End-to-end traceability and transfer of responsibility

11 May 2021

The health crisis has highlighted the difficulties encountered by supply chain companies in managing hazards and predicting demand.

This lack of visibility can result in insufficient quality of service and pressure placed on teams in their relations with increasingly complex ecosystems over time.

In this context, it becomes essential to be able to establish a relationship of trust with its partners. But also to manage the constant evolution of consumer requirements, who demand more and more quality and guarantees, in particular concerning the origin of products.

Real-time flow traceability

During the various transfers of products throughout the logistics chain: warehouses, factories, stores, transport vehicles, partners, etc. towards the end consumer but also the return loop (reverse logistics), it is important to be able to constantly be able to access the flow of information that concerns them.

In addition, the reliability of product tracking information is an essential condition to ensure both the continuity of supply of goods, but also to anticipate and implement solutions if necessary.

In order to be able to better follow the constantly moving logistics flows, companies have various possibilities in terms of traceability, such as:

  • Product tracking or product traceability: this traceability allows the identification of a batch or a series of goods from its transformation to the final delivery and therefore to know the raw materials that were used, but also the operations of production carried out throughout,
  • Tracking or logistic traceability: this gives the possibility of following the precise route of a batch of goods thanks to the recorded data and thus to be able to calculate the best delivery times. We note that this type of traceability is often used for online purchases,
  • Internal traceability: it covers the trajectory of products throughout the chain, from their production to their shipment, in order to successfully identify all the movements made by a product by reading its barcode or by means of '' a Smart Supply solution,
  • Returns traceability: the latter provides an overview of product returns as well as handling units and instructions to allow precise monitoring of the entire life cycle of products and packaging until cleaning for reuse or recycling.

Better traceability using Blockchain?

Originally linked to the financial sector with the arrival of bitcoin, the blockchain has however emancipated itself, by disrupting, in turn, the fields of the Supply Chain, but also many others.

In addition, we can see the blockchain as a complex technology with largely unsuspected powers, but which is also praised for its use of unparalleled logistical traceability.

Thus, the blockchain has made a place of choice among Supply Chain professionals who aim to successfully complete their digital transition.

The various logistics networks are increasingly fragmented over time and logistics players too often have insufficient visibility on final demand, but also above all on the movements and precise location of their goods, such as for example materials / packaging, spare parts and other essential goods.

The blockchain is then recognized as being the answer in terms of logistics traceability, and as said previously its popularity among Supply Chain professionals is well established.

We note that many providers are content to track and geolocate their products using IoT. However, securing products as well as monitoring them in real time on all flows are however far from being as effective as they seem, because various companies face situations in which the geolocation tool is found while the merchandise is missing.

Thus, for better visibility and step-by-step follow-up of products, it is essential to follow the transfer of responsibilities, that is to say to know at all times who is responsible for what, in addition to having full traceability. but also to know the positioning of the products and handling units themselves.

And in terms of monitoring the transfer of responsibility?

The concept of "follow-up of responsibility transfers" demonstrates that the blockchain and / or a trusted third party (such as a software publisher) allows an increase both in transparency on products, but also in the visibility of those products. -this. It can then be applied to all industrial sectors, starting from logistics to reach others, such as large food distribution, the cold chain, freight, the pharmaceutical field or even aeronautics which have constantly need to keep an eye on the path of their goods.

In this logic, and by following the transfers of responsibilities using the blockchain and / or a software publisher, it is now possible to prove with certainty the physical presence of any type of commodity at a given moment. given, but companies will also be able to know who is responsible for what, at any time, in any link in the supply chain.

We can say that the best solution is to have a tracking tool allowing to certify infallible traceability of any type of product at all levels of the process (pallets, packaging, packages, merchandise, foodstuffs, detached pieces).

Thus, we note that the certification of a good management of the transfer of responsibility, which itself makes it possible to certify the physical existence of the product by offering, via an open network and / or a trusted third party, a taxable liability legally. At the same time, all the data collected is certified and can then be processed without risk of distortion, because this data is directly generated in real time in the field.

In addition, an end-to-end solution with extended supply chain management guarantees end-to-end visualization of all transactions leading to a transfer of responsibility, even temporary. To put it simply, when an action involves a transfer of assets in a complex environment comprising several levels of subcontracting, the management of transfers of responsibility represents an obvious and essential asset.

By following this principle, the traceability of the product will then be certified by each actor in the chain, and during a transfer of products, the actors will at the same time transfer this responsibility in a certified manner.

The success factors of end-to-end traceability and transfer of responsibility

Logistics plays a vital role in society by ensuring that products are made available to consumers while synchronizing the supply chain with the demand to be satisfied.

Among its main resources, it uses transport and therefore the notion of Track & Trace of products throughout the journey to ensure the link between the different links of the Supply Chain. However, it is important to have the right keys in hand to ensure its success at all times. Here are a few :

  • Real-time solution: it is essential for companies to have a solution that allows them to track their products in real time anywhere and at any time,
  • Extended supply chain: companies are developing cooperation with their partners to ensure overall management of the flow of information and goods with the aim of optimizing both management costs and product traceability,
  • Integration with suppliers, partners, customers, carriers: it is important for companies to have an agile, innovative and digital solution available that will allow them to be in constant contact with the various stakeholders (suppliers, partners, customers, etc. carriers) for better monitoring of the transfer of responsibilities,
  • 360 control tower: companies that have a broad and complete view of the flow of their products / goods, and can easily manage the problems that arise at any time,
  • Mobility: in this context, we can speak of the Track & Trace function, which allows companies to have a 360-degree view of goods and thus guarantee foolproof mobility,
  • Trusted third parties: by having a smart supply solution, companies can monitor the products that are routed with complete peace of mind, but also obtain transparency during the transfer of responsibilities during the course of the various packages,
  • The transfer of responsibilities: it becomes a delicate subject in the logistics chain because very often companies want to be able to follow the delivery of goods step by step in order to know who has taken over during the different stages of its journey until its arrival.

The health crisis has proven once again that logistics flows are complex and sometimes difficult to follow in real time using current logistics solutions.

On the other hand, if they are improved through a responsibility transfer module coupled with management of all end-to-end traceability in an extended supply chain, companies can better guarantee transparency in order to minimize the risks of their supply chain / logistics. .

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