Serial, Batch Tracking and Traceability

Posted on 28.10.2010 by Rik

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When a manufacturer of Honey products and by-products recently chose Abel, this was the catalyst for the final touches to be put on the batch tracking and associated features within Abel.  Consequently, the words “Unique, Track, Batch and Serials” have been tossed around the office fairly regularly of late.

This new functionality enables the ability to record and track products going into (any stage of) production, the bin location(s) of the batches of finished product, and finally, where those products are then dispatched or sold to.  This is imperative for any food manufacturer but also relevant to many other industries.

Government regulations internationally have made traceability one of the concerns at the forefront of industries such as food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. The compliance of a company in these areas now makes it a prerequisite in order to export to the EU and most developed countries around the world.   In addition, the level of traceability may go deeper in to the primary produce should, for example, the products being produced be promoted as be GE Free.  In that case, the traceability may need to go back to a seed from which a product is grown. Indeed, trials are underway in the USA, where an individual lettuce can be traced from ground to consumer.  Who would have thought a single lettuce could be a unique identifier!

Once the initial configuration of an inventory or stock item is completed in Abel, the entry of serial or batch numbers for the components contained in that item can be made mandatory during the production process.  So should there be a critical issue with any one of the ingredients or components which ultimately results in a recall, the end product can be tracked by batch number as to its warehouse location or place of dispatch.

I recall my days in the seafood industry, where as part of our food safety management programme was the need to adapt to constantly changing legislation.  This meant that manual systems were implemented to trace the product flow.  It was laborious and inefficient – if only we’d had this current functionality!

Traceability and serial numbers are not simply limited to food, drugs and cosmetics.  You may well be in an industry where your product is a serialized item such as electronic devices.  Tracking by serial number of an individual item can be made mandatory which assists in the administration of maintenance contracts, warranty claims, returns, and repairs.

Of course, the ability to search by batch or serial number, or report thereon is also included.  The full history of an item from production, despatch, return repair and re-despatch can be viewed at a glance.

Whilst the majority of this blog has related to the food industry, Abel provides an excellent tracking solution for all manner of companies, satisfying legislative requirements and ensuring an easy to use process within your company.