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Best Practices for Creating a Material Traceability Report

A material traceability report is a tool that helps manufacturers trace and track each component or material of their product. With the help of a checklist, they can easily ensure the quality of their product every step of the way.

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What Is a Material Traceability Report?

A material traceability report is used to generate a list of products and processes for recall and quality control purposes. It contains the lists of all the orders, expenses, and manufacturers that are related to specific materials and lot numbers. The report is an essential tool in the manufacturing industry to ensure compliance with OSHA material traceability standards.

According to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a material can be deemed traceable if it meets these two requirements:

  1. The identification of the object under consideration is clearly specified.
  2. All the information regarding the object is intact, making it traceable from its origin to its destination.

Furthermore, the organization requires that all products must meet the additional requirements below concerning identification and traceability:

  1. Use appropriate means to identify outputs when necessary to ensure that it conforms to the regulated standards.
  2. Identify the condition of outputs concerning measuring and monitoring requirements through the whole service and product provision.
  3. Regulate the unique identification of the outputs and keep all records and information.

In this article, the following points are explained:

1. The importance of material traceability

2. How to improve material traceability

3. Benefits of a material traceability app

Man in production cutting metal plate to size

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The Importance of Material Traceability

Whether it is in the manufacturing or food industry, traceability plays a critical role in the quality control process of manufactured goods. It not only ensures the quality of your product but also safeguards the safety of consumers.

Below are more reasons why material traceability in manufacturing is essential:

1. Gets You Ahead of Competitors

Having complete traceability in place gives you a competitive advantage. A study conducted by LNS Research revealed that only 23 percent of manufacturing companies have the software and processes to enable traceability.

If you have one now, it makes you an early adopter and gives you more opportunities than your competitors. Moreover, having complete traceability allows you to monitor the entire life cycle of your products, allowing you to identify issues and trends and innovate quickly.

2. Fosters Transparency and Accountability

The global supply network requires synchronized efforts to keep businesses running profitably and efficiently. Whether you are a large corporation or a small business, the pressure to provide more information about your products, the materials you use, and how they are transported are more vital than ever.

Traceability solves these demands because it provides a documented product trail, including the components, quality, and safety. It provides evidence of whether the product complies with regulatory standards within the industry.

3. Discourages Counterfeits

The US Customs and Border Protection had seized $1.2 billion worth of counterfeit products in 2018 alone. Imagine the loss in profit manufacturers have because of these counterfeit products. Not to mention the risks end-users face for using products with sub-par quality.

Using serial numbers is not enough since perpetrators can copy this as well. However, there’s a more advanced layer of protection using identifying marks. The advanced technology, called 2DMI, uses laser markings to encrypt unique proprietary markings that are hard to replicate. By adding this level of protection, you can easily identify any discrepancy or missing data.

4. Protects You from Product Recalls

Product recalls are one of the major challenges every industry faces. They can either have minor or calamitous impacts. For example, the Takata airbag recall has affected 2.7 million vehicles worldwide.

With complete traceability, businesses can protect themselves against this liability. It gives them evidence that proves they have complied with the regulated standards.

Close up of a machine in production

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How to Improve Your Material Traceability

Tracking and tracing each product component allows businesses to react swiftly and appropriately when quality issues arise. It also ensures end-users that the product they purchased has passed quality regulatory standards.

Here are more suggestions on how to improve traceability:

1. Work Closely With Suppliers

No matter what industry your business is in, your suppliers should have software and systems that enable them to conduct forward and backward tracing as well as link lot numbers with recalled components.

For example, suppliers should be able to identify when a lot entered inventory and where it was used in the manufacturing process. It enables them to link the lot to the barcode label of the finished product. If their product is recalled, the supplier can identify the finished goods that used that component lot and inform consumers who purchased the goods.

2. Implement tracking software and systems

Traceability is about monitoring and documenting product movement. Businesses can use several tracking tools like bar and lot codes and RFID to monitor their products. If there is a system in place, a retailer can quickly identify which lot has issues.

3. Integrate Traceability With the Latest Technology

Using the latest technology to document the movement and transformation of your products from their origin to their destination can enhance your system.

4. Put an Alerts System in Place

Having an events-monitoring system in place helps businesses inform managers across the supply chain when an incident happens. This allows the retailers to freeze inventory wherever it may be located. By creating a linking alerts system to retailers, further sales of the affected product can be prevented.

5. Talk to Customers

Businesses can utilize customer loyalty programs to tell their customers about product recalls. Being able to inform customers swiftly can contain the recalled products and further build customer trust and loyalty.

Easier Traceability of Materials with a Mobile App

Manufacturers and food producers must ensure full traceability of materials for most equipment, critical applications or food produced. It is not always easy to reproduce this process on paper. Important information can quickly be lost because forms are incomplete or not filled out at all.

Through digital technology like Lumiform, such human error in traceability can be minimized. Lumiform's mobile app and desktop software enable producers to collect data in real-time, retrieve records and identification information at any time, and continuously improve production and monitoring processes. In addition, the powerful app and desktop software give you and your colleagues the ability to:

  • Monitor and document the movement and transformation of your products from their origin to their destination in a simple way. Let all responsible employees participate by using only one digital application.
  • Take unlimited photos from materials, processes and defects and add annotations for more descriptive reports.
  • Allocate corrective actions to responsible employees via the app and track their completion via your dashboard.
  • Continuously increase material traceability: With the flexible form builder, you can adapt your forms to new specifications at any time. Since Lumiform guides the employee through the digital form, no intensive training is required.
  • Store your material traceability reports securely in the cloud, so that in case of complaints about your products, you immediately have all records and information at hand.

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