Track and Trace: More transparency and traceability in industrial companies.

written on 07.03.2022

The trend 'Track and Trace' is becoming increasingly important for industrial companies. Track and trace provides more transparency in the production process so that you can view the progress and status data along your production line at any time.

Above all, it enables the digital traceability of individual components, which is often necessary due to legal requirements, standards or to fulfil certifications.

In this article we explain what exactly this concept means and what advantages it brings for companies.

Content

What is ‘Track and Trace’?

In short, Track & Trace can be defined as a method to determine process progress and locations using status and localisation data.

In a study by the ESB Business School, the ‘Track & Trace’ trend is summarised as follows: “In addition to status data, local or global localisation data are also important for determining process progress and delivery times, identifying locations and thus simplifying access to resources and making it easier to plan.”

How does track and trace work? And how is it used in industry?

In the manufacturing industry, the trend is becoming increasingly important. It is essential to know where components or products are located in the production line at any given time.

There are different technologies and tools to make track and trace work. The following technologies can be used, for example:  

  • Barcodes, data matrix codes or RFID chips
  • Real Time Locating Systems (e.g. GPS)
  • Scanners, tablets or smartphones
  • Software solutions

The trend is finding application in many places. Here is an excerpt of possible use cases for track and trace in companies:

  • Progress tracking in manufacturing or in the production process
  • Traceability of components
  • Locating tools, machines, testing and measuring equipment

First select the use case and then decide which technology is best suited to your use case.

Why ‘Track and Trace’? What advantages does this trend offer?  

Having your process progress and locations available at any time at the push of a button with the help of status and localisation data brings with it a number of benefits. Above all, however, Track & Trace offers two main advantages:

  • More transparency in the production process: The current status is immediately visible. It can be seen at a glance where a product is in the production chain.
  • Digital traceability is essential, especially in manufacturing companies. Manufacturers can quickly trace which individual components were used in which product at any time.  

Practical example Testify: How to use checklist software to generate data for Track & Trace. a networked shop floor? 

Data is collected with mobile devices and can be viewed in real time in dashboards.

Testify can be used during production. Employees can record relevant data, such as serial numbers or whether a work step has been completed, directly at the workplace.

In order for the Track & Trace principle to be applied, the checklists must be used in a structured and workplace-related manner.

Workplace in the production.

If the structure of the digital checklists is structured and broken down according to the workplace, it is immediately apparent what needs to be processed serially. It is therefore possible to find out at any time where what was last processed, what the current status is and which processing step the product is currently in.

Or formulated differently: You can see where in the checklist workflow (or at which work step) the product is currently located.

This way of working also allows a much higher level of detail than before. This is particularly advantageous for traceability or complaints management.

Conclusion

The trend called “Track & Trace” is becoming increasingly important for manufacturing companies. In order to be able to use the advantages of the ‘Track & Trace’ principle in the company, small investments and conversions are often enough. As with most digitalisation projects, it is possible to start with small pilot projects.

However, one thing is certain: traceability and transparency will continue to play an increasingly important role in companies in the future. And thus the importance of the “track and trace” trend is also growing.

Alternative Text

Would you like to digitalise your shop floor and achieve more transparency in your processes?

We show you how you can use Testify to digitalise your test processes, assembly-related inspections, work instructions and much more.

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