It’s Been a Busy Year for Food Recalls.

That’s a total of 121 food product recalls as of the middle of October, 2019, according to Consumer Affairs. By the time you read this, it’s likely to be even higher. This includes over 130,000 pounds of fully-cooked diced chicken, thousands of crates of avocados, and even red chili ingredients. Do any of your products or processes use any of these as source materials? How do you know?

And it’s not just food.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission lists nearly 200 products, from bed rails to electric bicycles, that have been recalled in 2019 alone, for safety reasons.

Medicines, cosmetics, and even automobiles can also get recalled as they may sometimes cause complications, not work properly, or even increase the chance of illness.

Not all recalls are dangerous, though. But all recalls are serious.

And if your manufacturing facility does not have a track and trace system in place, you’re at risk for major implications in the event of a recall.

An Overwhelming Scenario, Averted

Picture this: the Food and Drug Administration has just issued a recall for one of your suppliers. The FDA has declared that there are traces of some allergen in products that are not supposed to have that allergen. It could be gluten, or eggs, or even peanuts. Obviously, this could be a big risk for you if you have included those now-tainted products in your production line. Everything you make that includes those recalled products may need to be recalled, too.

How are you going to get those products back? And out of which batches? How far back does the issue go? How soon can you shut down your line and replace the offending elements with an appropriate, non-recalled substitute? The problems just keep adding on.

If you don’t have a system in place already, you could spend hundreds of person-hours digging through records, looking for hand-written notes telling you which of your shifts used that tainted supply. Then you would have to painstakingly look through a second set of notes, searching for where each of those batches went, cross-referencing to find just where the trouble started and when it stopped. After that you’d have to manually monitor the recall itself, wondering if you’ve gotten everything or if a pallet or two slipped through.

All these add headaches, frustration, and uncertainty to an already stressful situation.

Or, you could simply dive into your track and trace system with a few touches, and automatically get a report telling you which shifts used the tainted supply, where the outputs went, and what you need to do now.

It’s much simpler. Still not any fun, but at least you’ve eliminated some of the headaches. That is, if you have a track and trace system in place at all.

The good thing is, such a system is not just for recalls. There are multiple benefits to implementation.

Multiple Uses

The beauty of a well-integrated track and trace system is that it provides a positive return on investment even before it eases your suffering through a recall. From inventory management to evaluating the efficiency of the production line, knowing (not just guessing) where each and every element is in the process is invaluable.

Take a look at this case study, where Quantum Solutions implemented a track and trace system for a Kraft Heinz Company facility. You’ll see that despite obstacles like restricted space and large amounts of data required to be collected and stored, QSI and Kraft were able to work together to meet or exceed all target outcomes. One big take-away? Implementing a track and trace system resulted in a 99.8% success rate for tracking pallets without any operator involvement at all.

You are surrounded by these systems already, from UPS and FedEx to Domino’s. When it’s easier to find out where your pepperoni is than to know how much raw material you’ve got in inventory, it’s time to investigate some better solutions.

When you’re ready to begin verifying what’s going on, where your materials are, and what you need to do to get the most out of every line, give us a call. We’re here to help.

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