Focus on traceability in production environments

Mar 14, 2020 | Media

Traceability: What is it and how is it linked to the quality control of production environments? An introduction to this topic provided by the German-Romanian start-up NC Vision.



The risk of electric shock from the espresso machine, Notebook batteries that can catch fire, or defective airbags – companies that are affected by these horror scenarios usually have only one option: the recall of the defective product. In addition to health risks, sometimes even death, this entails billions of Euros in costs that can even drive some companies into bankruptcy.  Not to mention the huge loss of image among B2B and B2C customers.

Sadly, the Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata, gained notoriety a few years ago, for causing the largest and most complicated safety recall in U.S. history. The excessive triggering of the airbags caused uncontrolled explosions, so metal fragments of the cladding were thrown into the interior of the car. In the USA alone, more than 70 million vehicles from 19 manufacturers had to be recalled into workshops. At least 24 deaths and 300 injuries were attributed to the defective airbags. In the end, there was a damage of 10 billion, an admission of guilt for massive manufacturing errors and billions of dollars in fines for the  managers in charge – Takata went bankrupt in 2017. But even after being taken over by a Chinese-American automotive supplier, the problem is still virulent. At the end of 2019, hundreds of thousands of vehicles had to be recalled again. A targeted recall was impossible because they could not identify the faulty airbags quickly and unambiguously. Takata had failed to provide an efficient traceability solution. 

But are recalls of this magnitude avoidable? Is it possible to identify faulty products during the production process, sort them out selectively, increase transparency and ensure and even continuously improve quality without interruption? Of course, the founders of NC-Vision, a German – Romanian IT start-up, dedicated entirely to the topic of traceability, are convinced : “ We develop tailor-made traceability software solutions for manufacturing companies that provide efficient and accurate tracking at every point in the supply chain. As a result, the defective products are quickly identified, the cause of the fault is eliminated, the quality of the product is ensured and so is the confidence of the customer.

In global competition, manufacturing companies are forced to continually increase their efficiency and productivity, while at the same time reducing costs in order to maintain or optimize profitability. Customer confidence is increasingly becoming the most important currency for all industries. To achieve this, companies must be able to guarantee product quality at all times. Traceability software solutions offer an ideal tool in the quality management of a company. Often, they are even required by customers in the context of audits or, depending on the industry, required by law. In times of increasing globalization, complex production and supply chains with diverse products and various suppliers for customers, are the norm. This creates new challenges in terms of efficient traceability and elimination of mis production. Traceability is therefore increasingly becoming a strategic success factor, especially for Romanian companies, which as far as allied interconnected productions are concerned, they are in competition with other locations.

Despite the obvious advantages, many companies are still reluctant to use a modern traceability solution. Why? Klaus Heller, CEO of NC-Vision, comments: Obstacles are subject to different levels of complexity and risk, lack of resources, technological and organizational challenges, high international and external costs and a series of problems in ROI assessment. 

The cost factor is often prioritized over the benefit. With our traceability software solution, CATS, we address all of these problem areas and thus offer our customers a suitable solution. Interested parties can convince themselves of this in a free, tailor-made proof of concept. In the Proof of Concept we adapt CATS to the customer’s specific processes. The customer can then convince himself of the flexibility and performance of CATS within his own framework and specific operations’ conditions.