This white paper is intended for small and mid-sized manufacturers of food, pharmaceutical, and medical supplies, as well as other industrial organizations that are required to maintain materials traceability history records.
These organizations are increasingly being required by their customers to electronically exchange materials traceability data, often in complex formats such as GS1 EPCIS, with upstream and downstream supply chain partners.
As a result, many of these organizations are looking to transition from capturing their materials traceability records on paper forms and Excel spreadsheets to buying an ERP system.
What they find (hopefully before they buy or subscribe) is that ERP systems do not support materials traceability beyond rudimentary lot number traceability.
The reason for this is that all these systems (even those costing a million dollars or more) track the quantity of inventory at a location, rather than tracking containers of material or individually serialized items, along with their lot numbers and expiration dates.
The reason for this is that ERP systems are basically accounting systems at their core which, for financial purposes, require tracking the quantity of materials and their unit value, rather than tracking containers of material.
In this white paper these ERP systems (along with associated traditional inventory tracking and warehouse management systems) are referred to as Item Locator systems to differentiate them from Container-based tracking systems.
Container-based traceability is what is used by FedEx, UPS, and Amazon. It is what is required by the GS1 standard for tracking materials in the supply chain and is the basis of materials traceability standards of US Government agencies such as the FDA, USDA, DOT, and the DOD as well as ISO standards, where appropriate.
In this white paper the authors look at using a container-based materials traceability software, such as KnarrTek's BellHawk with accounting systems such as QuickBooks Enterprise or ERP systems, such as NetSuite, to achieve an integrated "ERP" environment that supports capturing materials traceability data without the need to perform duplicate data entry into both systems.