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Looking for input on redesigning how we do lot code tracing and product identification


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amberlyda

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 10:02 PM

Hello, I work for a rapidly growing baking company.  I need to redesign how we do lot code tracing, product ID etc.  Right now we receive goods and get a COA etc when the truck of raw products gets delivered.  Some pallets are mixed lot codes and some arent.  Our massive breakdown in our lot code system is from dock to dock.  When mixers are putting ingredients into the bowl they are not always writing down the right lot code on all the ingredients they are putting into the bowl. Some of this has to do with increasing production and the speed they are working out (one mixer can mix 55 bowls a day on a busy day).  Sometimes they assume that all the lot codes are the same on a pallet.  We are constantly reminding them to check off ingredients and lot codes but we are still finding daily mistakes.  I was thinking of developing an internal lot coding system that would integrate a scanner etc to take out some of the human error on the floor.  For example a shipment of flour would come in on a truck and we would have 3 lot codes A,B,C per the vendors COA and shipment records.  We would then group those lot codes into a single lot code "D".  So lot codes A. B, C would just be D while in the building until it ships.  I would build scanner systems and QR codes that would match D so the mixers would just need to scan bags before they put them in resulting in less error.  Now I know this would result in a larger recall if we were to find out lot A was corrupted, we would have to recall D which would be all 3 lot codes of flour.

I have seen things like this implemented in other places, but i havent talked to anyone who has actually built this.  This is also my first time being in charge of an SQF facility and this next year we are going to surpass the 10million dollar mark so I have some more stuff to do with the FDA paperwork. Does anyone do anything like this?  Does anyone know where I can get a breakdown of how to start building this



chris@crepecuisine

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Posted 17 December 2020 - 12:03 PM

Hi Amberlyda,

 

We are a bakery and we use the Stevens Traceability Recipe Formulation System, there are others of course SGSystems for example.

 

I've attached the relevant SOP's so you can see how we do it, which is very similar to what you are suggesting.

 

Hope this helps



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AmeliaJacobs

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Posted 17 December 2020 - 02:45 PM

Chris has posted a lovely, thorough document.

 

I would say that we do something similar, wherein we essentially give the product our own lot number.

 

I work in a freeze dryer, so we bring in truckloads of frozen produce with 1-13 lot numbers from the supplier and convert those to 1 lot number per truckload. 

The way to do this is to have a system that records all of the supplier lot numbers and a way to label all of your lot codes onto it.

 

For example:

if I have 600kg of strawberries with the supplier lots 3819A, 300kg labeled 3829A, 400kg labeled 3839A on a truckload, I would store that data and assign it lot code 11098 for 1300kg of strawberries and label the pallets 11098. 

As we input the product, we'll document that we used our lot, 11098.

 

Then, if I have an issue later with the strawberries labeled 11098, I can go back to the supplier and say, we received this truckload on 11/15/20, under PO 11098, it contained 600kg of strawberries with lots 3819A, 300kg labeled 3829A, 400kg labeled 3839A and while processing, we found a piece of plastic in a box. They'll want more details, but it's definitely traceable. 

 

Conversely, if the supplier recalls 3829A, I will be able to find that that's become part of lot 11098 and can recall or dispose of all of 11098, 

 

A word of caution, as I can no longer pick out which bits are 3829A and which are the other lots, I will have to address ALL of 11098, causing me to potentially recall or dispose of more product than I would've had to otherwise. It is definitely a cost/benefit analysis on how you size your lots as well as understanding how the supplier provides them. And as the extensive document shared by Chris states, it is also affected by expiration dates. If your supplier provides, as in the previous example, 3 lots with different expirations, and you want to label them as one, you'll have to use the earliest expiration. 

 

Hope that helps. 



amberlyda

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Posted 17 December 2020 - 04:11 PM

Thank you so much.  This is exactly what im trying to develop.  Unfortunately my boss is not willing to spend the money for an integrated system, so i have to build it myself.  Totally doable, but this is going to be a process.  I would rather recall more material (cross our fingers in 30 years we have never had a recall) and be able to trace it than continue what we are currently doing



pHruit

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Posted 17 December 2020 - 05:30 PM

Are you currently using any ERP/MRP software?

If so, it may be worth chatting to your provider - you mentioned scanners, and some of the solutions integrate very nicely with these. I've seen solutions where e.g. the scanner is linked to scales and mixers, so the lot code is scanned in at the point of use, the scales tell your system how much of the batch has been used, and that it has gone into a particular batch that then follows through the manufacturing process automatically to the output and on to sales allocations, dispatches etc. Removes a lot of opportunities for error, but can be costly if you don't already have software that can cope with it. Nonetheless it may be worth looking at.



amberlyda

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Posted 17 December 2020 - 06:55 PM

Are you currently using any ERP/MRP software?

If so, it may be worth chatting to your provider - you mentioned scanners, and some of the solutions integrate very nicely with these. I've seen solutions where e.g. the scanner is linked to scales and mixers, so the lot code is scanned in at the point of use, the scales tell your system how much of the batch has been used, and that it has gone into a particular batch that then follows through the manufacturing process automatically to the output and on to sales allocations, dispatches etc. Removes a lot of opportunities for error, but can be costly if you don't already have software that can cope with it. Nonetheless it may be worth looking at.

we are just now moving away from quickbooks and going to an ERP system. I have looked at several scale integration systems and they are wonderful.  I just dont know that we would be able to do that at the moment.  They were a bit pricy and we have to put the company money into machinery that can keep up with the demand.  I can generate QR codes and barcodes etc so our mixers can scan the information and it would be in a digital format.  The down side is that we would still need someone to do the data entry, but it would at least be a step in the right direction.  Its hard we are growing but not there.  Our current systems have to be completely revamped, and right now i have to create them from scratch until we can get a fully integrated system.






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