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How can process manufacturing companies improve traceability?

Global batch traceability is a critical component of effective supply chain management for today's process manufacturing companies. Here's how SAP Supply Chain Integrity can help.

Process manufacturing companies must face multiple challenges in striving for excellence in their supply chain...

management. For example, supply chain planners in pharmaceutical or edible products industries face a neverending challenge to improve materials batch traceability in logistics and supply chain, while continuing to remain focused on cutting costs and improving business process efficiencies. Fortunately, SAP Supply Chain Integrity in SAP S/4HANA combines applications, services and functions to trigger advanced search capabilities of material batches with a track-and-trace feature to ensure that a company adheres to legal compliance and is also able to quickly react in case of a defective product's recall.

Consumer safety has never been more important, and process manufacturing companies need to take responsibility for that. For example, food companies need to ensure safety throughout the supply chain journey -- from products' growth on the farm to their destination into consumers' hands. The supply chain process begins with raw material monitoring to a product's production, its transportation and warehousing to concluding with retailing, until it reaches the end customer. Similarly, process manufacturing companies in the pharmaceutical industry must take steps to eliminate counterfeit products, improve supply chain efficiency, and trace suppliers' batches in efforts to eradicate counterfeit products.

To that end, take a look at two features that SAP Supply Chain Integrity in S/4HANA can provide to process manufacturing companies traceability efforts:

Global Batch Traceability. When compared with the traditional SAP ERP batch management, the Global Batch Traceability function extends far beyond that traditional system and is also able to record and maintain extensive batch-related information in not just an ERP system, but also in other systems. Features such as Batch Information Cockpit are greatly enhanced to view to provide linkage from the top down -- i.e., from finished good to raw material -- or from the bottom up -- e.g., raw material consumed in a finished good. The batch traceability is no longer confined to a tree view, but has significantly improved to provide a graphical view. It not only considers non-SAP tracked objects such as pallets, but expands further to analyze multiple tracked objects in a single analysis.

SAP Advanced Track and Trace. In the advanced track-and-trace feature, each product is assigned a unique and independent serial number followed by aggregating the associated packaging. This aggregated information is then stored in the database so that, when needed, a supply chain planner can immediately identify the product at its individual level. For example, a bulk product such as coffee is packed in a can. This is then packed in a box along with other coffee cans. Finally, all these large boxes are packed together and placed on a pallet. These pallets are then transported and delivered to wholesalers. All these packaging and logistics activities lead to an enormous data increase, which must not only be monitored, but also logically aggregated for tracking and tracing purposes.

SAP Supply Chain Integrity also integrates with SAP Quality Issue Management to account for customer complaints of defective product, which the company then monitors and rectifies.

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This was last published in April 2016

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