What is Product Identification and Traceability?

Q&A ProCategory: Catalog ManagementWhat is Product Identification and Traceability?
Maria Munoz asked 4 years ago
1 Answers
Dani Avitz Staff answered 4 years ago
Every product you interact with has unique identifiers that companies use to identify and trace them. These identifiers play an important role in streamlining operations and compliance for these companies.

Have you ever looked at the bottom of a can of Coke and noticed a series of numbers stamped on the aluminum? That code is an indicator of the point of origin of the beverage and even where the ingredients came from.

Almost every product has a system like this example where the manufacturer can quickly locate the product’s previous location and history. Product identification and traceability allow a business to dig up specific ingredients that make up the item from the original supplier to the factory assembly to the final delivery to the customer.

Uses For Identification and Traceability

The ability to trace a product’s origins helps a business to catch counterfeit products on the market. It also helps update the status of a product as it goes through each stage of processing during manufacturing.

However, the most well-known benefit of traceability is the boost to consumer confidence. Specifically, if a product recall is ever necessary, keeping track of where products and ingredients come from goes a long way to minimizing the impact of a recall.

In these cases, companies can quickly determine the defective parts in their products and remove them promptly from stores. Their traceability systems told them which factories or what ingredients caused the problem, and their reputations were far more intact as a result.

Product traceability is an essential feature that companies rely on to track the origin and final destination for popular products. Traceability can help companies identify what products are affected should a specific ingredient or component of a product receive a recall notice.

What Constitutes Product Traceability?

A product traceability system takes into account the complete history of each item, starting from original materials to the final shipment. Such a system may track:
  • The live status of individual components
  • Identification of vendors that provide the materials
  • Products codes for the finished goods.
Chances are that traceability will require communication with the suppliers to ensure that they have a system in place for tracking individual ingredients and components.

Best Practices for Effective Traceability

An effective traceability and identification system generates complete reports on every item from start to finish. Warehouses implement this system in batches of pallets by maintaining documentation at every step of manufacture. The company may choose to use barcodes and batch codes as well.

Another tactic is to use the technology already available to you to trace product movement. For instance, keep track of lot codes by using currently existing warehouse management systems or registers in retail stores, which can record barcodes and other useful information for traceability.

Also, consider creating an alert system so that, when an incident does arise, every employee in the supply chain is aware and can act promptly. Experienced businesses know how to freeze inventory and prevent further sales of recalled products.