If you are not able to provide customers with manufacturing traceability, sometimes called lot tracking, you will not be certified to sell your products to the aerospace, defense, medical industries, and others.
Across the supply chain, traceability is key. You need to know where every manufacturing component is at a given time. If not, there are inherent vulnerabilities and risks.
Yet, managing the volume of documents required when providing traceability can be a challenge, especially for larger corporations with multiple suppliers, producers, distributors, and subcontractors.
That’s where an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system comes in. Epicor ERP traceability features enables you to provide traceability. Depending on the size of your company, you may need Epicor® DocStar, to meet all of your document management requirements.
Today, we’re taking a look at why the traceability functionality is so important. We’ll also discuss how you can leverage it, starting today.
Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!
Why Traceability Matters
There are many industries in which traceability isn’t just a nice-to-have business component. Rather, it’s necessary due to stringent compliance requirements.
For instance, the following sectors must comply with traceability standards for both their raw and finished materials:
- Food and Beverage (F&B)
- Medical Supply
- Consumer Goods
Epicor® ERP software includes barcode scanning, serial number tracking and lot tracking features that make it easy to tag and follow materials as they travel along the supply chain.
For the above mentioned industries and many others, this is critical insight. Why? The answer lies in risk management. Let’s take a closer look.
ERP Risk Management and Mitigation
In 2018 alone, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued 125 total recalls on food products across the country.
The reasons for the recalls varied, but the most common ones included:
- Listeria Monocytogenes
- Extraneous Material
- Processing Defect
- Undeclared Allergen
While these defects directly affected the F&B industry, other niches have similar concerns. In 2018, the FDA released 32 recall notices on medical devices.
While perfection may be difficult to achieve, it’s critical that business leaders are able to take immediate action when they detect an issue. This is a pillar of risk management and one that customer-focused entities cannot overlook.
Problem Part Identification
In past recall scenarios, leaders would spend time making phone calls, digging through records and going through multiple departments to track down a problem part. Now, Epicor ERP users can log into their dashboard to see the metrics they need.
This way, they not only know where the problem part is but also the location of the other components that were manufactured at the same time.
The software’s lot tracking function is a major help in this regard.
With a few clicks, users can see details on where the entire lot currently stands. They can also recognize how the problem part could affect other finished products.
Take a pacemaker, for instance.
If one person experiences a medical emergency because a part in his pacemaker becomes faulty, manufacturers need to know immediately who else has those same components installed in their own pacemaker.
The same goes for airplanes. If one part malfunctions, every other plane with a part that was included in the same lot could be at risk. Immediate access to mission-critical data enables quick action.
How Lot Tracking Works
For many businesses, lot tracking is an essential function of their operations. This is especially true for ones that deal with perishable goods, products that contain dye lots or products that could be harmful.
A lot tracking system allows business leaders to track manufactured lots or batches throughout the entire supply chain. This improves traceability, starting at the manufacturer level. Users can watch in real time as their products move from manufacturer to supplier, then to the distributor and customer.
With Epicor ERP software, companies know which customers received specific groups or batches of items and when they received them. At the same time, the system also tracks the supplier’s information and the product purchase date.
In the face of a product recall, it’s imperative that a company can locate the source of the problem. Being able to log into your Epicor ERP system and quickly find data about any certain group of products is key.
Key Lot Metrics to Track
As each product travels across the supply chain to various stakeholders, the ERP software creates auto-generated reports. Companies can assign a lot or batch number to one or multiple product units that are produced or purchased at various times. They can also designate other fields including:
- Original Manufacture Date
- Heat Number (For Heat Lot Tracking)
- Best-Before Date
- Batch Number
- Expiration Number
With an advanced lot tracking system, users can track step-by-step product movement, generate reports and even facilitate recalls if required. In addition to making industry compliance easier, this functionality also helps companies perform lot costing. This can lower associated costs in the event of a recall.
The Epicor ERP Lot Tracker provides a similar form of visibility as the platform’s Serial Number Tracker. Users can track all transactions associated with a specific lot both forward and backward as required.
Epicor ERP Traceability Saves Lives
Whether it’s lettuce or a children’s toy, a product recall associated with your brand is never good publicity. In some instances, the faulty part can lead to serious harm or even death.
In this regard, Epicor ERP traceability can save lives by helping to pinpoint where an issue occurred and how to prevent other end users from becoming compromised.
Are you interested in learning more from an Epicor® ERP consulting firm? Our team at Tomerlin-ERP includes longtime Epicor experts who are well-versed in every aspect of the software.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation. From installation and training support to custom programming, we’ll do it all.
The result? Optimized, transparent business operations that earn your brand the respect it deserves.