When was the last time you heard a product recall and wondered if it affected the food in your fridge—or worse, food that you recently consumed? If you’re like me, you would err on the side of caution by quickly disposing of the food and making a mental note that if you’re not feeling well in the future – you know why.
In Australia, there have recently been numerous food safety issues associated with fruit that was locally grown or imported. These situations resulted in several deaths and serious illnesses, especially in high-risk groups. They also crippled brands by destroying consumer confidence in their former buying habits.
Such events have long-term implications, as we saw in China, where infant milk powder caused deaths nearly a decade ago.
Consumers are concerned not only if products are safe to consume, but if they are counterfeit. This leads many to source products directly from overseas.
Solving this challenge is not simple, but the key element for any consumer is trust: Is the product safe to consume? Is it genuine? If there is a problem, do I trust the business to resolve the issue with the consumer front-of-mind?
Technology can help in prevention, compliance, and in the event of issues, effective product recall.
- Prevention focuses on quality assurance elements, including testing, manufacturing processes, and establishing batches, serialization, and milestone dates such as expiry.
- Compliance considers the safe storage and distribution of products throughout the supply chain, including accurate tracking of shelf life and other key indicators, including authenticity.
- Product recall focuses on the notification and retrieval of products from the internal and external supply chain as well as identifying raw material issues and the finished goods that consumed these materials.
Existing mainstream applications, such as ERP solutions, are a great foundation for many of these elements, but often the movement of products from receipt, manufacturing, distribution, and ultimately to the consumer cross many other applications and ERPs. Organizations struggle to piece together this information, and when issues occur this leads to delays in responding and uncertainty in the effectiveness of the response.
SAP Global Batch Traceability (GBT) is designed to efficiently track the product genealogy from the origin of raw materials throughout the stages of production and the internal/external product distribution. It captures and links attributes across multiple ERPs (SAP and non-SAP) and third-party applications to enable fast investigation and reporting.