Traceability within the manufacturing sector: why it matters more now than ever before


With increased commitment to quality control and compliance across the manufacturing sector, it goes without saying that traceability is now a greater priority than ever before. From eliminating unforeseen issues, to meeting high end-user expectations, The Access Group discusses why what happens in the factory, should not most certainly not stay in the factory:

Traceability eliminates unforeseen issues and saves time and money 

For businesses without dedicated tools and processes in place, dealing with traceability queries can soon become time-consuming. In some cases, the inability to show evidence of origin or use can quickly escalate into a more pressing business issue. 

Traceability has an impact on every part of the supply chain. Having the ability to track forward and back with certainty is the order of the day. Does your business have the ability to do that?

Traceability underpins so much of the production process

It goes without saying that the relationship you have with your product does not end when it leaves the factory.  

Having the ability to trace fluctuations in raw materials, to understand when a machine part is coming to the end of its life and the quality of parts and materials from specific suppliers will affect every level of the supply chain. It’s safer and more efficient in the long run to make decisions from solid facts and data than relying on estimates.

Word of Mouth can have a huge impact on your reputation

Quick turnaround, attention to consumer need, frequent changes and competitive pricing impacts manufacture and distribution alike. No matter what component you make or store, the provenance of your goods will be measured. If poor QA or cost cutting exercises result in failure further down the supply chain, the manufacturer will be implicated. 

In a matter of moments your business reputation can end up under scrutiny - and crisis management is a lot harder to handle in the age of social media and the internet. It really doesn’t take very long before doubts and concerns are firmly rooted in customers’ minds and of course, on their smartphones.

Ensure you have relevant technology and platforms in place which provide the ability to quickly recall products, track production and match replacement parts. Pair this ability with a solid crisis management contingency and you will be prepared for all scenarios.

Traceability is high on consumer demands

Traceability is about knowing what is happening at any time and is a highly important aspect within the supply chain of any manufacturer. It extends far past being concerned with goods in, goods out and how something is made as technology has brought consumers far more power than ever before. 

Manufacturers must think about a product from the very beginning of its life cycle all the way up to its ultimate conclusion. Each movement and process is physically traceable and should therefore be tracked to ensure information is available and transparent throughout the whole length of the supply chain.

Traceability is an essential process of manufacturing 

With a continual focus on where raw materials are sourced, what happens next and how they are processed, it is essential for every business to view traceability as part of their everyday operations. People care about where products come from, who makes them and how they are made. 

Consumers also care about business ethos - in many sectors, consumers are turning towards more sustainable options as their concern for the environment grows. Since 2016, 65% more consumers have avoided buying a product or using a service because of its environmental impact. 

Food manufacturing has never been more examined

Food manufacturing is under scrutiny and consumers expect traceability through every stage of food production - in 2018, the ethical food and drink market grew by 16.3%. Traceability within this sector must include all raw materials, where they are sourced and how they are grown. Common reasons for a recall of food products are due to contamination either by foreign objects such as metal or plastics from machinery involved in its manufacture, processing or packaging and remnants of cleaning fluids or by food-borne bacteria. This is why it is necessary for any additives need to be tracked and given clearance, whilst the packaging must be sustainable, preferably recyclable and definitely safe.

Responsibility does not stop once the product has left your premises

With supply chains and logistics being so complex nowadays, these safeguards are essential if we have any hope of tracing products for essential recall. Whenever trouble is spotted, traceability comes into its own. There is little confusion when it comes to isolating and then preventing contamination spreading out to consumers. It’s a significant part of corporate responsibility and whether you supply to the building trade, aero, pharma or food and drink industry - responsibility does not stop once the product has left the premises.

Would you have the ability to provide the following information at speed and under intense pressure?

  • Suppliers and a proof of all products or inputs supplied
  • Customers and a proof of any product supplied to them
  • Date of every transaction or delivery
  • Batch or serial number for every SKU
  • All the quality records for every batch or component
  • Volume or quantity of every batch and serial number supplied or received


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