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5 Benefits of Using Lot Control and Traceability in Manufacturing

Inventory

In the world of manufacturing, lot control and traceability are essential to keeping factories humming with minor hiccups. While implementing such systems can be expensive, if your business wishes to compete in the 21st century, this technology is imperative to have and incorporate into normal work flows. Having lot control and traceability measures in place means saving money in the long run, protecting your business from massive recalls and lost inventory, and keeping in compliance with standards and regulations. In this post we’ll look at the top five benefits of using these systems and explain why you can’t go without them if you wish your manufacturing business to stay afloat.

Save Inventory and Money

Recalls are the bane of businesses who rely on manufacturing to produce their products, especially within industries that create goods that have a direct impact on the health and safety of consumers. However, recalls happen, even for those that have the highest standards of quality control. The car company Toyota virtually invented the common best practices for manufacturing across the world today, but it had a massive recall of 250,000 of its Prius model for brake problems in 2013, and then an even bigger recall of 1.9M of the Prius for software glitches only a year later. These types of recalls can be devastating for businesses, but dealing with them as efficiently as possible can ensure that recalls can be kept to a minimum. With lot control and traceability in place, manufacturers can determine what models, batches, or even lots should be recalled, in turn saving a lot of money, time, and lost inventory.

Prevent Legal Troubles

Some industries are more highly regulated by government agencies than others, and for good reason. For example, aerospace, food, and medical devices typically necessitate a high level of oversight, tracking, and quality control before leaving the factory and being put into production or up for sale. Should a problem occur with these kinds of products, lot control can make recalls much more exact, fast, and efficient.

Additionally, lot control systems can be required in order for certain businesses to be in compliance with either state or federal laws. Should an audit or a real-life recall occur, businesses could be held liable for not having such systems and controls in place. Legal fees are another thing that all businesses want to avoid as much as possible, and having the necessary systems in place to prevent non-compliance issues should a standard practice for manufacturers.

Maintain Your Brand Image

If you remember the massive Firestone debacle and subsequent recall in 2000, you’ll also remember how much of a negative impact this had on the brand’s image. Firestone lost millions in revenue to negative customer perceptions, and climbing out of this hole to regain a foothold in the market took years. While this wasn’t necessarily due to lot control, it’s a prime example of the power of a major recall having a severely negative effect on brand image. Without lot control, the likelihood of a massive recall is much greater, and the resulting backlash from customers could be as well. By being able to keep recalls as small as possible, you’re essentially able to save yourself from excess bad press.

Win Business

Lot control and traceability aren’t just good because they’re preventative measures though. These systems can actually result in a growth of business as companies become more efficient in their workflows and processes. For example, mock recalls can be done in a few hours instead of days, businesses can have better access to data concerning raw material usage, and automated solutions can even be integrated into accounting systems for better financial controls over purchasing, inventory, and shipping. With all of these systems combined, manufacturing companies can reduce waste and become more efficient.

Materials Accountability

Finally, lot control also means better accountability of each individual piece and part, as well as oversight of each individual vendor for these parts. Should there be a recall and the root cause be determined to be the fault of a certain part or system, the manufacturer will be able to determine a better course of action with the responsible vendor. Beyond simply holding a vendor accountable for faulty products, these systems can allow for manufacturers to work with vendors to develop greater synergies between them too.