediger Hagedorn (r.hagedorn@theconsumergoodsforum.com) to see how you can get involved in this exciting and important project.

This post was written and contributed by:
Britta Gallus
Director of Group Regulatory Affairs
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