In the distribution and logistics field track and trace is defined as the process of identifying past and current locations of inventory items. This inventory should be tracked at any level from ingredient to finished product and anywhere in between. Track and trace processes are supported through a variety of SCM technologies that help to provide real-time information on both location and status of these items as they move throughout the supply chain. A focus has been placed on track and trace due to the increasing complexity of governmental regulations. The government is becoming more active due to food recalls reaching their all-time high in 2013. On average, 6 recalls occur in the U.S. each day. These recalls impact up to 18.4 million products including pharmaceuticals, food and much more. This issue has sparked the focus on technology and automation throughout the supply chain.

These technologies are being used to manage the many moving pieces of the supply chain. In order to create a detailed, accurate audit trail needed to satisfy new regulations supply chain operators are implementing a variety of track and trace solutions including WMS, RFID and automated data collection devices.

SCM businesses handling food and pharmaceutical products have started to implement temperature indicators to track temperature, humidity and shock levels throughout the delivery process. These devices come in a variety of designs for flexible use. The data collected using temperature indicators can be transferred directly into inventory management software to develop a complete audit trail.

RFID functions in a similar way, passively tracking inventory as it moves throughout the supply chain. Radio frequency identification also helps to reduce the labor required to handle and process inventory. RFID is useful because it can track inventory at any level through the manufacturing process.

Warehouse management software is also a top tool used by SCM businesses focusing on track and trace because these powerful databases store all captured inventory data making it easily accessible to warehouse operators. Many top WMS systems are also developed to meet government regulations, taking the guess work out of track and trace.

To ensure your operation can meet regulatory requirements consider evaluating these technologies to bridge any gaps in technology capabilities. Learn more about new track and trace functionality and supply chain needs contact Datex experts today at marketing@datexcorp.com or 800.933.2839 ext 243.

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