Consumers may or may not spend much time thinking about the safety of their food or pharmaceutical products. However, food and pharmaceutical manufacturers invest a great deal of time and effort into ensuring that what goes to market will not make anyone sick.
One of the tools they use to accomplish that goal is EDI software. EDI solutions ensure greater traceability and safety in the food and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries.
The Supply Chain’s Goals
There are four goals that food and pharmaceutical manufacturers must balance.
The first goal is availability. They must be able to maintain a high level of stock in retail establishments. There are challenges to meeting this goal, though; products have to travel to retailers in the most efficient manner possible and at the lowest cost.
A second goal is waste reduction. This is especially crucial for food manufacturers, although if pharmaceutical products are not stored properly, they can spoil and not only become ineffective but may sicken patients.
Consumers want to know that what they are ingesting is safe and will not cause them harm.
The third goal is to meet consumer needs. Those needs are not just to buy tasty food or pharmaceutical products that will help them heal; consumers want to know that what they are ingesting is safe and will not cause them harm.
All of these goals must be balanced by another aim: traceability. Traceability is the power to have complete visibility over the supply chain, even when it is becoming more complicated. Today’s supply chain is global in nature; a consumer in Florida might be buying allergy pills manufactured in Israel, and a shopper in South Korea could purchase cereal processed in America’s Midwest.
Is Traceability Achievable?
The supply chain has existed long before computers. And the need to keep track of all of the supply chain’s components has also challenged retailers since humans began trading with one another.
Before the supply chain became an international affair, food and pharmaceutical manufacturers were able to trace shipments with paper and pencil. Information would be filed away for future use.
Before the supply chain became an international affair, manufacturers were able to trace shipments with paper and pencil.
This method of record-keeping was not particularly efficient, though. It could take hours (or longer) to review files to find necessary information. Computer systems as well as EDI tools made traceability somewhat easier to achieve, but the situation was far from perfect.
Legacy EDI systems could be slow and difficult to operate. Furthermore, they were expensive and represented a significant investment in time. Thanks to technological advances though, traceability has become an achievable goal.
Today’s EDI Software: Enabling Easy and Fast Traceability
Modern EDI systems enable greater traceability through advanced technology. The power of the cloud has transformed a number of enterprise software categories, and EDI is no exception. It enables food and pharmaceutical manufacturers to access information and provide updates to their supply chain partners in real time.
There is no more waiting to retrieve vital information about a lot number or production date in the event of a recall. Cloud-based EDI software integrates with other systems, so all of the data you need to trace a product all the way through the supply chain is at your fingertips.
Additionally, non-cloud-based EDI systems and hybrid systems that include both on-premise EDI and cloud-based solutions enhance traceability and make the food and pharma supply chains more transparent, and therefore more safe.
All of the data you need to trace a product all the way through the supply chain is at your fingertips.
The complexity of today’s supply chain could make traceability an impossible goal. However, modern EDI software helps food and pharmaceutical manufacturers overcome that complexity, while still enabling them to remain efficient and agile. To learn more about how EDI software enhances traceability, contact us.