Production Orders (sometimes called Works Orders or Shop Orders) are issued to the factory to instruct the Production to produce product. Progress is recorded against them as the order is fulfilled. Production Orders exist in most environments, from batch manufacturing, through to discrete manufacturing and job shops.

In discrete manufacturing the work moves through its routing from operation to operation and the Production Order is updated with progress; this could include quality results or sign offs. Job tracking in this environment can be a problem. Even today, frequently, the Production Order is often a printed document (sometimes called a Traveler) that is physically issued to the line and moves with the work.

  • The paperwork is cumbersome to print and manage, albeit easy for people on the lines
  • The paperwork has to be filled and collated
  • It is difficult to see the progress of work through the factory

In some cases ERP systems are used in the factory to record the start and end of Production Orders, thus giving visibility of Production Orders in the factory. However ERP systems are notoriously difficult to use by shop floor operatives and this approach often has challenges. Bar coding the Production Order can help, but it still requires printed orders.


In MES systems, the Production Order is the core record upon which all other related information is built upon. The Production Order Module of Shopfloor-Online™ Lifescience Edition provides an easy to use tool to allow Production Orders to be monitored as they progress through the factory.

With the Production Orders module you can:

  • Create orders and assign to production lines. Alternatively, if the Scheduling module is used then Production Orders can be created and scheduled in advance or automatically downloaded from ERP systems
  • Download the routings from the ERP system as master data, reducing the amount of data capture required on the shop floor
  • Split an order up into a series of jobs, for each operation or to split a large order into smaller orders
  • Jobs are started and ended at the line by operators, either manually or by using bar-code scanners. In some cases, where the infrastructure permits it is possible to take signals directly from the PLC Capture information like planned quantity, actual quantity, start time, end time and duration
  • Run numerous reports that related to Production Orders, for example their progress, history and exceptions
  • Upload to ERP the progress of Production Orders.

When Used with Other Modules

The Production Order is the foundation record for all other production related information that can be recorded in Shopfloor-Online™ Lifescience Edition. When used with other modules in Shopfloor-Online™ Lifescience Edition more information can be layered in:

  • With the Production Counting module, real-time production counts update the progress against the order.
  • With the Quality Checks module, quality results are recorded against the Production Order.
  • With the Inventory modules, complete traceability is achieved by tracking the materials created and consumed on the order.
  • With the Scheduling module Production Orders can be created and sequenced in advance; it makes it easier for operatives to follow and record job execution.


  • Visibility – view work in progress; know exactly the status of each order. This is especially useful in complex discrete processes, or job shops, where it can be hard to see at what stage the work is.
  • Traceability – all data recorded in the production run (job) is tied tack to the Production Order, for example the parts made, the order, the production line, shift, the start and end times, the person responsible
  • Go paperless – stop issuing paper work instructions and all that goes with it from issuing to filing
  • Improve shop management – through greater visibility, see the bottlenecks and hold-ups.