It seems like everyday we hear about another product recall – eggs, pain relievers, peanuts, auto parts, etc. Nothing can damage a company’s reputation more than the negative publicity generated from a dangerous or defective product. The cost of an incident can also be harsh. A Food Industry Report from 2009 found that the average cost of a recall to food and consumer product companies was $10 million, not including residual brand damage and lost sales. In addition, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), adopted in 2011, increases the FDA’s authority over food recalls. It requires companies to enhance their track and trace capabilities - rapidly tracing back from where a product was received and tracking forward to the point of sale. This has created massive amounts of information that companies have to manage to provide complete traceability across the supply chain. If you haven’t reviewed your traceability practices lately, you may be at significant risk of being a recall statistic.
One of our customers added more depth to their traceability function when they modernized their warehouse facility recently. The system had operated reliably for fifteen years, transporting and storing totes containing the key ingredients of a popular snack mix and then loading the ingredients into continuous mixing hoppers, before returning the totes. They knew they needed to modernize the operation because of increasing service problems and aging computer equipment and control systems. This provided the perfect opportunity to add more functionality to their software, as well as adding the desired traceability points for their Quality Assurance Group. This historical data allowed the QA Group the ability to enhance their internal process and practices for quality hold and recall events.
Every business is unique and your Warehouse Control Systems (WCS) and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) should be flexible enough to provide you with the optimum level of traceability - or granularity – specifically for your business. Look for a vendor who will customize the software to your exact requirements to meet current and future traceability needs.