Manufacturers that handle numerous unique parts or final products comprised of high cost individual components can struggle with the complexity of managing and tracking parts over the production cycle and beyond. Serial number management is an effective way to track components and final products, providing visibility into manufacturing and greater efficiencies. Serial management is a critical component of a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) or Warehouse Management System (WMS). It can be customized to provide either partial or total tracking of parts and products, depending on business needs.
Benefits of inventory serial number traceability
Serial numbers provide a system for tracking and tracing items through the supply chain. As operations grow and supply chains become more complex, manufacturers are challenged to find greater efficiencies. Serial number traceability helps optimizes inventory and manufacturing management by reducing the unknown and providing accessible insights.
Knowing the amount of product inventory, and the complete journey of components and items, makes efficient groupings and other manufacturing and product management tasks more straightforward. Since serial number management provides the ability to track goods between warehouses, in progress, in a manufacturer’s inventory and out in the field.
Complete and accurate histories
Serial management optimizes tracking capabilities because it requires an integrated process. Inventory control is more accurate because a single database can replace multiple disconnected ones. Visibility and traceability also help more accurately manage other variables such as expiration dates. With this visibility and accurate history of the product life cycle and inventory, greater efficiencies in order picking and shipping can also be achieved.
Streamlined warehouse management
Serial number tracking can also help better manage growing warehouse operations. Business warehouses have a lot of moving parts, and maintaining productivity and efficiency requires the visibility and monitoring that serial number management provides. The growing use of mobile technology for managing inventories means that accuracy and visibility can be more easily integrated into systems. Serial number management is not just collecting data but leveraging the information for productivity and other benefits.
While serial number management opens the door for considerable process improvements and efficiencies within the manufacturing environment, the visibility and tracking benefits also extend to post-sales product life cycles. From warranty management to parts and component replacement, serial management makes tracking and locating items easy. Complex supply chains and the growing globalization of the marketplace makes quick and efficient parts and item management a priority. Serial management helps manufacturers and sellers provide value to customers long after the initial sale.
Benefits of MES and WMS
Serial numbers are, however, just pieces of data. Without the right system to collect, organize, and provide access to the information, serial numbers have little value. MES and WMS systems help orchestrate this data so businesses can derive the most value out of their data. These systems can track items using a variety of methods, from RFID to manual scanning of serial numbers. Manufacturers can use these systems as a dashboard view into the full product lifecycle and can track serial numbers for inventory control for both inbound and outbound products.
MES and WMS allow businesses to tap into all their product and component data, integrating crucial visibility with other systems, suppliers, distributors, selling channels, and more. Other capabilities include warehouse management to optimize shipping rates and packing procedures while eliminating picking errors due to the misidentification of parts. MES and WMS systems also use serial number data for order routing, returns, exchanges, omnichannel fulfillment, and other order and inventory management tasks.
Creating greater visibility with consolidated serial numbers
Taking the capabilities of MES and WMS even further, Objective MES and WMS provides the capabilities of managing the product passport and one-piece flow, which optimizes production and logistics operations. Integrating with ERP systems, Objective is a gate-to-gate solution that provides transparency, improves operational efficiency, and allows manufacturers to realize value from individual component data.
As a product moves through the manufacturing process, Objective collects data on individual components. The resulting product passport is a complete, accurate, and highly accessible record of a product’s composition. This information can also include and incorporate contextual information such as manufacturing production order, operator, machine, inspection results, and other traceable records.
Objective’s one-piece flow is a digital factory that incorporates smart operator dashboards so that manufacturers can visualize the right information at the right time for the right person. One-piece flow optimizes the production and logistic process by strengthening a manufacturer’s grip on the process. The result is more than just visibility; it is enhanced quality and better, more efficient processes.
Objective MES and WMS system is designed to help manufacturers manage operators and machines and to get actionable insights on performance and quality. It provides real-time information so that higher levels of complexity can be incorporated into manufacturing processes, and siloed information or islands of data can be avoided. With a more integrated, more transparent process, efficiencies are easier to achieve, and growth can occur naturally, without the pains often associated with fluctuating demand.
For more information on Objective and how its solutions can help your business optimize manufacturing and warehouse operations through intelligent use and management of serial number data, contact our experts. Ready for full factory floor visibility and the ability to meet or exceed operational efficiency goals? Objective is ready to help.
Serial Management MES/WMS Software “Must Haves”:
- Precise track and trace visibility and history of all serial numbers included in a final component
- Easy access to original and new serial numbers given to each component
- Receive incoming stock via ASN Numbers automatically into the system or by RF scan
- Ability to create serial numbers at any point in process, both automatically and manually
- Easily distinguish between serial in inventory (SII) and serial not in inventory (SNII)
- Ensure gate to gate tracking of serial numbers from receipt of inventory, through warehouse and production, and on to final customer.
- Each serial numbered inventory item can retain these details:
- QC history
- Gertjie Duverger
- Product Owner