Ex-Wal-Mart Exec Peterson Forms Peri Traceability Firm

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Bruce Peterson, former Wal-Mart s.v.p. and a leading proponent of radio frequency identification (RFID) for perishables, has formed a new collaborative venture with Michael McCartney to establish global traceability guidelines for fresh foods.

Peterson, president of Peterson Insights here, and McCartney, principal of Sausalito, Calif.-based QLM Consulting, identified the creation of a perishable industry traceback taskforce as the first item on their ambitious start-up agenda.

"Too much emphasis is being placed solely on implementing good agriculture practices to solve food safety issues," said Peterson, noting the urgency to improve supply chain traceability. "The customer wants assurance that if there is an issue that items in question can be to identified, isolated, and communicated to the supply chain partners in more effective ways."

The team will focus on joining global stakeholders to improve the transparency of the food supply chain, "so that everyone will have the ability to lookup quickly and see the dots connected in the supply chain," McCartney added.

Peterson emphasized having the "tools to do the job; we need to collaborate globally to get the job done now -- not later. The team will be putting together a leadership group made up of key retailers, growers and third party logistics providers to weld together a global solution "

Peterson, formerly s.v.p./perishables at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., announced his resignation from Wal-Mart on Feb. 2. He was at the forefront of the retailer's supercenter expansion, which grew from 6 to 1,500 stores in 15 years. He introduced reusable plastic containers (RPCs) to the United States produce industry, and was a leading advocate of RFID and other technologies to increase perishable supply chain efficiencies.

McCartney's QLM Consulting specializes in providing and applying technologies to automate supply chains in perishables, health care, retail, and automotive. QLM is credited for demonstrating the first RFID application in retail in 1999, establishing the first perishable RFID working lab in 2004, publishing landmark RFID studies to demonstrate the use in food traceability in 2005 and in 2007, and performing the first study to identify the right RFID tag to use on returnable assets in the global supply chain.
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