Many people think of tangible asset tracking in the context of annual audits of manufacturing equipment or managing an inventory of computers, and so on, in the office. The emphasis is on pre-bought items.
However, the same auto-id technologies and tracking systems used for traditional asset management can also be re-purposed for a live manufacturing environment. The world of WIP (work in process) can benefit enormously from asset tracking techniques. Much manufacturing today is designed with flexibility built-in.
Rather than fixed conveyor belts processing an endless chain of similarly constructed goods by hand, the path through a modern factory may be in anything but a straight line. Different processing stations are brought into play at different stages for different goods, with personnel switching roles and customizing each order as needed.
While this serves the needs of the small batch, highly configured product market customers demand, it also may mean that goods are not as easily traced if you need to find them during the process. Identifying components as they travel the manufacturing floor is made much easier with Auto-ID labeling.
Another natural link between goods tracking and the manufacturing environment is inventory management. Techniques for managing process inventory for cost optimization have emerged over the years. Just-in-time inventory, kaizen, lean manufacturing, six sigma - all have impacts on inventory and the supply chain. And all are approaches that can be complemented with automated tracking systems.
A manufacturing BoM (Bill of Material) can be automated and tied into the inventory management system. MSL (Minimum Stock Level) triggers can be built in to signal when inventory items need to be replenished. ROQs (Re-Order Quantity) and average lead times can also be defined or calculated to ensure that a balance is maintained between having enough inventory to keep the shop running and investing too much in components that sit on the shelves.
Automated tracking technologies and systems can also be used to meet the requirements of
regulatory or internal quality inspections. Replacing a clipboard and pencil with a handheld
quick hit that can show a payback on investment in a very short time.
As an electronic record of mandated safety checks or calibrations or quality defects is built up over time, operational progress can be measured and quantifiable improvements made.
The mantra of modern manufacturing is
continual improvement. Increases in
seen to be essential in globally competitive industries. Automation along the lines described above
all available in SageData's BassetPro family of products. We do not advocate a
If Manufacturing is to be flexible and continually productive, so also must the tools and systems used to support flexible approaches be flexible themselves - and that is what we deliver with BassetPro.
If you found this useful, you might also want to review:
- an introduction to barcode technology
- an introduction to RFID
- mobile data collectors
- consulting services: barcodes and their applications