Traceability Testing Script
Testing a potential traceability system to identify the level of internal controls for maintaining your data is an important step in selecting the right system for your business. Below is a sample test script that can help you identify possible areas of weakness in systems being reviewed, so you can be sure to get the functionality that will be important for you.
Traceability starts at the receiving of raw materials, continues with the movement of those goods around the warehouse and the picking of them for production. The manufacturing process transforms the raw materials into interim and finished goods. The final step in the internal traceability process is tracking what lots of finished goods go to which customers.
Below is some sample data and a generic script to help assess traceability software abilities and identify gaps so that you can better compare different offerings.
Preliminary Set Up 1. Set up item masters for the raw material ingredients that go into CHEESE: I.
SALT→ OE unit: bag; stocking unit: kg; 10 kg/bag; SUP01 $1/kg; if system has scanning, GTIN-14 is 01234567890128
CULTURE→ OE unit: bag; stocking unit: kg; 10 kg/bag; SUP01 $1/kg; if scanning GTIN-14 is 45678901234560
MILK→ OE unit: liter; stocking unit: liter; FARMER $0.50/liter, assume no barcode is available at receiving
Set up a Supplier called SUP01, whom you will buy the raw materials from. If your system does costing, establish the costs for SALT as $1/kg, CULTURE as $1/kg, and MILK as $0.50/liter.
Set up an Item Master for an interim/finished good, CHEESE. Each package of cheese is approx. 10 kg, but it is priced by the kg. The list price for this item is $5/kg.
Set up a Bill of Materials (recipe) for making CHEESE. It is stocked by the package and contains:
1 package of CHEESE should include
1 unit of LABOR (if the system allows overhead to be included)
5. Customers like STORE order CHEESE by the case, the sell unit CHEESECS contains two packages (20 kg) of CHEESE per case and is priced by kg.
Set up a Bill of Materials to package CHEESECS which contains:
Set up a customer master for the grocery store client and give it the customer code STORE. This customer receives a special price of $4/kg for item CHEESECS.
Set up two warehouses in the system, one called MAIN and the other called COOLER
Set up two skid locations within the MAIN warehouse for slot A1 and slot B1
Set your system date to June 3, 2015 (so that the dates used in the exercises make sense)
Orders, Requirements and Production Scheduling 1. Enter a sales order for a manufactured item*
*If your system does not allow you to enter a sales order, how does it tie the lots shipped to the customer?
2. Review Requirements –what do you need to make
3. Schedule Production – schedule to make 5 cases (100 kg) of CHEESECS to fill the above order (Does the system have a date option so you can schedule production into the future?)
Once you schedule to make CHEESECS, review any available shortages report to find out which raw materials you don’t have enough of to complete that planned production.
You should need to order 1000 L of MILK, 3 bags of CULTURE and 1 bag of SALT to be able to complete this planned production.
4. Enter a purchase order (PO) to your supplier(s) for any raw material ingredient(s) that are needed to make the finished good. *
Enter a PO to supplier SUP01, for 3 bags of CULTURE and 1 bag of SALT.
Enter another PO to supplier FARMER for 1000 L of MILK.
Can you send the PO’s to your supplier by email or is printing them the only option?
*If your system does not produce PO’s, how do staff at receiving know what is expected to arrive?
Receiving Process 5.
Receive the raw materials you ordered
TIP: Walk around your warehouse looking at labels on raw materials. What percentage of your raw materials contain a GS1-128 barcode allowing a scanner to capture multiple pieces of information in a single scan? If they have GS1-128 labels, do they contain the important segments (01) GTIN-14 or (02) and Lot (10) or Serial Number (21) allowing a scanner to capture the item and lot information with a scanner? In the meat industry, GS1-128 labels are common, while many other segments of the food industry are just beginning to adopt these labels. Try to estimate for your business how much relabeling will be necessary to use scanners for both inventory control and traceability?
If your system can’t scan the above label to capture both the item code and lot information at once, what kinds of labels can it scan and what information can be captured?
If your system can only scan GTIN-14 SCC codes, like the samples below, it is capturing the item information through that scan but not the lot number, so that scan process is not sufficient for traceability (Fig.
). If these GTIN-14 are the only possible labels it can scan, how does the system manage traceability? Does the lot information have to be keyed in (leaving room for error) and how does it get matched with these items? 11.5 Fig. 11.5
GTIN-14 SCC barcodes
If you have to key the receiving information into a system, either because the system can’t scan GS1-128 labels or because the ingredients arriving do not have a GS1-128 label, follow the system’s process to receive the SALT and CULTURE into the MAIN warehouse location.
Receive: 3 bags of CULTURE. As you can see from the GS1-128 label, L001 lot has an expiry date of September 1, 2015.
Receive: 1 bag of SALT of lot L002. Its expiry date is also September 1, 2015.
Receive: 1000 L of MILK of lot L003. Its expiry date is also September 1, 2015.
