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This is the second blog in a series of 4 blogs concerning the topic of Integrated Quality Assurance.

Imagine the following scenario. A chemical company produces power cleaners with a mixture of hazardous and nonhazardous solvents. Customers, who purchase these cleaners at do-it-yourself stores, have noticed a leak in the packaging and have started to complain. The chemical company, with a Quality Issue Management system in place, has successfully noticed the issue and starts an investigation. The investigation report discovers that all complaints refer back to the same batch number. To find out where the issue started, a genealogy of the batch is investigated using the Global Batch Traceability system. The system eventually figures out that the caps on the bottles aren’t properly secured and are causing the bottles to leak. Because the bottles contain hazardous solvents, the company wants makes sure this packaging issue hasn’t impacted any other batches. If any other batches were impacted the company will have to initiate a product recall, which thanks to item serialization and product traceability can easily be done.

Without the integration of product traceability and item serialization the power cleaner chemical company would have had a tough time pinpointing the exact location of corrupted products. The SAP software used allowed the company to program product tags on GS1 EPCIS standards (translates raw ID reads into the business context) and track its products not only across multiple systems, but also on an item or aggregate level. This allows for full transparency along the supply chain for an increase in accuracy and speed in shipping, receiving, and handling operations which ultimately improves customer satisfaction.

By connecting product traceability to mobile applications, chemical companies can also monitor and track their products in real-time anywhere, anytime, and on any device. Companies can then grant customers access to this data, creating an invaluable customer-company relationship. With a 26% higher inventory turn in companies where the latest technology tools are used, this creates substantial revenue and decreases inventory costs.

With continually expanding global supply chains the room for counterfeit products has also become a serious problem. In a world dominated by brand image, this has become a critical problem for companies. To counter this, countries have started using serialized traceability directives. With value-chain traceability, supported by auto-ID technology, companies are able to pinpoint the exact location of batch products after shipment. This allows companies to accurately answer any questions of counterfeit products and ensure customers are getting their products. Using this technology not only reduces costs for the company, but also eases concerns among consumers.

Ensuring and maintaining a high reputation quality in the chemical industry is key. What are your thoughts on product traceability and item serialization as it applies to the chemicals industry? Be sure to check back for the rest of the blogs being released in this series.

Quality by Design- http://scn.sap.com/community/chemicals/blog/2013/07/25/achieving-quality-excellence-while-reducing-costs–quality-by-design

Quality Operations- http://scn.sap.com/community/chemicals/blog/2013/08/05/achieving-quality-excellence-while-reducing-costs–quality-operations
Product Genealogy- http://scn.sap.com/community/chemicals/blog/2013/08/13/achieving-quality-excellence-while-reducing-costs–product-genealogy

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