June 18, 2020
COVID-19 Takes Its Toll on the Produce Supply Chain
The coronavirus is spreading among fruit and vegetable packers throughout the U.S.
New Year’s Eve 2019. Families and friends gathered around the world to ring in the new year of a new decade. Few, if any, especially in North America and Europe had any concerns about a global pandemic. Global stock markets were soaring and consumer confidence was high in those early days of 2020. People were making holiday plans to warm beaches, perhaps thinking of graduation ceremonies or weddings in the months to come. Flash forward 100 days and the vibrancy and optimism of January 2020 has given way to fear, sorrow, and panic only months later.
Nearly every company in every industry throughout the world has been dramatically impacted by COVID-19 as a result, but few industries have been hit harder by the pandemic than the food processing industry. Deemed an essential service by all levels of government, food processors continued to do their best to adapt to a changing normal and maintain operations to guarantee a safe food supply for our families. In doing so, the close quarters and social interactions on the floors of their factories and sorting plants have contributed to their unusually high infection rates among workers in comparison to other manufacturing and distribution verticals.
As the summer harvest season gets underway, workers will find themselves in close quarters in both residential communities where they live as well as the processing facilities involved in packing, preserving and shipping.
This reality will force companies who employ those essential workers to find any and all possible means of protecting them. Personal protective equipment (PPE), pandemic planning and operational continuity, social distancing, and other forced measures. Many of these terms were never part of the vocabulary for a fruit and vegetable packaging operation or any food processor just a few months ago. This summer those preparedness plans are being put to the test in an ever evolving mix of how best to protect those employees within the four walls and how best to interact with the general public and vendors beyond them.
MacGregor Partners developed the M.Folio Driver Kiosk to mitigate the risk of disruption and keep drivers and facility staff safe and efficient. The kiosk replaces in-person interaction and offers the ability to remotely manage driver check-in and the driver queue, all as part of a flexible digital document solution. M.Folio is an electronic Bill of Lading (eBOL) solution that protects drivers and staff, eliminating face-to-face interactions and providing secure document access for remote workers.
M.Folio Driver Kiosk key features:
- Paperless Bill of Lading
- Connected Driver Kiosk
- Electronic Signature Workflow
- AI Document Grouping
- Simple Search Engine-Style Functionality
- Support for 55 languages
- 7-day remote implementation and training
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