Technology to improve your traceability

By Bethan Grylls

- Last updated on GMT

Don't miss our webinar, exploring technologies for improving your supply chain traceability. Credit: Getty/sitox
Don't miss our webinar, exploring technologies for improving your supply chain traceability. Credit: Getty/sitox

Related tags Technology & Automation Trade Equipment Innovation Business

Register for our exclusive webinar which looks at existing and emerging technology to enhance your supply chain traceability, whilst taking you back to basics as our experts explore several case studies, options and the important questions to ask before investing.

The last few years have seen our supply chains suffering from increasing instability and it’s likely volatility will persist in 2024.

From the elections in both the UK and US and the changes that may bring, to uncertainty around geopolitical climates (most recently with the US and UK response to Houthis drone and missile strikes in the Red Sea), to the impact of climate change on farming and a raft of new regulations – ensuring you have a greater degree of understanding around your supply chain is essential.

These drivers have undoubtedly thrust accessibility of commodities, food safety and authenticity into an entirely new spotlight, with transparency and traceability evermore key foundations to success.

But how do you ensure that the systems you have in place to trace your supply chain are accurate enough? This is the question we’ll be providing answers to in our latest, upcoming webinar on 20 February. Register for free today: Strategies for improving your supply chain traceability.

The importance of accurate traceability

Regulation, retail and consumers are all pushing for further scrutiny, whether it’s origin or carbon footprint. Taking sustainability as a prime example, we can see that interest has grown overtime in authentic green claims. Searches for ‘greenwashing’ in the UK have risen significantly since 2019, according to Google Trends. Between October and November 2021, interest was at peak popularity and whilst this has seen a small decline of 38% since (from figures analysed in January 2023), historical data shows that we can expect this to remain of interest throughout the year, with particular moments of spikes and troughs…perhaps as big names get called out.

But as a result of consumers examining claims under the microscope, we’re seeing an upward trend of ‘greenhushing’ too, which one could argue is equally as damaging. In fact, research from climate focused business, South Pole, (from its 2022 Net Zero report) found that whilst companies are increasingly taking action, one in four do not plan to divulge their green wins. By deliberately obscuring the true extend of a company’s environmental commitment, it makes corporate climate targets more difficult to dissect and restricts knowledge-sharing on decarbonisation which could lead to less action in the future and missed opportunities.

This is but one example of why precise traceability is crucial. Companies need to be able to back up their claims and confidently. But as mentioned, a wider, more comprehensive understanding of the supply chain will also prove useful when it comes to food safety, particularly in a recall or withdrawal situation, and to have a clearer view on accessibility of products, alongside stock levels vs demand.  

In this exclusive one-hour session, we’ll hear from several experts around the latest technologies available today and those that are emerging to help enhance your business’ traceability. With investments needed to be made more wisely than ever before, the session will also raise important questions around fixing the basic foundational issues within manufacturing traceability set-ups, risk vs reward and ensuring solutions are fit-for-purpose.

What the session will explore

Speaking on the webinar, Alain Dilworth, programme manager at Made Smarter, will set the scene as he offers an overview of careful considerations food and drink producers should be making when it comes to implementing technology. Offering several case studies throughout his talk, Dilworth will highlight success stories within the sector and explain Made Smarter’s role in driving innovation forwards.

In his role as programme manager for the north west of the UK, Dilworth has overseen the successful development and delivery of the adoption programme – which has supported hundreds of SME manufacturers to adopt digital technology. 

Following on from Dilworth, Food Manufacture will hear from Lee Walker, senior solution consultants manager for Aptean, who brings with him 25 years of food industry experience. In his talk, he will offer other examples of how software can enhance traceability and offer clarity by avoiding siloed data.  

Walker will provide examples of how Aptean has helped customers in the past and the capabilities ERP has to improve your overview of financial, quality and logistical traceability.

After, we will hear from Benjamin Wielgosz, Geo-Spatial Development Manager at Olam Food Ingredients. After completing a master’s degree in international economics from American University (AU), Wielgosz worked as a spatial analyst at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington DC, supporting agricultural and environmental economics projects in Nigeria, Uganda, Pakistan and Cambodia. He has since worked as a programme manager for information and reporting with the World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture and now, in his current role at ofi, focuses on mainstreaming and increasing the internal adoption of spatial data use and geography across all business units. His aim is to improve the measurements and reporting activities around deforestation, natural capital and other environmental reporting metrics to improve the sustainability of the supply chain – and his talk will centre around some of innovations ofi has implemented to this end.

Finally, we’ll hear from GS1 UK’s Camilla Young, who is spearheading the 2D barcode revolution in the UK.

GS1 has developed the digital link standards for use of 2D barcodes across a variety of industries and launched a global initiative to implement the next generation of barcodes: QR codes powered by GS1, which not only store the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) but can also be used to provide a range of additional data points such as an expiry date or a serial number.

These versatile QR codes can be used across the supply chain and scanned by consumers with a smartphone. Through enhanced inventory tracking, supply chain visibility and traceability, 2D barcodes enable businesses to swiftly remove tainted or out of date products from the supply chain, mitigating financial, social and health impacts. Consumers are also able to gain access to a product’s sourcing, production and transportation information, alongside detailed information on ingredients, allergens and nutrition, sustainability, recipes and usage instructions. 

Young has more than 15 years’ experience in the retail industry, working in commercial roles across a broad range of brands and categories.

So if you’re keen to look at technology as a solution to your traceability woes, this is a session not to be missed – offering a clear, back to basics look at what you need to consider when implementing tech so you’re making meaningful investments that help you deliver on not just regulatory demands, but customer ones too.

Register for the Food Manufacture webinar, sponsored by ERP experts Aptean, for free here.

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