Using Barcodes to Improve Supply Chain Transparency, Traceability, and Accountability

Throughout the supply chain there is a growing demand for better insight when it comes to transparency, traceability, and accountability.

Supply chain visibility is about having greater insight into what and where a given item is at any point in time. Savvy consumers want to know where their products come from, governments need to be able to track controlled substances, and certification bodies need end-to-end tracking to ensure accurate authentications.

The foundation of this visibility is supply chain transparency.

Supply chain transparency requires organisation to establish trusting partnerships with various stakeholders across the supply chain so that relevant information can be shared freely. When data is siloed it makes it hard to access necessary information. Manufacturers, vendors, warehouses, logistics and distribution centres that work together create better visibility. For example, working with stakeholders to implement compatible barcode and labelling software and practices can create an interoperability that enables transparency as an item moves through the chain.

This transparency in turn creates traceability.

Traceability is enabled by collecting real-time data for all items as they move through the supply chain. Status reports, delivery details, order information, regulatory requirements all need to be easily available to all the necessary stakeholders.

If all the data comes from a single source, such as a barcode label, regardless of where the item is in the supply chain journey, you can increase the accuracy and trustworthiness of the data.

This traceability in turn creates accountability throughout the supply chain.

When tracking is done at am item level, even across different stakeholders, it is possible to better manage the movement of items, reduce losses, keep to FIFO principles, or maintain proper cold chains.

Transparency in the supply chain can also mean disclosing and tracking information such as ingredients, distance an item has travelled, who has been in contact with the item, product and component origins, and even labour practices.

Improving supply chain transparency, traceability and accountability results in more efficient management of increasingly complex supply chains. A standardised labelling system is one way to make sure this information is available and consistent through all steps of the supply chain.

GraniteWMS is a barcode based warehouse management system that can help you track and manage items as they move through your warehouse. Providing live data to help increase your supply chain transparency, traceability, and accountability. Contact us today to find out more.