If you’re in the manufacturing business, you know the importance of a fast-paced, efficient operation. From your assembly line to your supply chain, you need to track and trace your goods. Customers expect you to know where their order is from the production queue to the delivery truck. Inspectors and regulators want more transparency. Thankfully, machine vision is making track and trace solutions easier and more effective than ever!
What Is Track and Trace?
Gone are the days of keeping customer orders in a spreadsheet as they made their way through production to shipping. Machine vision track and trace systems now use intelligent cameras and image processing to keep tabs on raw materials, finished products, and picked orders.
One common example of machine vision track and trace is the use of detailed labeling. Product cartons often include serial numbers, manufacturing dates, and expiration dates. They may also receive a GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) as a globally unique identifier. The identifier contains info about the carton and what to do with it.
Machine vision systems then use barcode scanning technology and OCR (optical image recognition) to read the detailed labeling. Automation systems cross-check the information on the label with the database. Only valid labels are sorted properly and unreadable or invalid labels are rejected or reviewed.
Benefits of Track and Trace Solutions
Increased regulatory pressure and accountability have driven the growth of track and trace systems. Manufacturers can limit product recalls and prevent quality issues. In the past, workers spent much of their time manually tracking products and orders. By automating the process, businesses don’t just streamline the process. But they can even offer more robust tracing, from origin to delivery.
Machine vision has helped a wide range of industries implement track and trace. The food and beverage industry can trace food back to a food processor and even the exact farm or ranch. Hospitals and medical facilities can better keep track of instruments and other equipment to reduce hospital-contracted infections. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are using track and trace systems to label products and ensure patients get the medicines they need.
Don’t Ignore Your Need for Track and Trace
More businesses are recognizing the need for track and trace to compete in their industry. With slim margins in manufacturing, a hefty product recall or a liability claim can cost a company huge amounts of market share and even lead to serious financial troubles. News and social media can quickly affect consumer behavior if a company can’t react quickly to the issues that track and trace helps to solve.
Many industries are supporting The Produce Traceability Initiative to increase the adoption of vision-based track and trace solutions and promote greater supply chain visibility. Ignoring such initiatives in your industry could leave your business looking less desirable to customers and investors.
Let the experts at Phase 1 Technology help you pick the right machine vision camera for your track and trace solution.