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Shipping lot traceability accuracy

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matthewcc

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Posted 05 July 2023 - 04:14 PM

Hello all,

 

We are working with our shipping and inventory folks to get everyone to understand the importance of shipping lot traceability accuracy.  (We have SQF food safety, NSF GMP (dietary supplement), Oregon Tilth (certified organic) and Demeter (biodynamic certifications.)  The issue is that we are seeing patterns of where we accidentally ship some quantity of product, recording it in our enterprise resource planning (ERP) software as shipping one lot number, but it is actually a different lot number.  As you can imagine, this is available to happen when we have two lot numbers available simultaneously because the older one is about to finish and the newer one was just produced.

 

We discover the discrepancy when we do a physical inventory or reach the end of a lot and find that the quantity that we think we have in our ERP does not match the physical reality.  Then, we go and correct the quantities in our ERP.  (Another aspect of this is that I have made the case that any quantity that we "discover" in this way cannot go straight into 'released' status but rather quality control first needs to evaluate it and make sure it is good to release it, for reasons of food fraud mitigation, etc.)  When shipping picks lots, they have someone else double-check the lot accuracy, and in some cases we do triple-checks, but clearly this does not catch all mistakes.  We still need to determine root cause(s) of why the discrepancies happen.

 

My concern is that if we had to recall a lot, then we would have to recall not just the lot in question but possibly the one before and the one after due to the inability to know where our product lot quantities go with complete accuracy. 

 

Also, for our NSF GMP certification, we need to have traceability exercises meet acceptability criteria of 99.5% to 101.5% recovery.  Sometimes we are at 100% and most of the time we are within that range, but on at least one occasion we were below 99.5% (actual 98.3%) because of a shipping lot number discrepancy.

 

What would you say in response to someone who questions why this is important and why we do not need perfection, but we need to investigate the root causes for the discrepancies to make it as accurate as possible?  Also, what certification or regulatory reasons would you cite?

 

Thank you,

Matthew



Scampi

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Posted 05 July 2023 - 04:19 PM

You don't have barcodes on pallets of finished goods to scan them into an order and out of inventory?


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matthewcc

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Posted 05 July 2023 - 04:46 PM

Yes, we have lot-specific barcodes that QC places on pallets of finished goods when they get released.  However, we remove those when we put away the pallets on the released finished good shelves.  We also have a 'quick-pick' area where we have individual cases so shipping can grab a small number of bottles, but there, too, we do not have the lot-specific barcodes.



Scampi

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Posted 05 July 2023 - 04:55 PM

The long term solution is to implement lot specific bar codes

 

If you remove the release barcode---how are the pickers 100% the lot they chose has been released?

 

Probably the best way to explain the importance is to show them how much extra it will cost if you have to recall AND dispose of extra product due to improper record keeping


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matthewcc

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Posted 05 July 2023 - 06:23 PM

The long term solution is to implement lot specific bar codes

 

If you remove the release barcode---how are the pickers 100% the lot they chose has been released?

 

Probably the best way to explain the importance is to show them how much extra it will cost if you have to recall AND dispose of extra product due to improper record keeping

 

It cannot be moved out of the finished good quarantine area if it does not have the release barcode, so once it is moved out of there, it is considered released and available to put on the shelves. The pickers have a second person double-check (and sometimes another person triple-check) their work against the lot that is released and available for sale.





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