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Glossary

Chain of Custody

What is Chain of Custody?

Chain of custody refers to the process of tracking a product from its initial source as raw materials through to its final destination, whether that is the end user or retailer. A product can go through many stages before it is complete, including sourcing, production, processing, shipping, and retail. Within each of those stages there can also be multiple steps. 


Chain of custody is a crucial part of supply chain management, ensuring quality control and safety from the moment a product is conceived of until it reaches its final destination in a retail store or consumer’s home. 


Watch webinar: How to Use Asset Tracking to Maintain Complete Chain of Custody


Supply Chain Risks

Without a chain of custody process in place, there are a number of risks that can impact products at any point during their journey along the supply chain. Such risks include:


  • Physical damage to an item.

  • Loss or theft of a component.

  • Missed deadlines due to inaccurate data or miscommunications.

  • Human error in misplacing a part or manually inputting erroneous data.

  • Difficulty in scaling to handle larger amounts of inventory.

The Benefits of Chain of Custody 

The biggest benefit of chain of custody is constant knowledge and visibility into where products are located. This knowledge enables managers to manage the entire process more efficiently. Other benefits include:


  • Transparency - a fully transparent supply chain means a lower risk of theft or other compliance breaches.

  • Quick Resolution of Problems - potential challenges can be identified early and resolved quickly before causing unnecessary delays and expenses.

  • Targeted Recalls - knowing exactly where each component is and has been means being able to identify which specific products should be involved in a recall should there be a defect. Only recalling what is absolutely necessary is much less costly and less of an inconvenience to customers than recalling a wider range of items.

How to Create a Chain of Custody Process

Creating a chain of custody involves documenting the movements of a product as it travels the supply change. In order to create this chain of custody effectively, a company needs to take the following steps:


  • Determine which specific items need to be tracked.

  • Select a tracking system that will be used to monitor each item throughout the supply chain. While it’s possible to do this manually, it is significantly more efficient to use location tracking

  • Create a process and checklist to ensure that the proper documentation is filled out at the appropriate times.

  • Designate personnel who are responsible for managing each step of the process, and ensure that they are well-trained and fully capable.

  • Regularly review the entire process to look for areas of improvement and ways to increase efficiency.

How Deeyook Can Help

Deeyook’s precise location-tracking capabilities can provide complete visibility throughout the entire supply chain, allowing for a complete and unbroken chain of custody. No matter how many steps a product must go through to reach its final destination, Deeyook offers real-time, accurate location information. Watch our webinar: 

How to Use Asset Tracking to Maintain Complete Chain of Custody


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