Delivering More Value with Product Digitization & Traceability

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by Christine C. Akselsen

Using serialization, traceability and product digitization for consumer engagement, ESG, supply chain visibility, and product innovation

In ten years’ time, it is possible that consumers will actively decide against a purchase because the product itself does not give them enough information about its origins, its ingredients or its sustainability rating. As regulations move to enforce the need for granular traceability, and consumers of all kinds begin to demand more detailed information about their purchases, this moment may be nearer than we think. Serialization, traceability and product digitization will get us there faster than we expect. And it will deliver more value than most enterprises know.

A 2022 Forrester survey commissioned by Rockwell Automation confirmed that increasing consumer and brand value and digitally transforming the supply chain drive the adoption of serialization and traceability technology. Product digitization and traceability offer more than just compliance and ESG reporting benefits. 

Why serialize, trace and digitize products with unique digital IDs?

A number of benefits await brands that seek out longer-term value through serialization and traceability. Even though they extend beyond the scope of regulatory compliance, compliance is a starting point.

Regulatory compliance and ESG

Regulations are coming into force to ensure greater consumer protection/safety and easier access to detailed product and supply chain information. Examples range from the new EU Green Deal, which will mandate the introduction of digital product passports across industries as varied as batteries, textiles, and toys to name only a few, to potential regulation on early life nutrition and baby formula in the United States, following supply chain problems and public health and safety crises. Regulatory compliance demands serialization, traceability, and access to data to ease reporting requirements.

Consumer engagement and dynamic experiences

Consumers are top of mind for companies across industries. Consumers increasingly demand to know more about where their products (and source/raw materials) come from, how they were manufactured, where, and by whom. The cited Forrester research states that 60% of brands prioritize digital transformation strategies that make serialization and traceability data more accessible to their customers

Brand and revenue protection

Brands are vulnerable to both counterfeiting and grey market diversion. Nearly 90% of brands surveyed reported experiencing either or both problems. More than 47% of brands lost between 11-60% of sales income due to counterfeiting, and 56% lost between 11-60% of sales income due to gray market diversion. Both can be reduced through the adoption of traceability and serialization solutions. In addition to tangible financial losses, is it possible to calculate how much doing nothing costs the brand value, e.g., when a counterfeit or adulterated product makes consumers ill or causes injury or death? 

Return on investment (ROI) 

Nearly 50% of businesses that implemented serialization increased sales by at least 31%, leading to positive ROI. Optimizing traceability efforts can protect the brand from counterfeiting and diversion while providing valuable data for understanding the supply chain, the market, and the consumer – leading to everything from better product planning to increased customer satisfaction – all of which leads to better brand loyalty and return on investment in traceability.

Connected products: Digital transformation is all about sustainability and visibility

In an increasingly connected world, connected products offer an opportunity to gain unparalleled insight. This insight can deliver improvements to the consumer experience, remedies for diversion and counterfeiting, and supporting sustainability initiatives. Traceability technology enables the collection of more and better data across a product’s complete journey, all of which feeds into more comprehensive visibility.  

Visibility is at the heart of the value traceability and serialization deliver. As regulation mandates and consumers demand greater transparency and accountability, brands are exploring digitization and traceability in the form of connected products as a solution to:

  • Build transparency and visibility into supply chains and finished products
  • Build pathways to improvement for products, go-to-market motions, innovation and consumer engagement and loyalty
  • Build trust with verifiable sustainability credentials
  • Build more robust, circular models to do more with less

Serialization and traceability: Delivering value through data

Getting access to end-to-end data from traceability technology can deliver unprecedented value. Serialization and traceability technology enable data aggregation and tracking throughout the supply chain. This lets companies harvest structured data and tie it together. It sounds challenging, and many companies have faced difficulties tearing down existing data and organizational silos. But it’s worth it to get to the data insights that can inform their decision-making.  

Data can provide richer experiences, helping to augment products and the consumer experience. For example, sharing valuable data through the product, such as product authenticity verification, ingredient and allergen transparency and origin information, evidence of corporate compliance with ESG initiatives, data on carbon footprint in the supply chain, access to incentives and rewards schemes, and more. 

Serialization, traceability, product digitization: Deliver more value to the value chain

Regulatory and market forces are pushing consumption and the supply chains supporting consumption toward sustainability. Better sustainability can be achieved, along with other critical benefits, through traceability technology. 

Serialization and traceability enable visibility and transparency, and support the goals of consumers, regulatory authorities and companies:

  • Consumers want to make informed choices about what they buy and use, expecting safe and sustainable products.
  • Governments and regulatory bodies are concerned with protecting people, businesses and society at large. 
  • Companies want foolproof ways to achieve numerous goals simultaneously. For example achieve compliance, sustainability and ESG goals. Be able to prevent financial and reputational losses and lost opportunities. On top of this, build engagement and trust with consumers.

Learn more about serialization and traceability

Kezzler’s cloud-based product digitization and traceability technology platform let brands track and trace their product throughout the supply chain at the unique ID level. This enables aggregate structured data along the way for the creation of augmented experiences around it.

If you’re ready to learn more about the power of serialization and traceability technology, contact us

Register for the upcoming Forrester, Rockwell Automation and Kezzler webinar.

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