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How to improve your coding and traceability: expert advice

Supplier: insignia
18 March, 2014

Coding and traceability of products is a key focus for most Australian manufacturers, however it is still an area that many businesses are not achieving the desired results.

Businesses are facing issues around error-proofing their processes, and ensuring continual quality in their labelling and coding of products.

This is an important topic for manufacturers because a defect in coding and labelling will cause complete failure throughout the supply chain. Many processes for labelling and coding that were implemented in the past are not keeping up with the demands of today. Fortunately a lot of advancements have been made over the past five-ten years that are straightforward for businesses to implement in order to achieve higher quality, and are not time consuming or overly costly.

Brad Jeavons, Continuous Improvement Manager from insignia says the first step to improving your coding and traceability is to work with a reliable labelling and coding partner. 

According to Jeavons, "Decision makers should think carefully about choosing a partner who will take the time to understand their business challenges, and perform a process of continuous improvement to identify the waste streams in their production areas and help make improvements in line with these. 

"Your partner should not just be there to sell a piece of equipment; rather they should be adding value to your operation by recommending solutions that assist with achieving a quality solution which will consistently meet your customers needs," Jeavons says.

"The next step is to plan, with your chosen partner, the right solution considering yours and your customer's particular needs. Ultimately a solution which will provide a level of consistent performance in an error-free manner will be desirable. Technologies that can assist are as simple as a barcode check scanner to check the barcode is applied correctly, has the right data and most importantly that it is readable.

"Many actions can be taken if a poor read is achieved, most importantly it can be caught and dealt with.  Most labelling equipment in today's market has the ability to link directly with a barcode scanner for this purpose."

In addition to scanners checking the bar-code, vision technology provides a visual check of barcodes, date and batch codes as well as other packaging requirements. This type of technology is based around a camera-style technology and when implemented well, will provide a watchful eye on quality in these areas. 

Coding and quality control equipment can be integrated into a company's existing automation and management software. If a company does not have an existing automation or factory management software, many packages are available to suit differing company needs.

Jeavons adds: "Accessing the right partner and using the latest error proofing technologies will help Australian manufacturers get their coding and traceability practices up to date."