How To Implement Traceability in Supply Chain – Blueprint phase

How To Implement Traceability in Supply Chain – Blueprint phase

How To Implement Traceability in Supply Chain – Blueprint phase


Contribution by Roberto Vaghi – Supply Chain Solution Architect at itlogis

Traceability is not only a compliance, ethical or environmental issue. It represents the basic platform to maintain Brand Integrity, to understand how to reduce supply chain costs and to monitor the market.

Traceability enables vital marketing functions such as:

[list][item icon=”10003″ ]Incident Impact Analysis;[/item][/list]

[list][item icon=”10003″ ]Response Planning;[/item][/list]

[list][item icon=”10003″ ]Recall Management;[/item][/list]

[list][item icon=”10003″ ]Product authentication;[/item][/list]

[list][item icon=”10003″ ]Promotion driving;[/item][/list]

[list][item icon=”10003″ ]Diversion Detection;[/item][/list]

[list][item icon=”10003″ ]Run-out of obsolescence;[/item][/list]

[list][item icon=”10003″ ]Mark-Down Strategy.[/item][/list]
Traceability implementation is a complex project and it is strongly dependent on sector specific rules and regulatory frameworks. Nevertheless you can simplify the task following 3 preliminary phases.

1. Process Mapping

The complete Material Flow and Supply Chain Processes have to be mapped and the Tracking Points have to be identified.


In the process decomposition at level 3 of SCOR® model and at level 4 of specific company scope, other specific Tracking Points can be defined.

The links “Process-Tracking Point” are very important to define the Product Genealogy in terms of predecessor / successor Traceable Units and related documents (i.e. orders, deliveries, shipments, …).

You can identify 2 types of Tracking Points:

      1. a Movement T.P. identifies the position of a unit and don’t impact on Product Genealogy
      2. a Transformation T.P. identifies the birth of a Traceable Unit, i.e. in production process or in specific inbound processes. The Genealogy has to be created maintaining all the predecessors of the new Traceable Unit.

2.Traceable Unit definition

Traceability is managed via Item Serialization or Batch Management; the “or” is not exclusive because you can use one method or both for the same product depending on specific application. Item Serialization is conceptually very simple (on the other side has a lot of implications in handling products and managing information), so all the effort is about “batch definition”. The following schema shows “batches” as “traceable units” packed (eventually splitted and/or mixed) in “handling units” palletized on a “logistic unit”.


All Data Carriers (on label or RFID) are defined in GS1-standars; for example GS1-128, GS1-QRCode, GS1-DataBar.

The focal point in this phase is related to granularity, i.e. what is a batch and what dimension has it got? You have to consider many variables, related to material flows, production time interval, process and document flow.

The definition of granularity impacts on different processes including:

[list][item icon=”10003″ ]Stock management;[/item][/list]

[list][item icon=”10003″ ]Recall management;[/item][/list]

[list][item icon=”10003″ ]Obsolescence management.[/item][/list]

3. Solution Design

Nothing has to be invented about methodology and technology; Best practices and systems are available for any aspect in the scope of traceability and if you have done a good job in the previous two phases you can find all the guidelines in GS1-standards.

The solution architecture, depending on specific environment, will provide a Track & Trace System (TTS) in an integrated environment including ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), WMS (Warehouse Management System),MES (Manufacturing Execution System).

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