ISHN

What is Track and Trace?

February 5, 2013

Educational ResourcesTrack and trace solutions help businesses track and trace the goods from production to sales and distribution. It is important to understand its impact to your operation because of the strong financial returns it brings to your business:

- Improves production efficiencies
- Improves management and reporting
- Improves accuracies and reduce mistakes
- Protects your brand

Track and trace solutions include bar code labels, radio frequency identification (RFiD) tags, holograms and other brand protection devices. Together with software solutions, they form a very powerful tool to improve your bottom-line.

Production line: Improve production efficiencies

Many firms invest a lot of money into producing the best products, but neglect the track and trace technologies that will protect their investments and increase productivity. For example, can you efficiently and effectively track and trace any error in your production line? Can you zero in on defective batches for product recall, or trace the problem to particular lines on the production floor?
Many companies today implement track and trace technologies to improve accuracy, sample tracking and safety. With the implementation of barcode stickers across the production line, mistakes and production faults can quickly be traced and rectified, increasing productivity and reducing the cost of identifying the faulty machines. You can also easily recall unacceptable product batches with good track and trace practices, since you know exactly which batches are problematic and where they have been shipped.

Laboratory: Improve accuracy and reduce mistakes

A laboratory handles hundreds of samples every day, and traditional labeling methods such as handwriting can be time-consuming and error-prone. The ink may smear or fade over time, or the handwriting can be illegible, resulting in misidentified samples and tedious paper trail tracking.
Laboratory barcode labels offer extremely accurate and efficient method of data entry. A machine-readable barcoding system allows labs to easily identify and retrieve samples, and track the samples’ chain of custody from the time receipt to disposal. More information can fit on to a label, equipping labs with advanced tracking capabilities and more detailed data. You can now significantly reduce the amount of errors that take place in a lab, and increase workflow productivity.

Brand protection: Defend against counterfeits and grey market

Business worldwide lose precious revenue to counterfeit products, but through the use of custom-engineered labels and seals, you can create brand protection solutions such as security holograms, color changing film and ink, encrypted data, hidden images, forensic coding and tamper-indicating features. You can consult an expert on brand protection products and services, and learn how a multi-layered and customized solution can serve to protect your brand against diversion, tampering, counterfeiting and piracy.

With an increasingly global market place, the unauthorized sale of authentic products requires tighter unit level serialization and track and trace serialization to protect against grey market imports. You should protect your individual markets with track and trace technologies such as barcodes and encrypted serialization for cost-effective unit-level identification and traceability.

Which track and trace solution?

There are many vendors offering track and trace solutions, so it is critical to find the right match for your operations. Here are some criteria for evaluation when selecting your track and trace specialist.

1) Look for a track and trace solution that is simple to implement. A security code that does not require special tools to read or scan can put product verification into the hands of your end consumers and allow them to be part of the overall brand authentication process. It also reduces implementation cost and makes the system more flexible, and makes it easy to integrate with your existing workflow.
2) Your workflow probably records the serial numbers of your products, so pick a solution that can create serialized labels using your supplied number sets or standard alphanumeric serialization sequences.
3) The vendor should have solutions that work on various substrates, including papers for temporary labeling, high temperature polyimides for PCB bar coding, and cloths for footwear and apparel applications. You want a solution that does not limit future application, and this is especially critical if the labels are to be used in extreme environments, such as on frozen foodstuff or nitrogen frozen lab-samples.
4) Security is of utmost importance when you are seeking brand protection. Check that your vendor has secure printing bureaus around the world to provide the local service and assistance your global factories demand.
5) A good track and trace solutions provider must be able to provide the best hardware (printer and labels), as well as supporting software systems and data collection tools to monitor the chain of custody for reliable, first-rate track and trace solution from start to end.

Want to learn more about track & trace? Brady Corporation can help advise you on implementing a total track and trace solution to protect your products and brand. Call us at (65) 64777 7261 or email us at ContactUS_SA@bradycorp.com for more information.

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Brady Corporation is a global leader in providing complete solutions that identify and protect premises, products and people. Brady helps customers increase safety, security, productivity and performance.