Chain traceability

FoodReg provides customised solutions for chain traceability - linking together any number of steps in a supply chain, either within a single company or connecting together different companies.

We have extensive experience in the practical experience of implementing chain traceability. We can provide both external traceability (establishing the chain of custody) and internal traceability (following products within an organisation, and linking inputs with outputs).

We implement traceability utilising the concept of “tracepoints”: the moment at which information is gathered. Tracepoints are connected to provide traceability, or traceability can later be deduced through information in common between two tracepoints (such as a common product identifier). Any information can be gathered at tracepoints, so there is no limit to the amount of data that can be associated with a product.

Internal traceability normally provides the greater level of possible complication, since the inputs may be ingredients or components, with the output being processed or manufactured product. However, even complicated situations can normally be boiled down to three kinds of tracepoints: the reception of a product, action on a product (internal movement, repackaging, transformation etc), and dispatch of the product.

In simple situations, products can be clearly identified through a label (such as a barcode or an RFID tag). We can work with any number of identifier types, such as GS1 codes, and products can carry more than one kind of identifier if that suits company practice. If customers have no established use of a particular identifier, we can supply the RGcode ISO-standard globally unique identifiers and adapt these to a preferred numbering scheme. Products can change identifiers along the chain without this causing a problem for traceability.

We are able to design alternative traceability methodologies if labelling of discrete products or batches is not feasible - such as in the case of handling bulk goods - or if operational processes are not easily adaptable to labelling. For example, in the case of smallholder operations we have sometimes used a combination of time and weight in order to ensure traceability of unlabelled product.

Wherever possible, we avoid duplication of data entry and we can integrate with existing IT systems, such as SAP, only requiring extra data collection when necessary to build the full traceability picture.