Traceability of integrated products on the warehouse side

In order to ensure product quality and reduce the occurrence of recalls, food manufacturers and distributors are turning to automation technology. Warehouse Execution System (WES) with Automated Warehousing (AS/RS) is a good way to reduce recalls through complex traceability and tracking capabilities. In addition, integrating the WES system upstream and downstream of the manufacturer's supply chain management operations is key to achieving traceability from the production end to the sales end. This allows manufacturers to more quickly deal with problems encountered in the production process, adjust production schedules to meet consumer needs, and ensure that the final product meets regulatory standards.

Direct source

For most retail packaged goods, the ingredients may come from multiple suppliers, and these suppliers have multiple sources of supply. Whether it's corn directly from the farm or flour from a large supplier, it's important to be able to trace their source to ensure product quality and safety. At the same time, doing so will give manufacturers a deeper understanding of their supply chain from different perspectives, such as where the raw materials are the best and which suppliers are always on time.

The first step in achieving traceability is the label identification. While most farms do not need to label each agricultural product for sale as required by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, there is no doubt that manufacturers should label labels on each container that leaves the farm. Farm cooperation. In addition, the use of bar code technology in the labeling process will help the farm achieve more efficient traceability.

Once the raw material enters the production phase, the food producer can scan and record it. This information is then imported into the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system along with the data collected during the manufacturing process. In this system, data can be viewed almost in real time.

Produce traceability of processing links

In the past, manufacturers typically used warehouse management systems or separate warehouse control systems to manage inventory. These two separate systems make it difficult for manufacturers to integrate inventory tracking with supply chain activities including data on product logistics and shelf utilization. However, as long as a single WES system is grafted upstream and downstream of the warehouse control system, the manufacturer is able to obtain a complete view of the entire supply chain.

Through the integration of the AS/RS WES system, manufacturers can know the product's inbound and outbound status and destination in real time. Therefore, if a product needs to be recalled, the manufacturer can quickly identify the batch of the product containing the defect, determine its departure time and destination, and remove all the goods in the batch in time. By identifying and finding the exact batch, the manufacturer will no longer waste valuable time and money, and will unscrupulously remove each item in the store to screen for defective items. Moreover, manufacturers can not only demonstrate their compliance with relevant safety regulations through reliable data, but also assure consumers that they have taken prompt and thorough action to recover all affected products.

Because the traceability of the product reaches a high level, the integrated WES system can help the manufacturer to find the problem and take timely measures to solve the problem that may cause the recall as soon as possible. The sooner the problem is discovered, the more the manufacturer can better understand which products need to be recalled, and thus only act on the affected inventory, which reduces the scope of the recall in disguise.

For example, during a certain period of time, a manufacturer processes a large number of individual products on a production line and then determines that there are certain problems with these products. In this case, it is possible to locate all products produced from a specific production line within a specified time frame by connecting the production line to the WES system. The faster the response time, the greater the chances of preventing contaminated or non-compliant products from leaving the facility and reaching the store shelves.

Logistics traceability

When the product leaves the warehouse, each pallet that is loaded and shipped needs to be scanned and archived so that the manufacturer can track the product through the barcode label. Advanced RFID technology and in-vehicle information service systems enable manufacturers to record the specific trends of each product. Combined with the information gathered by the WES system, manufacturers will be able to track products in the following ways:

â—† When the product enters/leaves a specific controlled environment;

â—† The length of time the product is not in a controlled environment;

â—† When the product is loaded by car;

â—† The storage length and temperature of the product on the transport vehicle;

â—† When does the product arrive at the destination;

â—† How long the product is placed in a specific location

â—† When to ship the product back to the controlled environment of the delivery location.

Tracking products during the delivery phase is important to ensure that products are delivered on time and that tracking additional variables helps eliminate potential product damage or deterioration during shipment, preventing recalls in advance and avoiding lost revenue.

Traceability end point of the system

To achieve point-to-point complete traceability, ERP and WES solutions must be paired with downstream supply chain management systems (SCMs), including retail store systems. These systems continue to track shelf utilization and point-of-sale data so that you can not only understand inventory in real time, but also keep track of consumer needs.

With integrated WES and cloud-based supply chain management systems, store inventory data can be continuously tracked and replenished in a timely manner. In addition, if the production data is bound to the retailer's POS system and encounters a need for a recall, it may be necessary to call all customers who have purchased the relevant goods and ask them to return the product to the store instead of the national news. Broadcast.

With the continuous development of e-commerce, the way of selling products has changed from a physical store to a door-to-door model. Therefore, it has become more important to extend the traceability system to the receiving end.

Although there are always some commodities like coffee, most of them are not sold in retail distribution centers. Moreover, retail distributors typically source products from hundreds of manufacturers. At this point, the integrated WES system can help manage the inventory and confirm the selected order and upload the data to the ERP system to communicate directly with the customer and print the shipping label. Although the delivery destination is not a physical store, these systems allow the manufacturer to continuously track the product throughout the process until they reach the consumer safely.

Traceable future

In the future, consumers will have greater demand for organic, gluten-free, vegetarian and locally grown products. As the variety of products on the market increases, so does the need for manufacturers to invest in automation technology to ensure full traceability of food and beverages, as well as better inventory management and consumer safety.

WES and AS/RS systems will continue to evolve in complex traceability and tracking capabilities, as well as connectivity to the supply chain. By implementing a tightly integrated WES system in the supply chain process, manufacturers will be able to implement product traceability and quality control requirements throughout the supply chain to quickly respond to upstream and downstream problems, saving time, cost and maintaining brand The role of reputation.

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