Tracing Chemicals: Prove Product Quality & Improve Your Bottom Line

December 10, 2019

Posted by Jack Payne

Aptean Ross ERP, Traceability

 

Pretend, if you will, your boss has asked you to write a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new business opportunity. If landed, this proposal could assure job stability, increased profits, and fatter paychecks. Knowing this, would you turn your work in without several spell-checks, thorough read-throughs, and edits?

Of course not. This is why it’s so shocking to see that many manufacturers fail to hold themselves to a similarly high standard. Many businesses have become lax when it comes to maintaining chemical quality records, which ensure their customers’ specifications are successfully being met.

Most chemical manufacturers trace the final product delivered to customers but don’t take into account “outbound traceability” – the complex process of monitoring raw materials as they transform into a sellable product. It may not be required, but it can put chemical manufacturers ahead of the competition – and build a better relationship between a business and its clients during each step of the supply chain process. If your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system allows you to connect the dots from inputs (raw chemicals) to outputs (finished goods), you’ve set yourself up for success.

Let’s take a closer look at the reasons why tracing chemicals as a method of quality control is a smart move for manufacturers.

Assuring full inventory visibility, quality, and traceability

Some manufacturers require chemical traceability all the way back to raw materials. The EPA only requires that companies maintain auditable records for their segment of the supply chain – highlighting the amount of material purchased, stored on-site, shipped, and used. The companies achieving chemical traceability through an electronic record-keeping platform have a strategic advantage.

Electronic visibility enables users to both view information at a high level and drill down into the minutia of their data. This helps them understand and track the supply-chain process from receipt of raw materials to interactions with the customers and all points in between.

Traceability is fundamentally linked to your credibility as a consistent supplier. The ability to verify the accuracy of information regarding your products supports your commitment to your customers.

Increasing customer loyalty and profit

One of our customers’ largest clients made an unannounced Monday-morning visit, requesting an on-the-spot audit. The client wanted to ensure its products were being made to its quality specifications, which included tracing the chemicals used in production.

Our customer’s supply chain manager brought up Aptean Ross ERP Trace Express, an online, graphical lot trace capability platform that provides omnidirectional visibility across the supply chain. The supply manager was easily able to prove to the customer that its quality requirements were met, as there were deep records of supplier receipts, shipments, and invoices.

The outcome? Our customer received additional, higher-margin business from its client because it could confirm, through sound record-keeping, that the client’s requests were adhered to.

Gaining a competitive advantage

During the past decade, there was little growth in the chemical manufacturing industry. However, market predictions indicate that the industry is going to soon see an upsurge. A recent Chemical & Engineering News article predicted that the United States will experience high demand for chemicals used in manufacturing and a rise in production capacity as new chemical facilities open in the very near future.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC), a trade group for chemical makers in the United States, projected the U.S. chemical output, excluding pharmaceuticals, will rise 3.6 percent in 2019, up from 3.1 percent in 2018.

How can you compete against manufacturers who produce similar products as your company? How do you stand out in a crowd? Your level of visibility into chemical quality could become the deciding factor. This kind of visibility shows you stand behind the materials going into your products.

Counting the benefits of a traceability solution

The EPA, the industry, and your customers may not require chemical traceability in the products you make. But don’t let the bare minimum be your guiding principle. Investing in outbound traceability improves your company’s credibility, enables it to meet or exceed compliance, and provides it a competitive advantage in a growing market.