Traceability is the ability to track any item through various stages of production, processing and distribution. Food products traceability is a regulatory requirement at most places and it is crucial for the safety of food products and in the prevention/mitigation of risks in case of crisis.
Traceability helps companies to quickly find the origin of non-compliance in order to act and control the situation and withdraw / recall products at the detection of non-compliance.
For food processing businesses, traceability helps to identify the source of all food inputs such as:
• raw materials
• other ingredients
Manufacturers must have systems, standard operating procedures and software in place for forward and backward lot tracing, and the ability to easily link stock with recalled ingredients.
Food Manufacturers should have the records as to when a lot was received in inventory and where the lot was consumed in the manufacturing process. Ideally, this record should be integrated with the finished product’s bar-code label. If a product is recalled, the supplier must be able to identify the source of that product, link it with the ingredient lot, and notify customers who had purchased those goods.
Along with the food manufacturers, it is very important that retailers also have full visibility into their entire supply chain, so they can track and trace goods pretty quickly.
Identification and Labelling by barcodes and RFID tags: Identification is about providing everyone in supply chain with the ability to use the same standardised method to uniquely identify parts, components, locations, items and events, with clear rules which explain source, time and resource.
A barcode is a visual representation of data that is scanned and interpreted for information. Each barcode contains a certain code which works as a tracking technology for products; and is represented in a sequence of lines or other shapes. This barcode can be scanned by barcode readers OR with smartphones and desktop printers etc. and the information can be retrieved.
Radio Frequency-Identification technology (RFID) involves a tag affixed to a product which identifies and tracks the product via radio waves. This technology has three parts: a scanning antenna, a transreceiver with a decoder to interpret the data and a transponder (RFID tag) pre-set with information. The scanning antenna sends out a radio-frequency signal providing a means of communication with the RFID tag. When the RFID tag passes through the frequency field of the scanning antenna; it detects the activation signal and can transfer the information data in holds to be picked up by the scanning antenna.
Food manufacturers today recognise the need for real-time visibility of their products as they move through the supply chain. One of the best ways to address the need for visibility in the supply chain is through the implementation of IoT scanning technologies and Real Time Location Services that can provide manufacturers with greater visibility over the entire supply chain, and better manage their assets. So, something to strive for in future…
Integrate traceability with existing technology: Use existing systems in manufacturing and logistics to record the manufacturing process, transformation and movement of goods from the warehouse to stores. Many manufacturing operations, warehouse management and order preparation systems can be used to record process details, lot numbers and other essential information. Integrating MRPS, SCADA systems with the ERP can automate a lot of functions and help improve productivity and traceability.
Create an alerts system: With an effective events-monitoring system, relevant decision makers across the supply chain can be contacted when an incident occurs. This enables better control of inventory and the effected item can be alerted up to the point of sale as well, so that it can be controlled/ the sale is prevented even at the last check point within the supply chain.
Traceability for productivity:-Traceability is all about collecting and analysing production data. Data that can also be used to identify bottlenecks, improve production planning, monitor environmental key performance indicators, optimise throughput and secure reliability in the equipment. Once you are measuring the performance correctly you can take actions to improve the performance as well.
Communication with the customers: Retailers usually use customer loyalty programs, such as rewards cards, they can use the same system to inform customers about product recalls. More retailers are participating in these programs to send messages about contaminated products. Speedy alerts to customers can help further contain a recall.
What methods do you use to improve traceability of your products and what do you think are the new technologies which will improve the product traceability even better? Please share your expertise email@example.com
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