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Best Practices for Traceability in Manufacturing

Traceability is one of the most important practices in modern manufacturing. As the means of tracking every item used throughout the manufacturing process, clear and accurate traceability allows manufacturers to precisely account for how a product has been assembled.

From product safety to quality control, traceability can often be governed by strict regulatory requirements. Food safety and pharmaceutical traceability regulations, for instance, help ensure that products are safe for individuals to consume. Should a defective product need to be recalled, traceability makes it possible to zero in on the effected lot. The right system can identify which batch, ingredient, or location may have been the cause of the product failure.

Throughout the supply chain, manufacturers should take care to ensure that product traceability processes are held to the highest standards. As a result, companies stay compliant with government policies and maintain high-quality production operations.

Here are four best practices for traceability in manufacturing:
  1. Use a globally unique identifier. 

    Many standards, such as the GS1 barcode, require the use of a globally unique identifier to accurately distinguish items from one another. To provide maximum visibility throughout the traceability process, be sure to include as much identification information as possible. Relevant information includes an item’s lot number, manufacture location, and expiration date.

  2. Include human-readable information, such as a supplier name, product description, and lot number. 

    Being able to identify defective products with speed and accuracy is essential to maintaining high-quality traceability standards. By incorporating traceability information that’s easy to comprehend by manufacturers and consumers alike, the source of a problematic product can be easily identified.

  3. Train employees properly on traceability standards.

    Many industries, especially related to food production, are required to undergo rigorous quality assurance and product safety inspections. Any employee connected to the manufacturing process should be well-versed in traceability requirements to ensure that proper procedures are being followed.

  4. Use automated data capture.

    Manual data collection throughout the traceability process can be overwhelming. Processes must be tracked from raw materials through finished goods. Implementing automated processes, such as barcoding or RFID technology, can help any manufacturer boost the efficiency and productivity of a traceability program.


Radley’s Traceability system makes it easy for manufacturers to integrate real-time visibility. Highly customizable to any manufacturing requirements, it meets the necessary regulatory requirements for most industries, including food processing. To learn more about traceability solutions for the entire supply chain, contact Radley today.

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