Higher speed, save costs, optimize human resources, improve quality, meet specifications. Higher, faster, further. Better yesterday than tomorrow. Out of breath? You are not alone. Because no matter what industry: to remain competitive, companies must produce at ever higher speeds to save time and thus costs. Of course, the quality of the end products must not suffer as a result. The use of effective data management and track and trace solutions improve the basic conditions for the marathon to the pole position!

The basis for Track and Trace is a comprehensive flow of information

In a digitalized production company today, all key figures are obtained in real time and can then be analyzed and processed further. An important aspect is, among other things, that every part can be located at any time and all information such as serial number, location, order progress and completion for shipping or sales can be retrieved. This transparency can only be achieved in the long term if manual progress postings for the orders (start, stop, interrupt, setup, errors, etc.) are completely automated by production staff. Ideally, a track and trace solution is linked to the MES and quality management tools. This ensures a comprehensive flow of information in real time, which not only generally accelerates business processes in the production environment, but also quickly reveals potential for improvement. Optimized production increases the quality of the end products, expensive recall actions can be avoided – cash money is saved in the long term through the comprehensive use of a Track and Trace solution.

Seamless tracking at individual part level

With track and trace software, seamless traceability within the production processes can be guaranteed. The main objective is transparency from the raw part through the production process of the individual parts to the end product. This is made possible by linking production orders with unique serial numbers of the individual parts. The technology used for this can be, for example, barcode, labels, FINs, lot, serial and batch numbers, Data Matrix Code or an RFID chip. If the solution is linked to the MES in a process-oriented manner, all other shop floor data can also be included and linked. Consequently, almost any data record can be assigned to a product by track and trace.

Track and Trace supports quality management

These include quality data and plant malfunctions that provide concrete information on the production process. If, for example, a plant had a malfunction at a certain point in time, the Track and Trace solution automatically recognizes which parts could be affected and must be subjected to a possible inspection.  Tracking and Tracing is therefore also a supporting tool in the service of production quality. If, for example, process data from an operation are recorded, transmitted to the MES and transferred on the basis of the unique assignment to the workpiece, the necessary machine settings can be aligned with the previously recorded process data. Slight deviations can be corrected in time to maintain quality at the desired level. In addition, threshold values can be defined and combined. Digital traceability also enables manufacturing companies to improve their order processing by providing accurate data on when parts, components and sub-assemblies arrive to complete orders.

 Traceability in the automotive industry

Especially in the automotive industry, the demands on the traceability of products are high. Therefore, suppliers, for example, must be able to provide information at any time about the history of one of their individual parts. Software-supported track and trace solutions enable precisely this process by making materials, products and workpieces transparent throughout the entire manufacturing process. Automobile manufacturers can therefore provide complete proof that a product has passed through all production steps in compliance with specified values. In addition, the manufacturer has a real-time overview of all faulty production processes at all machines, parts, stations, shifts and users involved – before a faulty product is delivered. Appropriate corrective measures can then be derived promptly. All in all, all quality assurance requirements with regard to product liability and the obligation to provide information can be met. Thanks to the holistic overview and storage of all production-related data, it is also possible to reduce necessary recall actions to a minimum, as the defective batch can be precisely narrowed down. Thanks to the track and trace software application, there is no need for time-consuming research and reconstruction of which batches and thus delivered vehicles this affects – they are displayed digitally at the touch of a button.

Track and Trace in medicine and medical technology

The quality requirements are particularly high in the field of medicine and medical technology and the topic of track and trace is therefore of great relevance. This includes, for example, compliance with FDA 21 CFR Part 11, which requires medical companies to collect and store for a certain period of time a large amount of quality-related data during their entire production and manufacturing process for later use. In this way, it is possible to trace exactly which individual components are contained in which end product even after years. The use of Track and Trace does not change the amount of data, but handling the enormous amount of data and creating evaluations is significantly simplified.

Track and Trace promotes sustainability

Environmental protection and sustainability are topics that are becoming increasingly important, not only for consumers. They are also playing an increasingly important role in the production environment. This is where the “circular economy” comes into play, which strives for ecological sustainability in production. This includes, among other things, reducing or completely eliminating avoidable recall actions, as these are not only expensive but also produce large quantities of waste. Track and Trace helps to identify initial quality problems immediately and to place them in connection with a cause-and-effect analysis. This makes it possible to quickly find explanations as to what extent special constellations in the operating states of the machines have caused a specific problem – and recall actions can be narrowed down to precisely those workpieces with an increased probability of error.

Confidence-building core technology

If the track and trace solutions used make product quality and production more transparent, recall actions can be handled in a more targeted manner or avoided altogether.

Whether it is the car or medical device manufacturer: The fewer negative headlines due to quality problems and recalls, the more conducive to branding and the trust that develops there. That’s why we at Germanedge say: Based on our decades of experience in implementing track and trace in the manufacturing industry, both in the product and process environment, we can offer efficient, easy-to-implement software solutions that have been proven hundreds of times over. Therefore, Track and Trace is an integral part of our MES and MOM software in a digital world.

For example, the solution of our product provider QDA SOLUTIONS offers a supporting Track and Trace tool in the context of quality management (QDA traceability). In contrast to the product level, the Germanedge product provider GEFASOFT also offers a process-oriented Track and Trace module linked to the MES Legato Sapient, in order to be able to track individual parts of a production, which flow through different machines within production lines.

You want to learn more about the different Germanedge solutions in the environment of Track and Trace? Then please send us an e-mail to info@germanedge.com.