Dole Keeps Information Fresh

By Trever Scott Print this article Print

Dole Fresh Fruit chose an infrastructure that provides management with worldwide, real-time access to production and sales information on a common platform.

In the early 1990s, Dole Fresh Fruit used several systems to support the three companies that provide produce to North America and Europe. To improve operations, the company implemented an infrastructure that would provide worldwide access to production and sales information on a common platform, according to Trever Scott, director of information technology, North America. The new system enables management to make strategic decisions based on real-time information.

Dole Food comprises several operating divisions that make up the world’s largest producer and marketer of fresh fruit and vegetables, along with packaged foods. One of those companies, Dole Fresh Fruit North America, is a sales agent, distribution and import firm that provides Dole’s customers in the United States with fresh fruit produced by the divisions of Dole Fresh Fruit International (DFFI) in San Jose, Costa Rica. It produces fruit for the European and U.S. markets, and for some Latin American countries

Dole Fresh Fruit N.A. performs the U.S. compliance tracking on DFFI-produced fruit and runs all the facilities that receive and store the product. It’s also responsible for product sales; tracking revenue; reimbursing the producing companies; tracking assets and reassigning rolling assets; managing product delivery; and backhauling sales and management. At the center of these activities and requirements sit the command, control and information systems in the Dole Food data center

To provide consistent, reliable distribution services for our division, we depend on mission-critical applications that support our logistics functions, including transportation, product tracking and traceability from Dole farms to our distribution centers in the United States. Dole works around the clock, with fresh products from Latin American farms delivered weekly to our North American ports. Our IT team supports all applications and systems needed for reliable 24/7 operations

Our mission is to provide our customers with safe, healthy, high-quality products and services. Critical requirements for providing such services are systems stability and our ability to find and resolve problems quickly.  However, at one point, systems stability was so poor that it disrupted our ability to ship products daily. Internal customers of IT services were very frustrated, and the credibility of IT was at an all-time low

In the 1990s, we used several systems to support the separate divisions of the Dole companies that provide bananas, pineapples and other fresh-fruit produce to North America and Europe. To improve those systems, we decided to implement an infrastructure that would provide worldwide access to production and sales information on a common platform.

The new system would allow management to make strategic decisions using real-time information. It also would modernize our systems and would follow a single concept: best of breed

Fast-forward 15 years, and many of those goals have been reached. A voyage that begins in Ecuador or Honduras can be transferred into the U.S. sphere of influence electronically using industry-standard data sets and practices. When port personnel in the United States and Latin America discuss a particular voyage, they are now both looking at the same system.  

This article was originally published on 2011-06-16
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