Although government and business interest in tracking and tracing has grown enormously over the last decade, a clear and coherent overview of the topic is still lacking and is not found in (logistics) literature. This article presents a structure for development and contemporary practices of tracking and tracing. The development structure is conceptualised by three supply‐chain layers: item coding (the physical layer), information architecture (the information layer); and planning and control (the control layer). On behalf of tracking and tracing, the layers represent different levels of supply‐chain integration. The conceptualisation is derived from similar ideas found in literature on supply‐chain management. From a scientific point of view, the structure provides a coherent and systematic organisation of tracking and tracing concepts. From the viewpoint of business administration, the structure facilitates the determination of the scope of tracking and tracing application(s), which is of management value.