The next time you put your fork to your mouth or your glass to your lips, think about where that food or drink came from. Today, we know so much more about what we consume than “it came from some factory somewhere.” That’s due to greater traceability, which is, in no small part, thanks to lot tracking.
What Is Lot Tracking?
Lot tracking records what raw ingredients were used in the production of particular finished goods. It has two goals:
- Tracking inbound ingredients through the manufacturing process to the finished product
- Tracing back from the finished product’s lot number to identify ingredient, amounts, and lot numbers used in the finished product
How Does Lot Tracking Relate to Traceability?
The relationship between lot tracking and traceability is quite clear: lot tracking is an essential tool in the quest for traceability. Why is traceability so important?
Food recalls have made traceability a necessity. Between 2013 and 2018, the number of food recalls increased 10 percent. To keep consumers safe, companies must pull contaminated products off the shelves fast.
“Food recalls make traceability a necessity.”
Aside from the food safety angle, more and more consumers want to know what’s going into their mouths. They demand information on where products come from and who grew them.
Lot tracking enables traceability because it records inbound ingredients and allows manufacturers to trace the finished product’s lot number to identify what and how much went into the finished product.
How Food and Beverage EDI Improves Lot Tracking Capabilities
How can manufacturers increase their traceability capabilities? The answer lies in food and beverage EDI.
Food and beverage EDI refers to EDI solutions used within the food and beverage industries. It’s tailored to meet the needs of companies within these fields, although it works the same way EDI solutions in other industries do by sending information from computer to computer in a standard format, without the need for human intervention.
“Food and beverage EDI increases manufacturers’ traceability capabilities.”
What does food and beverage EDI look like in action? We will illustrate with an example. A large snack food manufacturer, Montgomery Foods, has ordered corn flour from its supplier, Trudy’s Fine Foods. Both Montgomery and Trudy’s use food and beverage EDI.
Trudy’s sends an advance shipping notice (ASN) to Montgomery. The ASN contains lot numbers for the corn flour, which includes information about the raw ingredients. This information flows electronically into Montgomery’s food and beverage EDI solution, so there’s no need for manual data entry (which could lead to costly and time-consuming errors). In the event of a recall, Montgomery can use lot tracking to determine the source of danger.
“In the event of a recall, food manufacturers can use lot tracking numbers to determine the source of danger.”
Traceability becomes much easier with lot tracking numbers. Food and beverage EDI solutions make it easier to find that information.
Are you ready to use EDI for your food and beverage company? Calculate your cost. Download our free EDI Calculator to see how much you can save with the right EDI solution.