Traceability for Sausage Manufacturing

Traceability is critical in the North American sausage manufacturing marketplace.  Retailers expect accurate, less paper based traceability and consumers have matured to expect robust systems for tracking and tracing ingredients through the manufacturing and rework process.  As more rigorous traceability requirements are mandated by Regulatory Bodies (FDA, USDA) to further elevate food safety controls (FSMA and Title III of the Biot)…..  Food Safety Standards Owners (GFSIBRCSQF, FSSC22000) and Certification Bodies (NSF, SGS, AIB, etc.) are/ have incorporated these more exacting traceability requirements.

This white paper explains how advancements in technology allow Surgical Traceability for Sausage Manufacturers to assist in recalls.  Recalls that exceeds ‘one up, one down’ traceability and provide visibility throughout the entire sausage manufacturing process – from the receiving of raw materials to the shipping of the finished product.


1  Inventory Management

1a  Receiving
1b  QA Questions
1c  Relocation/Adjustments

2  Production & Scheduling

2a  Scheduling
2b  Recipe Formulation
2c  Batching
2d  Collation
2e  Rework

3  Finished Product Creation

4  Sales Order Processing & Shipping

5  Tracking & Tracing

The networked traceability solution communicates in real-time to ensure accurate traceability information is available on demand, without unnecessary delays.

Surgical Traceability for Sausage Manufacturers – The Solution

The Matrix Controls’ solution is a unique combination of software and hardware designed to bridge the gap between the management level and the shop floor operations (See Matrix Controls modules Receiving, Spice Weighing, Meat Weighing, Collation, Finished Product Labeling and Sales Order Fulfillment).

1 – Inventory Management

1a Receiving

Effective and complete traceability begins at the Receiving Dock.   Each raw material that is received into the system (pallet or case level) will be identified with a unique internal lot code using a Desktop or Mobile PC. Receive the inventory by selecting (from a drop down menu) a Supplier and the Inventory Item (This information can also be imported from your existing ERP/Accounting Software – see ERP Integration).  Enter any variable information such as Supplier Lot Number, expiration date and quantity received.  A printed label will be placed on the received product and the inventory levels will be updated in real-time.

1b Q/A Questions

Mandatory QA questions can be commodity specific or can be more broadly based.  The responses of the receiving clerk will be captured and provided in a report for future reference.  Questions include information related to Supplier, COA, Allergen, Driver and Vehicle Inspection.

1c Relocation/Adjustments

Periodically, the need to move stock from one internal location to another will arise.  By simply scanning the lot code, choose the new location and print labels as required.  The same is true for any inventory adjustments that are made.  Additionally, by listing a reason why the move/adjustment was made, the management team can immediately know why the action took place, as well as who the operator was and when it occurred.

2 Production & Scheduling

2a Scheduling

A powerful scheduling tool allows the user to expeditiously schedule all of the related sub-mix components of a master recipe – in one single step.  The streamlined process will also allow the user to schedule the number of required batches (of the master recipe) and then systematically push the various sub-mix recipes to each of the respective production area terminals at which they’re produced.  For example, the seasoning blend recipes are only viewed and batched at the workstation that is located in the Seasoning Area.  Or, for a more efficient process, you can automatically import the Production Schedule from the ERP/Accounting Software (see ERP Interface page).  Some of the key importing data would consist of Job Number, Production Location, Number of Batches, Status and also the BOMs with the respective Target Weights and Tolerances.

2b Recipe Formulation

The system allows management personnel to enter and determine the exact recipe characteristics, including individual ingredient tolerances and how the products are added.  For instance, recipes may be a mixture of weighed spices and bulky meat based ingredients – both of which are weighed to tight tolerances (enforced by the system) to produce a consistent taste and texture to the sausage.

2c Batching

By placing a recipe control system in each of the batching areas, you’re able to ensure that each recipe is batched up correctly.  The system ensures each weighed ingredient has enforced +/- tolerances, preventing recipe completion until all ingredients are weighed within the specs.  The system will ensure that your inventory is rotated correctly by applying FEFO/FIFO rules, as well as provide real-time inventory usage and eliminate costly manual traceability paperwork.

2d Collaton

A collation terminal and barcode scanner is positioned at the mixer and is used to combine the seasoning blend (batch #123) with the 90% pork & 10% beef meat recipe (batch #456).  It will validate that the correct sub-mix recipes are being used, as well as ensure that they have not expired.  Prior to the collated meat/seasoning mixture being stuffed into the casings, the user will select the respective lot number of the casings for traceability purposes.  At this point, a new batch number is created (batch #789) and the inventory has been updated in real-time.  Thereafter, the stuffed casings can be placed on the racks and then moved to the smoker.

2e Rework

The process of adding rework can be conveniently managed at the production floor terminal by simply receiving the rework into the inventory.  Once the rework has been received and labeled, it can be consumed AND tracked with reference back to the original batch that was used to create the rework.

3 Finished Product

Once the final product has been cooked and packaged, the finished boxed product is weighed to ensure weight tolerances are adhered to (if required) and then labeled.  The system can capture both fixed and catch weight-based products and ultimately allow for the finished product inventory to be  updated and provide real-time visibility of exactly how many finished products have been produced.  The inventory of the corresponding packaging items is also updated within the Management Database.

The meat traceability label format is specific to the needs of your customers.  The label can include Company Logos, Certifications

Logos (USDA, Go Texan, etc.), Product Name & Description and Dates (Production and Expiration).  The label also contains a barcode which is compliant with Global Standards (GS1) and is formatted to include the GS128 barcode.  The barcode contains GTIN (Global Trade Identification Number), Lot and Batch Number, SKU (Finished Product Code), Weight Data plus other data which the client may require.

4 Sales Order Processing & Shipping

Sales Orders can be manually entered into the centralized Management Database software.  Thereafter, by using a mobile handheld computer, operators can easily select the sales order, allocate the finished product by scanning the Finished Product case label that includes the GS128 barcode, and complete the order.  The process allows the orders to be processed faster and the traceability to be verified.  If you would prefer a more efficient process, we can import the Sales Orders via our Integration Services Software.  The imported Sales Order information can consist of the Sales Order Number, Customer, Products Ordered with Quantity and any Delivery Notes.  The sales order details will then be sent back to the ERP/Accounting Software – where the invoice will be generated (see ERP Interface page).

A 4×6 Hybrid Pallet Tag can also be provided to clients that have palletized shipments.  The SSCC Label (Serial Shipping Container Code) provides an accurate and simple method for producers to ship merchandise and relate the product type (GTIN), quantities and lot numbers to the receiver, via a single GS1 Bar-code.

5 Tracking and Tracing

All of the aforementioned processes communicate with a central server which validates and stores traceability information relating to production, inventory, operators, locations, formulations and sales orders. The Surgical Traceability for Sausage Manufacturers server has a reporting tool to allow supplier lot number led recalls to be tracked through to the finished product and to the respective customer, inclusive of rework and batching stages.

Can Matrix Controls help you?

Yes, we have some great data and experience to determine if you should invest in Surgical Traceability for Sausage Manufacturers now, or if you should wait to see how the market develops first.  We have the equipment (hardware and software) to enable you to meet item, case and pallet traceability needs, but perhaps you should talk to us first to see which traceability option is practical and prudent for your business.