In this article we address new ways-of-working with traceability management by comparing digital traceability to traditional and manual traceability management. The purpose is to provide a deeper understanding of the benefits, and how you can improve productivity, reduce risk, and generate actionable insights with a more data-driven traceability management.

The shift towards Industry 4.0 is accelerating. Within quality and traceability management there is great potential as new information and communication technologies evolves in a speed we have never seen before. But a lack of understanding of what the differences are between digital, and more traditional traceability management often gets in the way of transformation.

So, what are the differences? And why is it important to explore what impact new digital tools have on traceability management?

The main differences between digital and traditional traceability management are the methods used to collect, analyse, and disseminate information throughout the supply chain. Digital traceability management offers several advantages over traditional methods, whereas a greater accuracy, transparency and visibility, flexibility and scalability are some of most important gains, and drivers for change.

Here we elaborate on some key differences between digital and traditional traceability management:

1.       Speed and efficiency – Digital traceability management is typically faster and more efficient than traditional methods, as it allows real-time tracking and data sharing across multiple systems and sources. This can help reduce the time and effort required to track products and respond to issues.

2.       Accuracy and completeness – Digital traceability systems can offer organizations the ability of validation at scale by presenting more accurate, complete, and dynamic data, as the system automatically capture, record, and check required product information like bill of material (BOM), lot numbers, dates etc. In a digital traceability solution, you can also search for specific data on different levels of detail, visualize, and get a better overview and control that everything is correct and on track.

3.       Transparency and visibility– The transparency and visibility of your supply chain is greater in a digital traceability system, with real-time tracking and monitoring of all products. This increases trust and confidence among stakeholders, as they can easily access and verify information about products. In addition, this is often a strong and appreciated enabler in the collaboration with both internal and external stakeholders.

4.       Data collection – Traditional traceability management often relies on manual routines like record-keeping on paper, Excel, or PDF document management, whereas digital traceability management can provide more efficient, secure, and automated management. This also enables a better transmission and tracking of detailed information along the supply chain.

5.       Flexibility and scalability– With a digital traceability solution you can be more flexible and scale your traceability management. In traditional, more manual routines, you are often dependent on limited manual resources and time. A digital way-of-working can easily be adapted and expanded to accommodate changing business or customer needs, as well as new regulatory requirements.

6.       Accessibility – Remote access to data and information, is another appreciated benefit of digital traceability management, as it allows you to track and manage the supply chain information easier, from wherever and whenever you need. Traditional traceability management more often requires physical access to documents and/or information, limiting accessibility.

7.       Data dissemination – Digital traceability management based on cloud-based platforms and other digital tools allows real-time data sharing across the supply chain. This enables faster, more accurate decision-making and greater possibilities to collaboration with both suppliers and customers along the supply chain. With a more traditional traceability management there are usually more physical, less efficient sharing of documents, and periodic information.

Traceability demand is increasing

As demand for traceability increases, businesses of all sizes are faced with the challenge of efficiently track and trace data, collaborate to share it, and leverage the value that a new more reliable data sets may possess.

Today a rising number of manufacturing companies are transforming with the aim to communicate their quality and sustainability efforts, and make the information available to their customers by using more digital traceability and collaborations tools. Enabling efficient and secure ways of sharing quality and sustainability data with every product transaction, can empower companies along the supply chains to improve collaboration, increase transparency and strengthen their offerings.


Are you interested in knowing more about how you could digitalize your traceability management, and what the benefits could be for you company? At ChainTraced we are helping our customers to address different types of traceability challenges, within both product quality and sustainability. Read more about how supply chain traceability can empower security, efficiency, and collaboration within Quality Management.

Read more about Traceability for Quality Management

Daniel Eriksson Pitt

Chief Commercial Officer
Daniel has extensive experience from the B2B Business Application space as Strategy & Business development lead as well as Digital Advisor. He is passionate about desirable and viable digital business solutions that realizes value.