Implement traceability quickly and securely


Implement traceability quickly and securely

Traceability is important for electronics manufacturers in several respects, but implementing it in practice is a challenge. This is where ZVEI, the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association, comes in with the concept of traceability levels for product categories and provides valuable assistance.

The first four ZVEI Traceability levels at a glance (Fig.: ZVEI - Zentralverband Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikindustrie e. V.)
The first four ZVEI Traceability levels at a glance (Fig.: ZVEI - Zentralverband Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikindustrie e. V.)

Dealing with traceability early and comprehensively has several advantages for companies.

In most cases, it only becomes important once a defect has already occurred in an end product. Then it is important that the source of the defect can be reliably isolated and targeted recall actions can be taken quickly. But even before this, a company can optimize processes and thus save costs by creating a traceability concept. Johann Weber, member of the supervisory board of Zollner Elektronik AG, points out another crucial point:

The first four ZVEI Traceability levels at a glance (Fig.: ZVEI - Zentralverband Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikindustrie e. V.)

"Traceability is the prerequisite for "Industry 4.0" in electronics production and is already indispensable today and even more so in the future."

Johann Weber

However, in practice, it is often difficult for companies to get started when introducing traceability. Here, the new ZVEI traceability levels for product categories (Fig. 1) support companies in creating a concept - in order to be able to react quickly to deficiencies, but also to set the entrepreneurial course in this important area. After all, with the help of clear labeling, the origin of an end product can be traced back along the entire supply chain to the individual component, and processes can be optimized. The ZVEI traceability levels are provide assistance and are intended to describe the requirements for various product categories in more detail. All products along the value chain, from raw materials and electronic components to assemblies, modules, devices and systems, are taken into account. The traceability levels are supplemented by practical examples of parameters to be recorded during the manufacturing process. In addition, an overview of traceability and risk management standards and certifications is provided. All core elements in the creation of a traceability concept are considered: Definitions, benefit and effort considerations, data for traceability, technology of interfaces, and real-world examples. As part of this initiative, a labeling matrix for data transfer was also developed and interfaces to the store floor for connecting machines, devices and workstations were worked out. For this purpose, configuration files in XML format with documentation are available at, which can be linked to existing software systems. The guideline and traceability levels are also available here. This concept significantly simplifies the introduction and implementation of this complex topic.

Lead picture: yvart – Fotolia, Astrid Gast – Fotolia, Dada Lin – Fotolia, ZVEI

Related links

Guideline, Traceability-Levels and Configuration files for integration into enterprise systems at:

Publishing date

12 March 2021


  • Industry 4.0
  • Quality
  • Standards

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