Traceability refers to the set of procedures and measures aimed at registering and identifying a good from its origin (production site) to its final destination. Traceability seeks to know where and in what condition the product is in the supply chain.
Traceability helps to know the components and the origin of the goods, the treatments attributed to the articles or the distribution process that has been followed. This concept includes methods to improve, verify and secure the articles.
It is a procedure that is increasingly demanded in the logistics area and includes large companies that work with the supply chain. This is also the case for Stock Logistic, as experts in transporting goods anywhere, and which already takes into account trends such as the use of drones in logistics, the platooning concept or seasonal logistics.
Types of traceability
When it comes to understanding the traceability of a product moving through the supply chain we can talk about four main areas according to origin or meaning.
Traceability according to origin we distinguish between:
- Process or internal traceability, which refers to being able to obtain the trace that a product leaves behind through all the internal processes of a company, with its manipulations, its composition, the machinery used, its shift, temperature, batch, etc
- External traceability, which is to be able to externalise the data of the internal trace and add some more indications (breakage of the packaging, change in the temperature chain…) In order to obtain the traceability of the product, it is necessary to record the indications left by the product while it is moving along the chain (either in the normal or inverse direction).
Depending on the direction, we can find the following differentiation:
- Backward traceability, which refers to the reception of products from suppliers. At this stage, records are the key to tracking the movement of products to their origin.
- Traceability forward is that of the products prepared for dispatch and the immediate customer to whom they are delivered. It covers what and to whom the products are delivered. From this point on, the products are beyond the control of the company.
Advantages of traceability in logistics
In logistics, implementing a traceability system has numerous benefits for companies, consumers and authorities.
In the first case it helps to identify critical points along the supply chain in order to solve incidents and gain in productivity. As for consumers, it improves confidence in the purchase of products and services, especially in a globalized economy with complex flows of goods (national and international).
Finally, for the authorities, traceability is key in public health sectors such as pharmaceuticals or food since traceability systems, which is the reading of traceability records, is mandatory.
Traceability, however, is not a system that everyone has in place today. In fact, many companies tend to track shipments manually, so there is often not enough information available about the status of shipments. This causes a lack of security in the processes as a whole, since traceability systems are designed to improve the safety of goods and control risks.