Can the system accommodate these alpha-numeric lot numbers and how long is the field? If you can’t receive an alpha-numeric lot number you will have to reassign the supplier lot number to an internal one—how will the system keep the two numbers cross linked in case your supplier issues a recall (they will issue it using their lot number)?
If not scanning, do you have an option to enter the expiry date and does the system have expiry date reporting or features to automatically alert a user if they scan something past its expiry date?
If the product did not have GS1-128 barcode labels, and the system supports scanning, can the system print you a GS1-128 label to apply to this product so that moving forward you can capture the item and lot information in a single scan? Does this GS1-128 label encode the important segments including item (01) or (02) and lot number (10) or serial number (21)? If it does not contain either the lot or serial number segment, what would the system use as a lot number?
If a skid label is an option, what does the barcode on the skid label encode? Does it represent one unit on that skid or does it correspond in the system to all the items and lot numbers (the total number of all units) that are contained on the skid? Will the skid label be useful if you begin to case pick off that skid or is it only useful to move the entire skid around the warehouse until case picking begins?
Does the system give you an option to enter Key Data Elements about the receiving as a whole (i.e. driver dropping off shipment, temperature of truck, condition of truck, etc.)?
Does the system give you the option to enter KDEs about the individual lots received, beyond quantity, lot and expiry information (i.e. shelf-life, country of origin, Kosher certified, etc.)?
6. Check that the raw materials and lots received are accurately in stock in the MAIN location. There should be some kind of lots in stock report to use for this. If your system also does costing, run an inventory valuation report. Are the materials that you ordered now in stock at the costs you would expect them to be?
Storage Process 7. Transfer MILK from the MAIN receiving location to the COOLER location.
Transfer the 1000 L of MILK from the MAIN warehouse to the COOLER warehouse.
When attempting the transfer, do you need to enter the lot number or can you select it from a list of available lots? If keying in the lot number, try entering the lot number as LOO3 (switching the two zero’s for letter O’s).
Does your system allow you to make this error? If so, the system is not verifying that the transfer transaction is possible. Meaning, you didn’t receive LOO3, so you should not be able to move or use it. Complete this incorrect transaction if the program will allow it.
If the system lets you save the mistaken transaction, review a lots in stock report, does it show, 1000 L of MILK in location MAIN lot L003 and 1000 L of MILK in location COOLER with LOO3? If so, your inventory has just doubled and this system will not help you with inventory or traceability. If it moved the 1000 L of Milk but allowed you to reassign the lot number to LOO3, run a lot history to be sure that the two lots are in fact linked should you have to recall lot L003.
If the system let you save that mistaken transaction, try now to edit the transfer to correct the lot number error. Does the system have editing capabilities and will it let you? If not, the only way to correct the above error is with a new transaction that moves L003 where you want it and another that involves a negative transaction (moving −5 units of LOO3). If your system allows these negative transactions, it could quickly create unclean and unusable traceability data.
Try another transfer to transfer more inventory (10 units) than you have in stock. For example, try to transfer 1500 L of MILK back from COOLER to MAIN. Does the system let you? If so, it is not controlling the inventory and your data could quickly become corrupted. You did not have 1500 L of MILK to complete the transfer. Put back this MILK into the COOLER location if the transaction did go through.
If the system did not let you make any of these mistaken transactions, transfer the 1000 L of L003 to the COOLER location.
Run a lots in stock report to ensure that 1000 L of MILK is now in the COOLER location.
8. Transfer SALT and CULTURE to rack/bin A1 within the warehouse MAIN. (if your system supports locations)
9. After you transfer your product to another location, edit the original inventory receipt and say that you have received less than you transferred above. Does the system let you do it?
We originally received 1 bag (10 kg) of SALT and 3 bags (30 kg) of CULTURE and 1000 L of MILK and then transferred those amounts of MILK from MAIN to COOLER and SALT and CULTURE from MAIN to slot location A1.
Now, attempt to edit the original receiving and say that we only received 950 L of MILK of lot L003.
If the system lets you make this change, save the transaction and look at the lots in stock report afterward. Does it now show 1000 L of MILK L003 and − 50 L of MILK L003 in stock or has it changed the original entry to 950 L? Is the 950 L still in the COOLER location?
If you cannot edit the receiving, try entering a new receiving for the −50 L of MILK using a new lot number, L004. Did the system let you save this transaction? If so, look again at the lots in stock report. If you had hundreds of receipts over the course of a week, how would you know that the L003 for 1000 L and L004 for −50 L were actually related transactions, where one transaction was attempting to fix the other?
Try another transaction where you receive −2500 L of lot L003. If the system lets you say that you received a negative quantity higher than the original positive quantity, the system is not verifying what was originally entered, but rather allowing you to enter any value, positive or negative. This could lead quickly to corrupted traceability data.
If costing is part of the system, run an inventory valuation report for warehouse COOLER to see if the edited receiving automatically updated. If it did not, can you edit the transfer to reflect the changed receiving?
Pick for Production Process 10. Run a requirements report to ensure that you have all the raw materials necessary to complete a production run to fulfill the work order we scheduled in step 3.
