As the name suggests, traceability is the ability to track a product all the way through the supply chain, from its life on the factory floor to its delivery at the doorstep of a customer. This is crucial not only from a quality control perspective, but also in identifying weak points in your business processes and creating insights for you to improve and move forwards.
Despite the fundamental importance of traceability in all businesses, a low percentage of companies already have such a system in place. That suggests that a majority of entrepreneurs and business leaders don’t yet fully grasp just how integral to success traceability is. If that sounds like you, read on to find out more about the benefits of implementing traceability in your manufacturing firm.
Just imagine you receive feedback from a disgruntled customer, who complains that a product you have sold them is faulty, out of date or in some other way not fit for purpose. Without a system in place to track your supply chain logistics, you’ll have no way in which to trace the item back to its initial batch and recall the other products manufactured at the same time.
This could result in more defective products being sold to more customers, resulting in a proliferation of poor results and damage to your brand as a result. If, on the other hand, you use software which can aid in the traceability of manufactured products, it’s easy to identify other items which could potentially cause issues and recall them before they can be sold, thus limiting reputational damage.
If you can trace a faulty product all the way through the supply chain, you have a much better chance of pinpointing the exact moment at which its quality became compromised. This is invaluable in helping you to weed out the root causes of poor performance in your company’s operations and strengthen weak links to enhance your business model.
This could take the form of a rookie member of the team who requires greater educational training, or perhaps a piece of machinery which isn’t performing its job to the best of its abilities and needs a maintenance check. Whatever the root cause, understanding the problem is the first step in overcoming it.
Depending on the industry in which you operate, incorporating traceability into all of your business processes might be a legal matter. For example, the food and drink sector is tightly regulated and requires all companies to implement a robust policy of traceability for all products they sell.
This covers not only the raw materials, additives and other ingredients which go into a product, but also the packaging in which it is wrapped. If any of these steps are outsourced to a third party, you’ll need to obtain internal traceability reports from them to ensure you meet your legal obligations. That’s imperative in staying operational and avoiding penalisation at a later date.