SAN ANTONIO — Wegmans Food Markets has endorsed the Rapid Recall Exchange, an online recall service that standardizes and accelerates food and product recalls and withdrawals, as “the way we want to receive recall information,” said Kristin Andersen, business-to-business manager for Wegmans, during a session here earlier this month at U Connect 2010, sponsored by GS1 US and VICS.
Wegmans, Rochester, N.Y., is one of 101 retail and wholesale companies that have signed up to receive recall information from suppliers in the exchange, developed by GS1 US in collaboration with the Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers Association. On the manufacturer side, 346 companies are currently enrolled as senders of recall information in the exchange.
To date, Wegmans is receiving recall information through the exchange from about 300 suppliers (who are listed on a sign in its corporate lobby), and is encouraging other suppliers and retailers to join as soon as possible. “We need maximum adoption,” Andersen said.
The traditional way Wegmans receives recall information — a hodgepodge of phone calls, faxes, emails and news reports — “is not working,” Andersen said. “We're scrambling, looking for information and product.” The chain is not receiving the kind of information, such as UPCs, lot numbers and product images, that the Rapid Recall Exchange provides with speed and accuracy, she noted. It also offers handling instructions and customized attachments.
“The only way a recall can work is if we get standard information from our suppliers that provides us the details we need, so we can quickly and accurately execute the recall,” Andersen said. The recall exchange also enables Wegmans to respond back to suppliers via email.
The exchange reduces complexity for suppliers by giving them one tool to reach retailers and wholesalers in the same way. “It can shave off time and worry for our suppliers as well,” she said.