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Trace products

The IBM Food Trust™ Trace module enables your organization to view and take action on your supply chain data, such as products, facilities, events, and transactions. Integrated supply chain data—data shared by two or more organizations—is traceable by those organizations when they have uploaded data referencing a shared product instance. This uploading and sharing of data enables IBM Food Trust business partners to trace the same product instance along their supply chains.

Watch the Trace video

Please take two minutes and watch the Trace video to see how IBM Food Trust traces food supply chain products.

About traceability

End-to-end product traceability on IBM Food Trust means that authorized users can easily find and trace the path of their organization's food product instances along the supply chain. The IBM Food Trust Trace module is a UI-based subscription service for member organizations to trace food supply chain assets:

  • IBM Food Trust Trace examples include identifying a product instance that originated from a specific source (facility), includes a specific ingredient, or has an approaching expiration date.
  • Authorized users trace a product by locating its identifiers, such as product ID, lot number, purchase order number, or facility ID.
  • Trace results can be narrowed by specifying additional parameters, including date and time range, event type, or facility type.
  • Owners of data maintain complete control over which organizations can trace their data - by choosing a Data access policy and setting ACL permissions (Data entitlement mode) when uploading data. 

Once you are logged into IBM Food Trust, select the Trace module from the main menu.

Trace results display

Most trace results are displayed in the UI according to the following general rules:

  • Trace results are grouped by organization.
  • The shipping organization is displayed to the left of the receiving organization.
  • Trace results for a specific organization are displayed by facility type.
  • If there are facility type shipping cycles in the supply chain—facility type A ships to B ships to C ships to A, for example—the facility types in the cycle are ordered by the latest event time at a facility and its most likely position in the supply chain (such as farm precedes distribution center, which precedes store).
  • Events displayed by facility type are grouped by specific facility.
  • Events displayed for a specific facility are ordered by timestamp.

In some cases, additional trace UI display rules may be applied.

How to trace

The following diagrams show how to trace products using the Trace module.

Figure 1. Trace


From the Trace module click on the left icon to start the product trace.

Figure 2. Trace button

Trace button

You can search by product ID (such as GTIN), product label, or purchase order.

Figure 3. Trace options

Trace options

You can narrow your trace search by date range, lot number, serial number, or pallet number.

Figure 4. Trace by product example

Trace example

Figure 5. Product example

Trace product example

You can also use a date range for the purchase order's expected delivery date. Once you are done narrowing down your search, click Trace.

Figure 6. Narrow trace option

Narrow trace

The trace results for the GTIN and the filter that was applied are displayed. Transactions, locations, and the date range associated with the GTIN are displayed. IBM Food Trust organizations associated with the GTIN are also displayed, depending on the data sharing specifications used by the data owner.

Figure 7. Trace results

Trace results

Click on the top of the event to view details such as the event date and time, quantity, and lot number.

Figure 8. Trace details

Trace results

Click multi-ingredient view to view the product components.

Figure 9. Multi-ingredient view Trace results