In the distribution, logistics, quality control, or warranty determinations of many types of products or components, tracking and tracing is a process for determining the current and past location (and other information) of an individual item and/or their characteristics.
This concept can be supported by calculating the location of products stored in a real-time database.
Another approach is to report the arrival or departure of the object. This involves recording the identification of the object, the observed location, the time and the status. With this approach, it is critical to check the reports for consistency and completeness.
The international standards organization EPCglobal (GS1) created the network standards that describe the syntax and semantics for supply chain events and the secure method for selectively exchanging supply chain events with trading partners. These standards for tracking and tracing have been used in many industries for successful traceability. There is a wide range of products that are compatible with these standards.
In response to a growing number of recall incidents (food, pharmaceuticals, toys, etc.), a wave of software, hardware, consulting and system providers has emerged in recent years offering a range of traceability solutions and tools for industry. Among them, both RFID and barcodes are common technology methods for traceability.
RFID is synonymous with track and trace solutions and plays a crucial role in supply chains. RFID is a code-carrying technology and can be used instead of a barcode to enable reading without line of sight. In this regard, the use of RFID used to be hindered by cost constraints, but is increasing more and more.
Barcoding is a common and cost-effective method of implementing item- and component-level traceability. Variable data in a barcode or numeric or alphanumeric code format can be applied directly to the package or component. In doing so, the secure data can be linked to traceability information as markers and can also correlate with production data.