- Reid Hanson
How Does Traceability Help Recall a Product?
Traceability Limits Product Recalls
Manufacturers in many industries today are increasingly vulnerable to product recalls. Unfortunately, a product recall, either voluntary or involuntary, may have far reaching consequences, including a negative impact on your company’s brand and reputation, lost productivity, decreased customer loyalty, fines, or even a lawsuit. As a result, companies are taking steps to minimize damage in the event of a product recall. Quick reaction times are critical in preserving a customer’s trust and brand’s image.
How can traceability help?
It is actually simple. By Establishing item-level traceability at the manufacturer level then referencing that same identifier throughout the products useful life cycle . In most cases it requires including where the item’s parts and materials originated, who handled it along the way, and everywhere it goes on its way.
How Does Traceability Help in a Product Recall?
Traceability allows you to act quickly in the event of a recall, since you will be able to easily pinpoint the issue causing the recall and locate item-level information needed to retrieve defective parts and easily investigate customer complaints to minimize the impact of a recall. “Traceability allows you to find out exactly which products and batches or lots contain the subject flawed material and where they ended up, by following the chain through manufacturing and distribution. Successful track-and-trace systems can identify the exact end product (Items, batches, lots, shipments, and their estimated current locations) and perhaps even customers that bought them.”
Yet outdated processes such as one-up, one-down traceability is still widely used. However, what even a year ago was deemed acceptable for most products is now proving to be undesirable as buyers and end-users become more in-tune with where their products are sourced from. This is often conducted with an extensive labor and time intensive invoice based research session that can take days, or longer. Another downfall to this expensive and time consuming practice - one-up, one -down level cannot be verified on a timely basis and ultimately is an expensive exercise in the minimum response to a serious issue affecting businesses today.
There are many ways to ease recalls through track-and-trace technology, including using LiveQR, bar, QR codes and RFID tags, at a minimum, adding unique identification codes to identify products at the item level, rather than at the batch level is a vast improvement. By assigning a unique identifier to an individual item, companies are able to connect product information exchanged between sellers and the end-user to the physical product, then view the movement within their supply chains and also see where products diverge from that supply chain. Item level markers also identifies the weak links and can prevent defective products from continuing to move throughout the supply chain. Additionally, Item-level traceability helps pinpoint a specific defective product or specific group portion of a product, versus having to recall a larger quantity of products that “may” be defective.
If track-and-trace is not specific enough to isolate the product made during one specific shift or by a specific user, the company may have to recall all the products made on that machine (or by that operator) for a whole week or even a month or at worse case scenario, since that product has been on the market. The impact and cost of recalls can multiply rapidly with any uncertainty or missing detail in the track-and-trace records.”
TRXio’s key benefit includes the ability to provide item-level traceability to enhance reporting, show both strong and weak points of a supply chain and product offering as well as that basic - one-up, one-down supply chain visibility report. TRXio’s real-time reporting provides the ability to track a product every step along the way and view a full comprehensive item history for every item.
Common inventory modules, or add-ons used by traditional financial software and proposal management platforms, simply cannot deliver the necessary itemized inventory data or production traceability analytics needed in today's competitive environment regardless of industry.
Product recalls can be devastating to an organization, but they don’t have to take that much time or effort to mitigate that risk. To discuss how TRXio can improve your track and trace capabilities easing the effort and potential liability on product recalls, contact us at 303-862-3000.