Traceability means being able to provide evidence that your manufacturing processes were followed and that all products were built according to specification, utilizing proper components. It should be the single authoritative source of performance data so that you can be sure that you’re making the right parts the right way at the right time. 

With traceability, you can take direct measurements directly from the process in terms of machines, operations, material movements, WIP inventory, gauges, test stands, and weights.

You can also get real-time direct status updates on the products as they progress through the process, the time between usage, which parts flag non-conformance and need to be reworked, as well as validation success.

However, traceability is something that can always be optimized and improved upon. Manufacturers should introduce traceability validation into their quality checklists, which would compare the real-time trace result to the actual history of the product floating through the lines.

How Traceability Optimizes Production Performance

With the true facts of the production environment easily accessible to you and your team, a lot can be done with the information. You can analyze:

  • Bottleneck operations
  • Scrap causes
  • Machine / fixture / operation performance
  • Operator performance
  • Unplanned downtime
  • WIP inventory flow
  • And much more!

With that analysis, execution changes and plans can be enforced at the operational level, through Traceability system feedback. You’ll be able to catch non-conformance early and prevent defects from being passed on. You’ll be able to enforce order processing so that you’re making the right parts at the right time, plus automate component replenishment to the line.

Looking to increase efficiency on your floor? Traceability will help you enforce FIFO material usage and contain lots not yet approved, which also leads to less chance for human error and unplanned downtime.

Traceability also gives you the ability to reduce expedited freight costs, customer returns, purchasing, and unnecessary component inventory.

The Bottom Line

When traceability is utilized to optimize production performance, all of these things together will do some incredible things for your shop floor, your production, and your business. You’ll see higher productivity per employee, lower operational costs, and higher yield.

On top of that, making high-quality products that are delivered on time will delight your customers and help build your brand integrity. Simply put, traceability is a “must-have” for any manufacturing business.