Importance of Lot Trace Systems in Manufacturing Execution Systems

‘Lot trace’ in the auto industry became a hot topic back in 2000 when government regulation in the form of the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act passed into law. The law demands part-level visibility in the supply chain and was brought about as a response to the Ford-Firestone sport utility tire controversy.

In the case of the Ford-Firestone incidents, failures all involved tread separation – the tread peeling off followed often by tire disintegration. If that happened when the vehicle was running above a certain speed, there was a high likelihood of the vehicle leaving the road and rolling over. Many rollovers caused serious injury and even death; it was estimated that over 250 deaths and more than 3,000 serious injuries resulted from these failures.

While the initial cost to auto manufactures to implement part traceability was a daunting financial and time-consuming task, one could argue the gains in supply chain efficiencies and the ability to isolate a problem and quickly respond to warranty claims and recalls have had a substantial long term savings impact. Outside of the realm of the auto industry, other manufactures could benefit from implementing lot trace applications. Return on investment includes product quality assurance and supply chain visibility and accountability.


In fact, there is a new food safety law known as the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of food safety regulation in many decades, which will be impacting food manufacturers in the same way the auto manufacturers were impacted back in 2000. History repeated itself here. Similar to the Ford-Firestone incidents, the 2009 recall of peanut products from Peanut Corporation of America was the catalyst for the new food industry regulations. Besides the human cost with nine deaths and hundreds that became sick after eating the contaminated peanut products, there are reports the financial losses have topped $1 billion.

A lot traceability system enables a manufacturer to automate the tracking of the composition of their product through the entire production process. From the purchased lots from suppliers to finished product shipped to the customer. Essentially, a Lot Trace System (LTS) creates an accurate genealogy of the products composition.

Patti Engineering collaborates with clients on system architecture and data structure requirements for their manufacturing execution system (MES) applications operating in the space between the front office information technology (IT) and plant floor operations. The Lot Trace System application is just one part of the overall manufacturing execution system which we customize to provide our clients with the manufacturing and production intelligence needed to translate manufacturing data into actionable intelligence for decision makers.