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Do you know what traceability is?

The greater the access of a manager to quality information, the more power he has to make more assertive decisions in the shortest possible time - which, in times of fierce competition, may end up creating a competitive advantage. Such control is essential to be able to track operations and quickly identify any variables that may have some impact on results. 


In this sense, the concept of traceability emerges. Keep following our article today and learn what traceability is and how it is beneficial to business!

Do you know what traceability is?

What is traceability anyway?


The concept of traceability can be defined as the ability to trace an object. In the business environment, it emerged through the need to identify the location of a product - raw material, merchandise, packaging, among others - within the supply chain, as well as being widely used to maintain quality control standards.


This is done by means of a code - which can be the barcode with RFID, for example - and through it you can know information about the item: what is it, what are its origins, its destination and at what point in logistic he finds himself. Therefore, in order to be able to apply the tracking, it is necessary to have three fundamental data:


  • Product identification - which is done through a code. In this way it is possible to identify, with greater precision, what is being sought;
  • The source information - where the product comes from;
  • What is your destination - where does the product go.


How can it be applied in a company?


There are several ways of traceability of products that help in controlling the production process, in monitoring the flow of materials and in the quality control of the activities carried out. Check below some of them:


Asset management in an industry


Assets are classified as any physical good that the company owns and can control - which can be machines, tools, equipment, pallets, among several others. The monitoring of these assets consists of monitoring their life cycle and their levels of depreciation. Traceability also allows you to control any location changes, assess the availability and idleness of each. The intention is to be able to improve the levels of productivity and increase the rates of utilization of these goods.


Automated production 


There are systems that record the evolution of product from its state of raw material until the final product. This provides great control over the production process, its evolution, the manufacturing inputs, others. In this productive control, bar codes and RFID tags, for example, are used as a form of tracking.

This information allows you to better plan and organize manufacturing steps, even if production lines are directed to the manufacturing of different product lines, since traceability control allows you to track the performance and needs of each production process.

With this, information can be used to analyze the production flow, follow-up of the products inside the factory and to assist in the planning, evaluation of failures, identification of improvements, reduction of wastes, other things.


Internal logistics process


The RFID can be used in boxes, pallets and containers to identify materials and assist the internal logistics process. In this way it is possible to control all the internal movements and the reallocation of products in a productive process or in sales.

This traceability helps control inventory levels and accuracy, avoid loss, loss of materials, and it organizes the internal process in a systematic and agile way.


Electronic Kanban


Kanban is a system created in Japan, which means "signaling". Its purpose is to assist in the management of the flow of materials in a productive process, through cards that indicate the arrival or necessity of certain material within the company. At first this process was done manually, by updating these cards.


However, with the use of a barcode or RFID – Radio frequency Identification, for example, tracking and controlling the movement of materials within a company is done automatically, which makes the process much more reliable and agile.


In addition, with system integration, this traceability may be even greater when integrations of electronic kanban are made with external suppliers. In addition to optimizing the supply process, it is possible to monitor the flow of these materials and, also, to establish a forecast of arrival - which helps in planning the internal processes of receiving, storing and directing to the production line.


External logistics


The idea behind this is basically the same as internal logistics: controlling the flow of materials throughout of process. However, in this case, traceability becomes much more comprehensive, comprising the supply chain. The products are monitored from the supplier to the final customer - including internal logistics.


A very common example of traceability in external logistics is the monitoring of orders in their distribution. When a customer's order is entered into the system, it has one or more items with individual barcodes or RFID, that make it easy to locate in inventory (internal traceability). By separating these orders, they are sent to the cargo consolidation area and are linked to a transport - which in turn has specific documentation, with information about the vehicle, driver, route, and more.


Therefore, when it comes to tracking an item of a customer through the codes, it is possible to know the status of the delivery and even the forecast of arrival to the final consumer.


What are the main advantages it provides?


 The idea behind traceability is directly linked to the need to follow the flow of products - which can be both for compliance with legislation and standards, ensuring the quality and safety of the items that are available in the market, and to meet customer needs. In this way, we can say that the main advantages that traceability provides for companies are:


  • Greater guarantee of quality and safety of products placed on the market - if it is necessary to collect or recall items, it is possible to know, with greater precision, the defective lot;
  • Greater efficiency in the control of the flow of materials, which allows the elaboration of more assertive planning;
  • Reduction in the need to maintain high inventory levels throughout the supply chain;
  • Reduction of costs, provided by the increase of the efficiency of the processes, reduction of losses and wastes;
  • Guarantee of higher quality of products and processes.


 As we can see, the concept of traceability is very broad and can be applied both internally and externally. The central idea of ​​the concept is to apply in practice the monitoring of materials throughout a process. When it is applied both within the company and in a supply chain, this control becomes much more assertive and allows for even more effective monitoring, which provides great benefits to those involved. 


Now that you know what traceability is, please use the comments and share your views on the subject with us. Join the conversation!