Introduction to Traceability
Table of Contents
Traceability is the ability to follow products through all stages of the agri-food chain - from production to retail and provides an effective way to track an identified product and its marketable attributes such as "locally raised" or "gluten free" as it moves between locations.
A Traceability system contains the tools, standards (such as format and product coding requirements) and processes used by your facility to collect, keep, and share essential information that is required to track your raw materials, ingredients and products through receiving, processing and distribution. When extended beyond your facility, traceability and information sharing can lead to improved supply chain management. For example, greater efficiencies for more than one business can be achieved through improved scheduling of production needs with suppliers and buyers.
Traceability is an important tool for Ontario agri-food businesses. Traceability has numerous business benefits and can help you to:
Effective traceability requires three components to be in place for your business:
Types of traceability systems range from simple paper-based record keeping to more sophisticated information management that uses automated and computerized components for efficient data capture and secure access to information.
Setting Up an Effective Record Keeping System
Effective traceability is based on effective record keeping. Record keeping must be:
Memories fail or can be unreliable, particularly over time. Written records need to be kept for the following reasons:
Examples of records include:
What is Information Management and What Does It Mean to My Business?
Information management is the collection, storage and sharing of information about the financial and production aspects of your business. Information can be managed using a paper-based system through record keeping or with more technologically advanced methods.
Information that is managed using an organized and well structured system can make it easier to verify, analyze and report on key aspects of your operation, helping you to make better business decisions.
Technology Improvements to Your Traceability System
Many businesses have made the switch from paper-based to electronic, automated traceability systems. Electronic, automated traceability systems typically yield a positive return on your investment in the form of efficiencies in labour and cost reductions in some operational expenses.
A number of traceability technologies can be integrated into automated traceability systems. Traceability technologies can include barcodes, scanners, labelling equipment and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags and readers. Advantages of electronic and automated Traceability systems include:
What is Culture?
Culture is the shared beliefs, attitudes and values that characterize the behaviour and relationships of all individuals within a social group.
What is Traceability Culture in the Workplace?
Traceability culture in the workplace is a work environment in which all employees share the responsibility for traceability. Their behaviour demonstrates that they know what needs to be done and are motivated to do it because they understand that traceability is central to everything they do. Employee buy-in and engagement in traceability culture differs from a traceability program in that everyone feels personal responsibility to ensure accurate recording and the integrity of the traceability system.
Traceability Culture: Why Bother?
Traceability is an important tool for meeting market requirements and accessing new market opportunities, effective product recall, ensuring product confidence and the protection of business and customers. Traceability culture in the workplace is important because:
Leadership in Developing Traceability Culture
Management plays an important role in creating traceability culture in the workplace because effective leadership demonstrates your business's vision for traceability. This conveys an expectation of traceability behaviour and making traceability a value reinforces its importance to your staff.
Measure Your Progress
Determining your progress towards traceability culture in the workplace is important so that effective steps can be taken to improve future performance.
Key things that will help determine if your traceability culture is a success are: error rates, staff feedback on system status or improvements, staff morale, etc.
For more information: