Genealogia produkcji

Production genealogy – Discover challenges and solutions in product tracking

March 22, 2024

Production genealogy enables, among other things, cost savings and the minimization of various risks. It also opens the way for development and gaining a competitive advantage. Why should traceability become a standard for every manufacturing enterprise and beyond? What are the benefits of implementing a product tracking system? Read the article below to learn more.

Production genealogy – what is it?

Production genealogy, also known as traceability, is the ability to track a manufactured item or batch of products at every stage of production. Traceability systems allow for the monitoring of a product both within the manufacturing facility and during subsequent storage and transport. Thus, the implementation of a traceability system can occur on two levels: internal and external.

The importance of traceability goes beyond sectors such as medicine, FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods), security, or automotive. Complete product genealogy is crucial for every manufacturer, regardless of the industry.

Production genealogy – legal aspects

The obligation to identify goods at every stage of their production, storage, and distribution arises from legal requirements and regulations established by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Parliament, and the local laws of individual countries. The fundamental principles and requirements for traceability systems are defined, among others, by the Global Standard Traceability GS1 GTS2, which is an international benchmark for solutions in this field.

Lack of a system for production genealogy – most common examples

In a food sector enterprise, before the implementation of a MES (Manufacturing Execution System) and traceability module, two typical scenarios are usually observed.

  1. The company lacks any of the mentioned solutions, and the collected data are scattered in different places. In a situation where it is necessary to find needed information, the process may include:

In such a context, finding a comprehensive informational pathway can be extremely tedious and complicated.

  1. The facility operates a system based on paper documentation. All documents are stored in binders, making the search for specific data time-consuming and prone to errors. It also raises the question of whether all the found documents indeed constitute complete documentation.

Production genealogy in bulk or liquid products

When using raw materials in liquid or bulk form, it is difficult to precisely assign a specific milliliter or single grain to the finished product. In such cases, the approach is based on tracking entire batches of raw material used in the production process.

When the production process includes many separate stages, and the semifinished product awaits further operations, algorithmic inventory management methods such as FIFO (First In, First Out) or LIFO (Last In, First Out) can be applied.

What does this look like in practice?

A tank may contain several batches of semifinished product, each characterized by:

This information comes from various sensors monitoring the production process – for liquid substances, these could be flow meters, and for bulk materials, these might be flow scales.

As the material passes through the subsequent stages of production, the system collects additional information concerning:

As a result, by scanning the finished product or reviewing data in the MES system, a complete history of the production process of a given product is obtained.

What are the benefits of product traceability?

The application of a genealogy system, combined with the integration of data from various sources, enables the acquisition of valuable information about:

Automatic production genealogy has many applications. For example, in the event of receiving a return of a defective batch of products, all necessary information can be obtained within a few minutes, contact the raw material supplier, or withdraw all defective products from the market.

If you want to facilitate automatic product identification for yourself and your facility or need consultation in choosing the right modules, contact us!

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