Tracking a product's movements through the supply chain right down to the final delivery is a quintessential part of any successful freight movement. This is product traceability, and it is somewhat of a big deal in the logistics industry.
From complying with USDA and FDA regulations to the need to closely monitor a hazmat shipment, product traceability is a crucial gear in many supply chain models. Plus, it doesn't hurt that product traceability is also one of the best ways to create more end-to-end visibility!
But what’s the secret sauce to improving your product traceability efforts? Is there a proven formula for implementing a traceability program? Is it cost-effective, simple, and scalable? Those are a few of the questions that we are going to try to answer in this blog post.
Collaboration with Partners is Crucial
Traceability is not some basic plug and play operation. In fact, it requires advanced technology, communication platforms, procedures, and equipment in order to smoothly track the movement of products. More importantly, it requires fluid communication between all supply chain partners. A certain level of collaboration must take place for seamless tracking of commodities between one location to the next.
This methodology is even more important for retailers who provide products like perishable goods direct to consumers. Any manufacturer or supplier that sends perishable goods, especially food products, should have the capability of tracking every step. For instance, when ordering fresh products, most consumers prefer to be kept in the loop throughout the shipment. They want more than a basic notification that their goods are being shipped. They want to know when it leaves the warehouse, as well as when it arrives at the distribution center.
And this can only really happen when all supply chain partners involved are on the same page.
Using the Right Product Traceability Equipment
At its heart, traceability is about recording the movement of products through the supply chain. To accomplish this, supply chain managers use a variety of advanced software. However, not all software is created equal and this is where a bit of due diligence and research is needed.
Oh, and all of that software, it doesn't really do much good without the proper physical tools such as barcode scanners and RFID tags!
Improve Your Tech Game
As you may have noticed throughout this blog post, communication plays a large role in product traceability. However, the equipment used to communicate with partners must also be easy to navigate, simple to integrate and connect remotely.
Thankfully, this is all made possible via cloud-based technology solutions. Many of today's TMS platforms are built on cloud-based networks. They are adaptive and responsive, which permits users to access each tool from different devices.
Technology is usually a major help in improving the efficiency of freight movements. However, without the right plan or processes in place, these tools will never work to their full potential. It's due to this fact that establishing a communication plan is the next logical step for a smooth and simplified tracking program.
Consider meeting with all supply chain partners prior to signing a contract, to clarify when shipping updates should be sent, the primary and a backup point of contact, and the communication preference of each stakeholder. It is just as crucial to verify that your shipping notifications comply with federal and international trade regulations.
Work with a 3PL with Experience in Product Traceability
Finally, if you would like to simplify your product traceability efforts, partner with a 3PL!
Third-party logistics companies like Redwood Logistics maintain exceptional relationships with a number of other various companies. Through these partnerships, we are able to acquire the best rates and quality of services for our clients. We understand what's important to manufacturers, retailers, carriers, and most importantly;