Traceability remains a hot topic in 2023 amid a year of mass recalls. This summer, Trader Joe’s was forced to pull six products within five weeks due to contamination from rocks, insects, metal, and undeclared milk. The problem stretches beyond a single supermarket chain; by the end of August, more than 170 food products had been recalled in the U.S. due to contamination. 2023 saw the highest number of recalls per quarter in four years, prompting the FDA to issue a new rule enhancing supply chain traceability.
Having thorough supply chain traceability and raw material genealogy helps manufacturers in highly regulated industries prevent recalls and, in the worst case, rapidly respond and rectify them if they do occur. By mastering the science of traceability, manufacturers not only meet and maintain regulatory compliance, but they also protect customers, safeguard brand integrity, improve inventory accuracy, and minimize the impact of product recalls.
Table of Contents
- What is Supply Chain Traceability?
- How Does Product Genealogy Enhance Traceability?
- How TrakSYS™ Improves End-to-End Supply Chain Traceability and Genealogy
- Case Studies: TrakSYS in Action
What is Supply Chain Traceability?
Supply chain traceability refers to the ability to track and trace the movement of products and their components throughout the entire supply chain, from the origins of raw materials to the finished product, and even through end-of-life activities like recycling or reselling.
This meticulous process enables businesses to monitor the journey of goods with transparency and accountability at every step. Traceability is paramount in the food and beverage industry, as it allows swift identification and removal of contaminated or faulty products. Similarly, in the pharmaceutical sector, traceability ensures the authenticity of drugs, safeguards against counterfeits, and facilitates prompt recalls if needed. Put succinctly: Traceability acts as a safety net that helps manufacturers keep consumers safe and ensure products meet stringent quality standards.
Beyond its vigilance in monitoring the flow of goods, traceability empowers manufacturers to identify inefficiencies in the production and distribution processes. By pinpointing bottlenecks and areas of waste, businesses can optimize operations and reduce costs, ultimately enhancing overall efficiency.
How Does Product Genealogy Enhance Traceability?
Without proper product and material genealogy, end-to-end traceability is incomplete and fragmented. To understand product genealogy, imagine it as a detailed biography of a product, chronicling its life story from conception to finished product.
Product genealogy tracking goes beyond supply chain traceability by providing a comprehensive history of each item, detailing raw materials, equipment used, inspection results, lot and serial numbers, dates, and more. This exhaustive documentation ensures complete visibility, allowing companies to verify the authenticity of every component, reduce defects and recalls, streamline operations, and improve customer satisfaction.
In essence, product genealogy is the proverbial paper trail that ensures every part of a product’s journey is accounted for, guaranteeing not only the safety of the final product but also the integrity of the entire supply chain.
How TrakSYS™ Improves End-to-End Supply Chain Traceability and Genealogy
Tools like TrakSYS offer traceability and genealogy tracking capabilities that are essential for maintaining regulatory compliance, ensuring product quality, and facilitating rapid recalls if necessary. By leveraging these features, manufacturers can enhance their operational efficiency, respond promptly to quality issues, and ultimately deliver safer, high-quality products to their customers. Below are four areas of traceability and genealogy that TrakSYS can help manufacturers improve.
1. Raw Material Management & Genealogy
Tracking a product’s material genealogy can look a lot like tracking a person’s genealogy through a family tree. TrakSYS allows manufacturers to gain a clear view of products’ raw material origins. It also enables the tracking of product components through the production lifecycle, including the raw materials, intermediate materials, and finished product stages. This accurate and referenceable genealogy allows manufacturers to expedite the investigations of customer feedback, product recalls, and quality concerns.
2. Real-time Data Collection and Inventory Management
It’s critical for manufacturers to not only map the genealogy of their raw materials and products, but also to leverage real-time data collection and inventory management to properly determine material needs.
With TrakSYS, manufacturers gain full, contextualized visibility into material locations, statuses, and interruptions in material flow. The solution also enables 1D and 2D barcodes, Direct Part Marking, and supports RFID technology, enabling businesses to properly account for and manage existing materials. By automating and tracking consumption and material replenishment, manufacturers can maintain delivery accuracy and minimize production delays.
3. Lot Tracking and Genealogy
Used properly, end-to-end supply chain traceability provides a complete history of materials organized by date of receipt, lot number, and quantity. This is especially paramount in the event a manufacturer needs to trace delayed or poor-quality materials back to their origins.
With TrakSYS, manufacturers can track material lots, sublots, and consumption through each phase of production. From there, they can manage the assignment of new lot numbers and individual product serialization for more granular lot traceability, making it easier to isolate quality, warranty, or safety issues.
4. Customer Safety and Satisfaction
Once a finished product is sent out to the customer, the ability to rely on airtight historical data becomes imperative in addressing complaints, recalls, or quality issues—especially in industries like food and beverage, pharmaceutical, or other heavily regulated industries.
Manufacturers need to be able to effectively record, track, and analyze customer feedback trends. TrakSYS Traceability can identify whether complaints originate from specific production dates, shifts, products, batch numbers, lot numbers, and production lines. With clear and contextualized root causes, manufacturers can then determine the appropriate corrective and preventative actions. In taking these actions and fostering a culture of transparency, manufacturers nurture customer relationships and safeguard their brand’s reputation.
Case Studies: TrakSYS in Action
Clear, documented traceability is vital to ensuring brand integrity, consumer safety, and regulatory compliance. To learn more about why manufacturers in highly regulated industries use TrakSYS for their traceability and product genealogy needs, check out the below video and case studies: