White Paper Traceability – Tracking and Tracing Goods and Building Trust

Why traceability matters – traceability enables product safety, manufacturing efficiency and quality assurance. Importantly, it also builds trust with modern consumers.

Any product for sale starts as raw materials, passing through a series of processes and a supply chain before reaching the end consumer. The final customer may not know the origins or the content of the goods. Yet today’s customer cares deeply. Is it fresh? Where are the components from? Where was the item made? Traceability is the concept of capturing, recording and sharing the data for every item sold, and allowing other parties access to this data.

There are four important parts make up a traceability system, and the data is logged and recorded at certain stages: purchase orders, shipping records, batching logs, courier routes and delivery receipts.

Tracking – this concerns knowing where goods are and where they are going. Goods are tracked as they are received, counted, sorted, dispatched and loaded. They are scanned at the point of picking, order fulfilment, and shipping. When goods are tracked correctly, the business knows the location of every item at any time from its origin to the end customer, and there is documentation to audit every movement. This is known as “traceability downwards”.

Tracing – this is where the origins of items or components are known as they pass through manufacturing and onwards to distribution. Having the data associated with the goods means that their ingredients or components can be traced after delivery. This tracing enables manufacturers to action product recalls. It is called “upwards traceability”.

Control – where data flows with the goods it can be linked to an ERP system or a warehouse management system to show what is happening on the factory floor. This enables visibility throughout production and distribution and the processes can be managed to make them more efficient.

Chain of custody – as the goods pass from one owner to another – the farmer, the wholesaler, the shipping company, the brand manager, and the store manager – the individual or company responsible for them can be found at any time.

Manufacturers are moving towards a vision of Industry 4.0 where the data from different sites is visible to others as goods move from one process to the next.

Crucial to being able to implement traceability is the ability to capture product data at every stage of the journey, and to do this quickly. The data must be accurate, and in real time.

If the details are held on paper they are difficult and expensive to share, but if the data is automated, it can be captured faster, and the goods can be processed more easily.

Datalogic Traceability Solutions

Datalogic offers the most comprehensive portfolio of products and solutions to deploy traceability systems. There is a device for every need in the supply chain, from simple handheld barcode scanners to powerful mobile computers.

Datalogic’s innovative wireless charging in the latest products is an important step forward. There are no contacts to clean, less maintenance needed, and the cost of owning these products is lower.

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