Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 13 seconds

CPSCYour supply chain is in great shape. You have visibility with your suppliers and with your customers, and understand where orders are, and when issues arise you can spot the source and track it down. But when your products arrive, are you certain they meet all the safety and regulatory constraints that make them safe to sell? In 2013 alone there were 28 million product recalls. If you were involved with any of them you have a good idea what information you didn't have at your fingertips. Is there a better way to track and manage this sensitive information?


The reality is that there are virtually no standards to unite the various product safety tracking systems. Plenty of information is in spreadsheets, retained by the manufacturer, and in siloed REP and PLM systems. Matt Smith, cheif strategy officer at icix says, "Most supply chain participants have a blurry understanding of requirements so it's difficult to identify risks inherent in tier 2 and 3 suppliers." And much of the time testing results are included as paper documents inside the product packages. Even when the proper information is available, it may have  been provided by only one of the manufacturers along the product chain. This lack of complete information about who manufactured what part of the product from what source, and the results of testing can cause significant disruption when verification of the product's test results are needed.

Aside from the moral imperative to keep customers safe from harmful products, regulatory requirements from CPSC are in place to keep unsafe products off the shelves. But even if products have been tested and proven to be safe, if the documentation is not available at the right time and to the right sources, the products can be stuck in transit. And knowing where they are doesn't necessarily help to get them moved along.

The obvious answer to the dilemma is to make use of extended supply chain processes that include product safety test results in digital format - similar to standardized documents used for tracking orders and shipments. The process of collecting, normalizing, and making this information is already in place. In fact more than 90% of affected products and more than 80% of the labs that perform product testing are already onboard. This has been fueled by big customers who request data from the labs and that that data be provided via a centralized system.

The system that's being used is icix with over 20,000 active businesses already in its network, including the top 100 food processors and more than 50 testing labs, inspection companies and certification bodies.

I would be interested in your comments about what regulations and information tracking issues you face in your processes. Last modified on Wednesday, 30 July 2014
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