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How to get started with implementing item-level traceability for your products

The imperative of traceability in your industry

Driving sustainability through traceability
Leveraging digital identification technology like RFID, and a connected product cloud like, traceability allows you to monitor your entire supply chain

In an era where supply chain visibility is no longer a luxury but a necessity, the importance of traceability can't be overstated. As we've explored in previous articles, the modern market is fraught with disruptions, making it imperative for businesses to adopt sustainable supply chains that can adapt to regulatory requirements. Consumers are more informed than ever, demanding supply chain transparency that extends from the procurement of inputs to the delivery of the finished product, and beyond, perhaps tracking the circular chain of recycled content as well. They're keen to understand the emissions associated with their purchases and how their choices impact the ecosystem at large.

This is where item-level traceability comes in; a cornerstone in the digital transformation of supply chain management systems, Leveraging digital identification technology like RFID, and a connected product cloud like, traceability allows you to monitor your entire supply chain, right down to individual products.

The business case for sustainability
Traceability isn't just about meeting consumer demands and tracking.

This isn’t just about meeting consumer demands; it's about optimizing labor and supply chain efficiency, reducing waste, advancing sustainability, circularity and transparency, helping brands and consumers better connect, ensuring compliance, and building resilient systems that can withstand shortages and disruptions.

But traceability isn't just about tracking, either: it's about data management and optimization leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

With the right management systems, you can collect invaluable data.

With the right management systems, you can collect invaluable data that can be analyzed for insights into consumer behavior and supply chain efficiencies. This data can also be shared with supply chain partners, creating a more cohesive and responsive ecosystem. Automation plays a key role here, allowing for real-time adjustments that can mitigate the impact of disruptions and ensure a more sustainable supply chain.

By the end of this article, you'll understand why choosing the right system and the right partner for implementing traceability at scale is crucial, how to pilot test solutions, and why could be the perfect fit for your needs.

Six steps for getting started

1 - Assess the need for traceability

Firstly, it’s wise to identify the pressing business challenges that traceability can help you address.

Before diving into the implementation, you’ll want to assess the specific needs and challenges your organization faces. Are you struggling with counterfeit products? Is there a lack of transparency that's affecting consumer trust? Are you struggling with shrinkage and loss due to the lack of visibility of your products? Or perhaps you're facing regulatory pressures to disclose more information about your products. Understanding these issues will help you tailor your traceability system to address them effectively.

2 - Choose the right systems and partners

Implementing a traceability system is not just about the technology; it's also about finding the right partner who understands your industry, challenges, and objectives. A wrong choice can lead to costly mistakes, delays, and a system that doesn't align with your needs. So it is critical to choose a partner who can offer a scalable solution, expert advice, ongoing support, and service the different geographies you work in.

Take a look at their track record and case studies, too. This will show their experience helping other companies in your industry.

3 - Pilot test: evaluate the results for fine-tuning

Before going all-in, it's advisable to run a pilot test. This might involve implementing the traceability system on a smaller scale, perhaps for a single product line or within a specific department. The aim would be to evaluate its effectiveness, ease of use, and potential return on investment (ROI). The insights gained from this phase will be invaluable for fine-tuning the system before a full-scale rollout.

4 - Develop an implementation plan for scale-up

Once the pilot phase has proven successful, the next step is to develop a comprehensive implementation plan. This should outline the timeline, budget, resources needed, and KPIs to monitor. It's also the stage where you'll decide on the data points or events to be tracked, the training required for staff, and how the system will integrate with existing processes and technology. Your chosen partner should be able to advise on this part of the process. For global operations, you’d want the partner to be able to scale it and also support and facilitate across geographies.

5 - Monitor and optimize

The journey doesn’t end once you’ve rolled it out.

After the system is up and running, continuous monitoring is essential. This involves tracking the KPIs set out in your implementation plan and making the necessary adjustments. Whether it's tweaking the data points, improving user training, or upgrading the system for new capabilities, ongoing optimization will make sure that you're getting the most out of your investment.

6 - Promote adoption: internal and external strategies

For a traceability system to be effective, it needs to be widely adopted – both within your organization and by your customers. Internally, this may involve change management, training sessions, user guides, and incentives. Externally, it's about educating your customers on how to interact with the connected products, digital triggers, and the benefits they'll gain, such as greater transparency and personalized experiences.

Why the competitive edge in traceability

Avery Dennison’s offers a unique blend of scalability, flexibility, and expertise.

When it comes to implementing a traceability system, Avery Dennison’s connected product cloud offers a unique blend of scalability, flexibility, and expertise. The platform not only provides the technology to track every item at every stage of its life cycle but also offers analytics and reporting tools for gaining actionable insights. With a proven track record in various industries and a focus on sustainability and transparency, is the partner you need to take your consumer engagement to the next level.

Ready to embark on this transformative journey? Book a free demo with to explore how item-level traceability can revolutionize your business.


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