11. Many systems have First In, First Out lot suggestion capabilities to help with inventory rotation of raw materials. Others might have no such capabilities or have other options such as First to Expire. To understand the implications of any lot suggestion capabilities in your system, try this experiment.
Enter a new receiving for MILK with lot L005 with expiry date June 30, 2015.
Run a pick list for picking raw materials for your production. Because MILK in L005 was received after the MILK in L003, if FIFO is operating, the system should suggest you pick or use lot L003 before suggesting or using lot L005. However, if First to Expire is operating, it will suggest you pick and use lot L005 first.
Manufacturing Process 12. How is production recorded in the system? Is it entered at a work station/plant floor station or on a tablet or handheld computer? Does the process of recording finished goods made automatically deplete the raw materials that were used to make it?
Record that you made ten packages of CHEESE using lot CHE-060315 (Fig.
Do you have an option to print a label for the finished good? What kind of identifier can be on the label? A GS1-128 barcode including item, lot and date of production or expiry, a GTIN-14 (SCC), a GTIN-12 (UPC) or what combination of these?
Below is a GS1-128 which encodes the GTIN-14 for the item, the date of expiry of August 1, 2015 and lot number of CHE-060315 for this product:
GS1-128 Barcode encodes the GTIN-14 for the item, expiration date and lost number
Move your system forward one day (to June 4, 2015), as you will package the cheese into cases on a different day than it is produced. (to check the system’s abilities to manage production that extends across multiple days)
14. Run a requirements report to ensure that you have all of the CHEESE necessary to complete a packaging run to fulfill the sales order scheduled in step 1.
Pick the raw materials for this subsequent packaging process. Use the CHEESE barcode in step 13 as the interim product label.
16. Record the subsequent production of packaging of the CHEESE into CHEESECS:
Record that you made 5 cases of CHEESECS using CHECS-060415
Do you have an option to print a label for the finished good? What kind of identifier can be on the label--a GS1-128 barcode including item, lot and date of production or expiry, a GTIN-14 (SCC), a GTIN-12 (UPC) or what combination of these?
Below is a GS1-128 which encodes the item GTIN-14 (in the (01) segment, the date of expiry as August 1, 2015 (in the (17) segment) and the lot number it for this product as CHECS-060415 (in the (10) segment. If your system has scanning to ship, this barcode will allow you to scan the product going out (Fig.
GS1-128 Barcode encodes the GTIN-14 for the item, expiration date and lot number as CHEESECS
If costing is part of the system, run an inventory valuation report to look at the cost of CHEESECS to make sure it makes sense.
Run a lots in stock report to show that the stock of CHEESE has been depleted and CHEESECS is now in stock.
Shipping/Invoicing Process 17. Enter a shipment to ship the CHEESECS to the customer STORE that ordered it in step 1.
If keying this entry, can you adapt the shipment from sales order in step 1, so that it suggests you ship the full amount?
Does the system suggest which lot to pick based on FIFO or First to Expire?
If scanning to ship, use the label provided in step 16 of this script.
If you scan the wrong product (i.e. scan a GS1-128 raw material barcode from step 5 instead of your finished good GS1-128 barcode), does the system alert you it is the wrong item or let you pick that other product?
Does the system produce shipping documents like a bill of lading with the lot information on it?
18. Is the system EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) ready?
19. Enter an invoice for the shipment
Can you adapt the invoice from the shipment above?
Can you email or print the invoice from this system? If it is sending information to another system for invoicing, is the information available immediately for invoicing or do you have to wait for a batch process to complete it?
Can the system produce EDI invoices, or will you need to rekey the invoice information into a web portal?
20. Ensure that the finished good is no longer in stock.
21. Traceability Reporting Check
Run a traceability recall report for raw material CULTURE, lot L001. Does it show that L001 was used in making the CHEESE in lot CHE-060315 on June 3, 2015, which was subsequently used in making CHEESECS in lot CHECS-060415 on June 4, 2015 and that 10 cases went out to our customer STORE on June 4, 2015?
Run a traceability recall report for finished good CHEESECS lot CHECS-060415 to ensure it shows that 0 units of that lot are still remaining in stock, but that 10 units were shipped to STORE. Is it easy to get the STORE contact phone and email info so you can expedite the recall?
Is there a traceability report that shows everything that was made on a particular day (possibly even on a particular line on a particular day)? This report can be used if there is a problem with production such as a problem with a piece of equipment that contaminated all product going through that equipment. If you run that report for June 3, 2015, the date the CHEESE was made, does it show CHEESE having been produced but also alert you that there was subsequent production that took place the day following that also needs to be recalled as well (CHEESECS)?
You can adapt this script if you are selling catch weight products because in that situation, you will have a unique lot number or serial number for each case of each item, since a unique weight will be associated with that case.
Traceability information can be used for so many things beyond recall reporting, such as costing, EDI document preparation, and much more. The functionality of the tool you select to record this information and its ability to tie in to any other relevant systems will determine what benefits beyond traceability reporting are possible from the information being tracked. Take the time to understand the options and limitations to select the best system for your business.