In an increasingly globalized and multi-path supply chain, accountability is everything.
Many businesses are most likely familiar with the term “lot traceability” and its relation to creating transparent and accountable commerce worldwide. But what exactly is this important concept, and what implications does it have for today’s manufacturing operations?
While the key concepts of lot traceability aren’t difficult to understand, understanding them and implementing are very different things.
This post will examine the core concepts of lot traceability, as well as why some businesses struggle to implement it.
The Basics of Lot Traceability
The fundamental principle of lot traceability requires that a batch of manufactured goods be traceable at every stage of its creation process. From input materials to manufacturing to distribution and beyond, a clear chain of trackable records should exhibit the entire history of the batch in question to inform all relevant parties.
Good lot traceability is bi-directional — that is, the lot’s path can be traced both upstream to its components and manufacturing process and downstream to customers and distributors.
The major conceptual points of a robust lot traceability system include:
- Which materials were used in the creation of a given batch of goods
- How much materials were used in the creation of a given batch of goods
- Which suppliers provided the input materials used and when
- What kind of quality control checks were performed on a batch and who signed off on them
- Which distributors received and distributed goods from a given batch
- Which customers received the goods from the distributors
These essential functions help to create a manufacturing and distribution process that’s truly transparent and accountable.
Importance of Lot Traceability
Lot traceability has always been important for manufacturers, but as of recently it has become more urgent.
However, lot traceability is important for many reasons that go beyond the worst-case scenarios of product recalls. A business might be lucky enough never to have to issue a recall, but the ability to track all of their batches end-to-end will have far-reaching beneficial effects beyond merely reacting to manufacturing issues:
- Makes it much easier and faster to recall defective or unsafe products
- Helps to pinpoint where problems are occurring in a manufacturing or sourcing process
- Improves customer service
- Boosts the efficiency of warehouse and logistics operations
- Helps avoid scrutiny and fines from the FDA or USDA
Implementing Lot Traceability Solutions
Many manufacturers have faced severe challenges in implementing Lot Traceability. It requires a sginificant amount of information to be readily available and seamless integration of many different systems. Traditionally, this level of integrated information has been tough to come by. Many manufacturers have not had a single unified platform that allows data flows from various stages of the production process to be tracked and analyzed and have had to make do with piecemeal solutions.
However, the new consensus focuses on one set of solutions that offers a faster and more complete implementation of lot traceability than any other. Manufacturing ERP software has always been among the key tools for lot traceability, and it’s now both more powerful and more necessary than ever.
A good ERP software solution should offer some or all of the following lot traceability features (depending on each individual business’s needs):
- Automatic quality control checks that flag irregularities in process or distribution
- Manufacture and expiration date tracking
- Supplier tracking that allows inputs to be traced back to their origins
- Distribution tracking that follows where each batch goes after production
- Formula and process tracking tools including modification logs
- Integration with lot management hardware systems such as barcode scanners
Food and beverage manufacturing ERP software is usually designed with some of the most prominent and robust lot traceability features. However, lot traceability is increasingly standard on most top ERP manufacturing and distribution software systems.
Moreover, ERP software is more accessible and affordable than it’s ever been thanks to the advent of SaaS (software as a service). High-performance cloud-based ERP software is now available on a subscription model, and most of these software suites feature the powerful lot traceability features that today’s businesses need.
For manufacturers around the globe, lot traceability is rapidly gaining importance as the safety, security and accountability of the global supply chain demand it. With the forces of commerce increasingly shaping a world where lot traceability is an essential for doing business, manufacturing businesses owe it to themselves and to their customers to investigate the best ways to implement solutions in this area.
Keep Your Company On Top Of It’s Game
Here at MCDA CCG, we understand that the reputation, operations and future success of your manufacturing company heavily depends on consistent quality control and lot traceability. Furthermore, we believe that it’s your commitment and methods and implementation plan of actions that determines your success.
If the approaching year-end has you excited for future opportunities and eager to embrace and take advantage of powerful lot traceability-but are unsure of how to do it correctly, contact us to get you on the right path to overall company optimization.
Our team of professionals have vast knowledge in a wide range of industries to successfully fit your culture with the right system – modernizing your workplace, removing unnecessary waste, and keeping your company on top of it’s game.
Contact our team today by calling our office headquarters in Placentia, Orange County, California to speak with one of our experts in a free, no obligation discussion.
There is no better time with a new year just around the corner, call now!