Technology like automated data collection software and barcode readers has become a critical component of manufacturing operations, according to Process and Control Today. When integrated with an ERP system, these tools help manufacturers track operations and ultimately make decisions that can save the business money through improved traceability.
The pressure manufacturers face to remain competitive has made companies realize these product tracking software tools are needed.
"As a result, where data logging was once little more than an interesting sideshow in the world of discrete manufacturing, it has quickly become an important feature of plants that aspire to world class manufacturing status," the article stated.
The source reported Mitsubishi Electric has benefited from such technology, which has given the company a better idea of performance functions and production traceability.
Traceability especially necessary for food-related supply chains
Industries including pharmaceuticals and food processes have benefited from advanced product tracking software tools. With regard to the food industry in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has required suppliers monitor their products so federal officials can track the source of foodborne illnesses.
"Building traceability into production lines means on the one hand that faults can be identified and rectified long before they reach the customer and on the other that manufacturers can provide documentary evidence to show that any faults that might be subsequently detected did not originate with them," Process and Control Today reported.
These product tracking software tools could also reduce a growing problem of fraudulent fish sales in the United States, Food Safety News reported. A report from the ocean advocacy group Oceana found that one third of fish sold at a group of grocery stores and restaurants in New York City had been falsely labeled as different species. Also, in Boston, nearly 50 percent of fish at restaurants, markets and grocery stores throughout the city were mislabeled. Some say fish and other food suppliers should be using traceability technology to stop this from happening, and the FDA should be doing more to combat fraud and mislabeled foods.
“Without strict accounting of the supply chain, a tracking number that follows the fish, you don’t really know where it’s coming from,” said Kimberly Warner, a senior scientist at Oceana and the study's lead author. “And fish have a very complex and obscure supply chain.”
Trident Seafoods, one of the largest seafood companies in the U.S. and a customer of RFgen Software, uses RFgen to track its products and improve efficiency. To learn more, read the Trident Seafoods case study.