How can you get more out of your track-and-trace?
This Q&A outlines how today’s manufacturers are using track-and-trace as a strategy to better see and manage the entire ecosystem of their production facilities, making smarter manufacturing a reality.
Q. What is “track-and-trace”?
A. Track-and-trace is the ability to identify and track a product from its point of origin all the way through the supply chain to the end consumer. For this to happen, it needs unique identification at all packaging levels: item, carton and pallet.
Q. Does this have anything to do with GS1 Standards?
A. Yes, this is where GS1 Standards and the relevant ID technology solutions come into the picture. With each product uniquely identified and labelled, trading partners can exchange information at every step, from manufacturing to consumer.
Q. How can track-and-trace help create the “factory of the future”?
A. In several ways:
- Better transparency: a robust system can record virtually every movement and operation, giving better visibility.
- Supplier checks: suppliers can demonstrate proof points from origin and understand which components have gone into which product variants.
- Driving production efficiencies: because the system collects data at all stages of the product journey, manufacturers can benefit from complete line monitoring then use this information to maximise the plant’s overall efficiency while cutting operational costs — essentially the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
- Faster and easier compliance: many government regulations demand food-product traceability from point-of-harvest to point-of-sale; Australia’s Food Standards Code requires manufacturers to trace items “one step back and one step forward”. Beyond complying with regulatory safety requirements, leading manufacturers aim for exceptional quality to distinguish their brand.
- Protect against theft and counterfeiting: future growth for manufacturers depends on brand trust and supply chain safety and integrity; track-and-trace enhances these.
- Build consumer trust: the ability to track a product and know its whole journey from farm to consumer allows good food safety management. It’s also an opportunity for food companies to build consumer trust and loyalty.
- Improve inventory: knowing inventory levels throughout supply chains makes inventory planning and management more efficient. Data-set patterns over time allow anticipation of demand shifts to optimise production efficiency. (Think Just In Time (JIT).)
Track-and-trace creates a defence against counterfeiters and recalls. It also gives the opportunity to improve operations, quality, efficiency and consumer trust.
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