Friday, April 20, 2012

Serial/Lot Tracking Ease of Use Factors

As I’ve discussed in previous posts, manufacturing software that performs real serial/lot tracking is more difficult to use and more labor intensive to maintain than software that “fakes it” by just providing a text field in the item master to record serial/lot numbers. Therefore it is incumbent on the designers of the software to make it as easy as possible to use while maintaining the integrity of the data being collected.

For example, when serialized or lot-tracked raw material items are being received, their serial/lot numbers may have been assigned by the supplier -- or that may be job of the customer (the manufacturing company). If the serial/lot assignment is done by the manufacturer, then it is likely that the serial/lot numbers can be assigned in sequence. Good manufacturing software will ease the burden of assigning serial/lot numbers by letting you create a sequence of, say 100 serial/lot numbers starting from XYZ001. Poorly designed software would require you to enter 100 serial/lot numbers.
On the other hand, if the serial/lot assignment is done by the supplier, then good manufacturing software will allow you to enter 100 unique serial/lot numbers (even though doing so is more time-consuming) because there is a good chance the parts will come to you that way.

Then there is the matter of when serial/lot assignments are most conveniently done. If your receiver can open a box and readily read the numbers printed on serial/lot-tracked items, then it may be most convenient (and efficient) to assign the serial/lot numbers right then and there.

However, if serial/lot tracked items are being used in the production process, then you may not wish to hold up production while you update the computer with the serial-lot numbers of the items being used. Deferred entry of serial/lot numbers may be the best (or only) entry method you would consider at this phase of the manufacturing process.
You will rarely find manufacturing software that gives you the option of entering serial/lot numbers in real time, or deferring the entry process to a more convenient time. The MISys Manufacturing System is among the few systems that give you the flexibility of both methods.

For more information about MISys go to

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