Why batch tracking is so important for food manufacturing and how to do it

28 Sep 2022

Whether you’re trying to improve your transparency for consumers, reduce product recalls, or simply boost your supply chain visibility, batch tracking can help. This tool is a staple of the manufacturing industry, and in this post, we’ll take a look at what it is, why it’s important, and how you can implement it effectively. 

What is batch tracking?

For those who don’t know, batch tracking is tracking individual groups of products that your business manufactures. 

For instance, say you release a product for one month only. Since that month’s product will be produced using the same materials, conditions, and equipment for each item, it qualifies as a batch. If you decide to make more the next month due to high sales, the next month’s group would be the second batch. 

Batch tracking is the process of keeping up with these batches. It lets you know that everything made in that batch was exposed to the same things, made from the same ingredients, and produced under the same conditions. So if it’s a great batch, you can easily pinpoint why. And if it wasn’t, you know what to change. 

Why is batch tracking important in food manufacturing?

In food manufacturing, batch tracking is extremely important. It is helpful in compliance, traceability, waste management, and other areas. Here’s a quick breakdown of why batch tracking matters to your business. 

Easily comply with regulations

Batch tracking makes it easy to comply with regulations. Regulations are an important aspect of any manufacturing sector, but doubly so in food manufacturing due to allergens, ingredients, and other complicating factors. 

By dividing your production into batches, you can more easily pinpoint problems, provide data for regulatory compliance, and otherwise stay on top of your local regulations. 

In other words, batch tracking is a great way to keep up with data points associated with your product on a smaller scale. This allows you to remain accurate, adaptable, and congruent with current and future regulations. 

Improve your traceability

Another way that batch tracking can be crucial to your food manufacturing business is that it can improve your traceability efforts

By focusing on batches rather than your entire production floor, you can better spot where each product came from, how it was produced, and what went into it. This is key for things like keeping track of allergens, recipes, and so on. 

Additionally, batch tracking can be combined with numbers and labels. This way, you can also enter each batch into a digital system, giving you a complete and data-powered production history. 

Reduce waste and prevent product recalls

Interestingly, working in smaller batches can also help you reduce your waste. This allows you to focus more on each batch and take measurable steps toward streamlining your processes. 

Not to mention that you can also reduce waste with batch tracking by preventing and minimising product recalls. You’ll be able to pinpoint which products have been spoiled selection, reducing the amount of product that needs to be thrown out. 

Improve your inventory management

You can use batch tracking to improve your inventory management. You can produce in smaller amounts, be more precise about how much product you carry, and restock only what you need and when you need to. Plus, when you need to look back over your production history, you’ll have a more organised view to cover. 

How to create a robust batch tracking system

Now that you know what batch tracking is and why it’s essential, let’s cover how to implement it. After all, it’s hard to enjoy the perks of batch tracking if you don’t know how to implement it in a robust, effective way. 

Use batch numbers

First, you’ll want to use batch numbers. While this is a seemingly small suggestion, batch numbers can go a long way toward achieving the benefits we just covered. 

Batch numbers help your production floor quickly identify which products were created when, where, and under what conditions. This makes responding to incidents and inquiries faster and is excellent for inventory management. 

Use smart equipment

Smart equipment like IoT sensors and devices and barcode scanners that integrate with your inventory management system are a great way to streamline and automate your batch tracking. 

Smart equipment helps you automatically gather data, reduce human error, and gives you real-time visibility over your entire production process — making it much easier to pinpoint any issues that might arise. 

Link your sales and orders to raw materials

You can also improve your batch tracking by linking your sales and orders to raw materials. Smart equipment and software can make this step that much more effective, which is something to consider. 

Linking your sales to raw materials through batch tracking will help you better visualize the journey from your supply chain to your customers. You’ll be able to hold a more accurate materials inventory, saving resources and preventing unused storage space. And if you need to issue a product recall, you can easily pinpoint which batches went to which customers to make your recall process quicker and easier. 

Workhorse can help with your batch tracking needs

When it comes to batch tracking, it’s crucial to know that you aren’t alone. There are plenty of cutting-edge tools out there that will help you get the job done. 

Workhorse is an inventory management system designed for manufacturers. It’s configurable, so you only pay for the features you need. 

This means that you can pick and choose the Workhorse features that are going to help you implement a powerful batch tracking system without adding in a tonne of features that you won’t ever use. 

And with everything in one easy-to-use dashboard, you can get an overview of your entire production line and all the batches you produce — keeping you informed during production and prepared in case anything does go wrong. 

To learn more, reach out to Workhorse today for a demo!

Ready to transform your inventory management?

Ditch the spreadsheets and provide your team with the tools they need to make better inventory decisions.