Whether you are involved in manufacturing or any other stage of the production supply chain, you are likely already aware of the importance of traceability initiatives both for compliance measures and handling product recalls. Recalls are expensive already, but they are made exponentially more cost-effective by comprehensive product and materials legacies carried throughout the supply chain. As supply chains have expanded to global proportions, the stakes of these initiatives have only risen.
Today, compliance mandates for traceability in every industry are increasing, as are the associated fines for non-compliance. But while that’s understandably good news for consumers, it’s not necessarily bad news for manufacturers.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology defines traceability as a “measurement [that] requires the establishment of an unbroken chain of comparisons to stated references each with a stated uncertainty." This means that, in addition to meeting customer safety and regulatory mandates, increased traceability can be used by manufacturers to augment inventory visibility and help close some of the information gaps that exist in disparate supply chains.
Traceability is a Guarantee
In high-tech industries like dental and medical, specialty components often require tight tolerances to be held than can only be met with highly rarified source materials. Without strong traceability initiatives, how can specialty parts manufacturers guarantee the purity of their raw materials, and, by extension, the tolerances, and durability of the resulting components?
Traceability, therefore, can help manage customer satisfaction by providing visibility into the origins of their materials. It also makes it easier to reduce the impact of a defect (should it occur) by locating batches of product impacted downstream, and halting production/removing it from the marketplace as need.
Paper Versus Plastic
Why are so many manufacturers and consumer products producers still using manual approaches to traceability? Paper records are slower to recover information from, more time consuming to record, more expensive to store, and less reliable than digital records—not to mention that they invariably fail to incorporate all available information into a traceability solution.
Modern materials tracking and tracing incorporate barcodes, RFID codes, and QR codes into live systems that model flow across the production floor and throughout the supply chain. At Chips Manufacturing, we automate data collection to incorporate code information from pallets, results from raw materials scans, and real-time temperatures and pressures used in the product development process. This enables us to provide live visibility into every stage of our specialty precision parts manufacturing and provide unparalleled traceability and accountability for all of our materials and products.