RFID vendor managed inventory.
With today’s technology, visibility to work in process and finished goods inventory within a discrete manufacturing operation is typically accomplished using a manufacturing execution system (MES) where the additions and movement of items are tracked. The points where errors are typically introduced in these systems are related to having the procedures and trained workforce in place to reliably update the system of record at key touchpoints where items are added, moved or consumed.
- In many cases the movement and assembly touchpoints are not located where data can be easily entered – a factory floor production line for example.
- The workforce responsible for physically moving or assembling items is typically not trained or expected to perform complex data entry functions.
- Data entry can be even more onerous and error prone if item-level or lot-level tracking is also required.
As a result, timely and accurate updates to the MES are not always made. The information it contains therefore degrades over time and may no longer accurately represent the physical inventory on hand. Manual labor-intensive cycle counts must therefore be performed periodically to update the central information system of record with the actual inventory information.
There may also be missed opportunities to “error proof” key material movement and assembly touchpoints where incorrect parts, recalled items/lots, inventory processed out of sequence, or expired inventory can be detected. Detecting and correcting these types of errors immediately at the point they occur can significantly reduce the exception handling and rework processing required to correct them after the fact.