Track and Trace
Track and trace technology, also known as traceability, tracks the location of a product through the entire supply chain from the source to the final destination.
Introduction to Track and Trace
Track and trace technology, also known as traceability, tracks the location of a product through the entire supply chain from the source to the final destination. Goods can be traced both backward along the supply chain and forward along the distribution chain. Track and trace technology allows consumers can know exactly where their product is, who is handling it, and what the materials were used to produce it.
The concept of track and trace can also be expanded to track an item along the distribution chain by serial number, expiration date, or lot number, to gather data on the materials used to produce the product. This includes all phases of product development, including design, engineering, supply, manufacturing, delivery, and post-sale. Traceability is vital to maintaining profitability and a competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace. As consumers demand products that come from safe, genuine, and ethical sources, many well-known retail companies have implemented track and trace practices.
What is Track and Trace?
In general terms, “track and trace” is broken into two pieces. Tracing implies careful examination and reproduction of the exact path while Tracking requires less rigorous observation for you to move from step to step (rewrite). Concerning inventory management, track and trace technology tracks the historical end-to-end movement of a product through the whole supply chain - from its origin to the end of its useful life. Companies can trace goods backward along the supply chain and forward along the distribution chain. The concept of track and trace can be expanded to track an item along the distribution chain by serial number, expiration date, or lot number, to gather data on the materials used to produce the product, including during the design, engineering, supply, manufacturing, delivery, post-sale phases. Track and trace technology allows companies to see where their products have been and where they are going.
How does Track and Trace Technology Work?
Track and trace technology connects all points of the supply chain, allowing users to understand how the points relate to each other. In the event one of the points is compromised, it is easy to locate the problem and take corrective action.
Create a record for each product or an entire lot. A lot system allows users to track a batch according to the expiration date, serial number, batch identification, and more.
Assign a unique identifier to each product at the beginning of its lifecycle. An inventory management system with a track and trace function will automatically do this.
Track the product or lot utilizing barcode scanning technology to scan the product at predetermined locations to collect information as it moves through its entire lifecycle via its unique identifier.
Utilize location services to track products by lot numbers, serial numbers, batch numbers, etc. It is necessary to track a product’s movement from predetermined, clearly-defined locations at your facility.
The product is scanned at each designated location, creating a digital trail of information of its path through the entire supply chain. Users will receive an alert when the product reaches its final destination, but traceability doesn't end there since the product will be tracked through the post-sale phase.
Why is Trace-ability Important?
Why should you worry about traceability? While traceability was once viewed as a regulatory requirement, it has evolved into a sound business practice the past few decades. Track and trace technology allows users to collect and share data on product movement to improve business processes, boost profitability, and achieve sustainability. With track and trace technology, companies can also quickly improve the quality of a product, manage warranties, and address safety issues.
Track and trace technology enables companies to valuable data, so managers can make better, more informed business decisions and identify “bottlenecks” along the supply chain. A track and trace system will also protect a brand by ensuring the quality and purity of all the materials used in a company’s products. And, if a recall or safety issue occurs, companies will have much more control over the situation if they have track and trace practices in place.