Packaging Traceability: what it is and why it’s more important than ever!

Even in normal times packaging traceability is incredibly important, doubly-so for food and pharma packaging.

But if there’s one thing the current COVID pandemic has made clear for everyone, it’s how fast and far both Humans and our materials travel. This is no different for specialized packaging: we often source specialty raw materials from all over the world, turn this in specialty packaging here in The Netherlands, and then supply it to A-grade product producers all over the world.

Supply-chain responsibilities

When your supply-chain travels as far and frequently as illustrated above, it’s important to work responsibly. With many of our core customers consisting of conserved fruit producers, even normally traceability is of utmost importance for us.

In the theoretical case of a material- or production deficit you’d be talking about serious monetary and health-related consequences. In this unfortunate event product recalls are necessary, and ideally you’d want to tackle these as fast and efficiently as possible.

If for example the raw material was the cause, you’d need to be able to isolate the material used, the production runs it was used in, and thus the finished products that contain it.

Packaging traceability in practice

The theoretical situation of the previous paragraph is but one example of a traceability example. It can be just as relevant when it’s not your material that has a defect, but when you realize that production run made a mistake, or when a certain machine had issues that only crystallizes on a very specific type of material.

In other words: you need to be able to account for all kinds of situations, and ‘filter’ on all kinds of variables. Some examples of these traceable variables are:

  • Production shifts
  • Raw materials (on a reel by reel basis and pér film)
  • Curing metrics (temperature, length, etc).

Why it’s more important than ever

So we can hear you thinking “okay, that does sound pretty important. But how does this tie into the ‘now’ ?”. And that’s a great question! With COVID-19 surviving on plastics for up to 3 days the chance of it reaching our production lines is nonexistent. After that we can still add weeks for production and transport back. So customers can trust production related infections to be long gone by the time the package hits the shelves.

Of course, no matter how theoretical it might be, we’re still not taking any chances. And that’s why a proper traceability is so helpful during a pandemic. Should we ever worry about a certain subset of produced material, we can trace it back from many different angles. While perhaps overkill for COVID, we’d rather be safe than sorry!

Want to stay in touch with LPF? Follow our LinkedIn and Twitter!
We not only share our news and blogs on there, we also like to share other interesting industry news.
ps. also keep an eye on our YouTube channel, where we like to give small sneak peaks at our machinepark!