If you’re the manager of a manufacturing business, you’ll do whatever it takes to keep a factory running without a hitch. Factories are complex, busy places with a lot of systems, machinery and processes in place. Technology plays a key part in the manufacturing world. We see the benefits of it clearly through lot traceability — you can streamline your supply chain and have confidence in all of the steps along the way.
What is lot traceability?
Lot traceability is a group or “lot” of goods that were made together in the same manufacturing run and produced using the same materials. Traceability allows a factory to track goods along the distribution chain. Each lot is given a specific lot number and all of the goods produced at once get lumped under this number.
You see this at the supermarket. If you are buying peanut butter, there will most likely be a lot number on your jar of peanut butter. If someone gets sick from this food, they can trace the jar back to a particular lot and do a recall on that specific contaminated lot with certainty.
Lot traceability applies to raw materials, finished goods and everything in between. It gives you confidence over where a product came from, where it’s headed, the shipment quantity and the lot expiry date.
How lot traceability can help your business
With lot traceability, you can have stronger inventory control processes in your manufacturing facilities. You can track which materials are being used and in what products easily. You can identify which raw materials need to be used if there is an expiration threat as well. If there is a problem in one of the groups, lot traceability makes identifying the problem lot significantly smoother. This means your inventory control processes will be tighter and transparent.
Lot traceability provides enhanced visibility over multiple levels of a product. You can trace items being shipped into your manufacturing facility and all the way through its journey, making suppliers more accountable than ever. With this visibility through lot traceability, you can compile fast analyses to show you what’s going on at the ground level. This digital visibility reduces the margin of human error.
Better rapport with suppliers
With traceability, you have a much greater insight into the quality of your final products. Since you’ve tracked raw materials from each of the suppliers, you can use this information to assess which suppliers yielded higher quality. You can build relationships with your preferred suppliers, fine-tune orders, put in special requests and negotiate better deals when you have the information to support your decisions.
Automating lot traceability
Attempting to track your lots manually is a futile effort that takes a lot of time and runs a greater risk of human error. Automate lot traceability with online inventory management software so that everything is managed in real-time. With inventory software, you can enter information like barcodes and lot numbers and it will populate across every single item in the lot so that there are fewer chances of duplicating or missing information; everything in the system is accurate and trustworthy.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.