How to implement a traceability solutions in your company

Traceability in the company
Although the word “traceability” was frequently used in the business environment, it was only a few years ago that the RAE admitted it in its language dictionary. Another appropriate way to call the same concept is “product tracking” or “product tracking.”

Leaving aside the issue of naming, today the management and control of the products that a company manufactures or markets has become necessary. The demand for transparency on the part of the administration and consumers requires total control of the production process.

When traceability solutions are implemented, a global vision is acquired of each of the parts that participate in the physical flow of materials and products during the process . Although it has become mandatory in sectors such as food, due to the health regulations associated with that field, traceability systems have application in most industries and areas.

The advantages that come with careful control of traceability are, to give some examples, greater efficiency in production processes, reduced costs in the event of possible failures or improved customer service.

There are various certification systems associated with traceability, such as quality management, environmental management and chain of custody control.

What is business traceability?
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines traceability as “The ownership of the result of a measurement or the value of a standard where it can be related to specified references, usually national or international standards, through a continuous chain of comparisons.” all with specified uncertainties.”

In practice, it is the set of disciplines of different nature that, used in coordination, allow the monitoring of products throughout the entire production process.

“With a traceability system, complete information on the history, location and trajectory of any product or batch thereof is obtained. It covers everything from the origin of the raw materials to the logistics of warehouses and distribution. To obtain all this data it is necessary to use a series of certain tools”

It is considered that three subsystems are necessary to consider that a traceability system is complete:

Identification system: for units, packaging and lots.
System for data capture: with the aim of adding extra data that provides information on the traceability of the product.
Data management system: to process all the data that is collected.
In summary, these systems are a great tool to improve the productivity and efficiency of all types of companies and, in addition, they are essential to respond to one of the demands of current users: real-time response.

Traceability plan
Before implementing traceability software, it is necessary for the company to develop a plan that describes how it will be done. This document, called Traceability Plan, must indicate the objective sought, the strategy to be used and the scope it will have .

Any project to implement the system must take into account the need to track products back and forth, in addition to their history within the factory in question.

“Traceability should not be confused with complex mechanization or computerization systems. Unlike these, traceability is an objective to achieve, without implying the use of any specific methodology. “To work well, the software needs to be flexible and fit the specific needs and size of each company and industry.

Before beginning the implementation of a traceability system, it is necessary to carry out a prior study of the systems that suppliers and customers use for the same purpose . On many occasions, we will find that the same information can be used, thus reducing work and occasional errors.

Likewise, all the information contained in the company’s records at that time must be taken into consideration.

Finally, it is advisable to carry out a prior diagnosis of the situation to avoid unnecessary efforts and optimize the use of the information that will be obtained from the implementation of the system.

Although, as mentioned, each traceability system must be adapted to the particular company that is going to implement it, a standard plan could be composed of the following aspects:

Traceability program:
This document specifies each of the actions necessary for correct identification of the products manufactured from raw materials, intermediate products (if any), production data and those of their final recipients. This is specified in:

Describe the area in which traceability is going to be applied . the scope of traceability.
Describe the criteria that will govern the grouping of products in relation to traceability.
Indicate what the item identification system will be .
Develop and create mechanisms for checking the system by the company.
Create communication systems between companies.
Establish how you will proceed to locate , immobilize or remove products if necessary.
Select tools for product identification.
Records : collect the results of the application of the traceability plan
Finally, it must be taken into account that traceability will generate data from two different areas, external and internal.

Internal traceability
Also called process traceability, internal traceability is nothing more than following the trajectory of each product within the company . It will offer data such as the manipulations undergone, the composition, the machinery used, the shift in which it was produced, the batch, etc.

Thanks to this monitoring, it is possible to relate the product to all the operations and processes that have been part of its production, from raw materials to final distribution.

External traceability
With external traceability, extra data is added to that already provided by internal monitoring , such as a break in the packaging, a change in the temperature chain or any similar incident.

In this way, for traceability to be correctly obtained, all the signs that the product leaves behind as it passes through the chain must be recorded, whether in the normal direction or in the reverse.

The 4 elements that make up a traceability system
A complete and efficient traceability system, understood as such that it is capable of offering information on the history, location and trajectory of the product in an exhaustive and correct manner, must be composed of the following four elements:

1. Identification system
Identification systems are one of the basic components of any traceability monitoring in the business environment . Through these systems, it is possible to identify items, either individually or grouped in batches. Likewise, they allow the identification of packaging and boxes related to warehouse and delivery logistics.

The usual way is to use identification codes that are attached to products and packaging. This ensures control of the trajectory until the end of the process.

Each company is free to choose the most appropriate identification system for its characteristics. Likewise, you can select the standard type of encoding that best suits your production.

What is essential for the identification system to function as it should is to use the necessary software tools . New information technologies make the task much easier, since they are usually linked to the different automations that the company is using.

2. System for data capture
When implementing a good traceability system, it is essential to use a data capture tool . This must obtain and record information on the raw materials used, the data of the plant in which it is manufactured and the warehouse management data.

The appropriate technology will allow each agent involved in the supply chain to attach the relevant data or, if desired, carry out real-time operations on some products that require it.

3. Software for data management
Without denying the importance of the two systems previously analyzed, all the data obtained would be of little use if we do not later have the tools to analyze them and put them to proper use. For this reason, it is essential to use specialized transgenie’s traceability management software that allows the correct management of all the accumulated information and its subsequent administration .

The software involved in traceability systems must have functions such as printing labels or barcodes, as well as the option of recording RFID-type chips, which allows the object on which it is located to be identified remotely using a radio signal. is placed.

Likewise, it is necessary that the software allows the information that has been captured to be stored, as well as being able to interact with business management systems.

4. Data to be recorded
Once we have all the data, it is time to record it, analyze it and put it to appropriate use. The information on traceability will be very different depending on the type of product, the business sector and what the end user’s requirements are.

Nor should we lose sight of what current legislation establishes regarding product traceability and safety. This is doubly important if you intend to export part of the production, since you have to study the laws of the country of origin and the country of origin.

Curiosity about traceability? Don’t let traceability be a mystery!
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