When materials are received or created in the factory they are packaged in some form of stock-keeping-units (SKUs, Packs, Handling Units) for ease of transport. Each pack is given a unique code (Pack number) for ease of identification. Packs can be coded in various ways e.g. as part of a batch; or unique pack numbers for each pallet, box, tote, container, stillage; or a unique serial number for each part.
When inventory is created or received at goods in, pack numbers have to be generated and quantities of units packed recorded. Typically bar-code labels are printed and attached enabling product to be located and moved in the factory or warehouse. Additionally isolations are managed at a pack level, allowing inventory to be quarantined prior to further investigation and decision making.
The Inventory module of Shopfloor-OnlineTM Lifescience Edition is able to:
- Create a record for each pack of inventory created (including semi-finished goods and finished goods) and automatically attach traceability details such as work centre, creation date/time, Production Order, and so on.
- Create inventory records when goods are received and automatically attach traceability details such as supplier, supplier lot number, supplier traceability information.
- Automatically generate unique pack numbers in user defined formats
- Allow inventory to change state using a user defined set of states. For example inventory can be created, isolated, scrapped, released and shipped. The complete history of the state of the inventory is recorded, including who made the decision, when and where.
- Assist when inventory is isolated, to capture the reasons why for subsequent analysis
- Move inventory between locations and bins
- Generate user defined FIFO keys, used in subsequent consumption operations to ensure oldest stock is consumed first
- Use best-before dates and use-after dates to ensure aged inventory is within requirements.
- Create a seamless link to other systems like the Warehousing system or ERP (e.g. SAP).
When Used with Other Modules
When the Inventory module is used in conjunction with other modules of Shopfloor-OnlineTM Lifescience Edition more opportunities open up. For example:
- Traceability – Consumption: with this module full material traceability is achieved, track the consumption of inventory (raw materials and WIP) in the production of new materials.
- Build Traceability: this takes traceability to the additional level of individual serialised part numbers
- Warehousing/Logistics: receive planned in-bound deliveries and ship planned out-bound deliveries at an inventory pack level
- Quality module: record the results of quality checks against individual packs (or serialised parts), increasing traceability to each individual pack
- Customer Complaints: trace complaints from inventory pack number back through all aspects of production
- Inventory visibility – at pack level from received goods to WIP to finished goods. Know where the inventory is located and what state it is in.
- Traceability – know exactly what was created, when and where.
- Production reporting – track inventory created as the primary record of production, generate production records.
- Isolations (Quarantines) – isolate inventory quickly to ensure doubtful goods do move forwards.
- History – create a history of data to support continuous improvement. Analyse inventory that is quarantined: how frequently does this occur, where does it occur, what are the main reasons?
- Continuity – managing inventory in the MES layer means that the factory can still produce even if there is an ERP system outage