Inventory of Ideas and Comments
This section of our web site has been dedicated to the concept of sharing new information on our product, the industry, and general observations on inventory management over the years. There are a lot of unique ideas in here. Please enjoy.
Manufacturers Can Track Raw Materials and Finished Goods: WithoutWire!
WithoutWire is also known as WOW! And for good reason.
Because the question is not “What can WithoutWire do for you?” but rather “What can’t WOW do?” We do Inventory Management, which we call Inventory Science, since our solution for manufacturers rises to that level. There are now 1,200 sites worldwide running WithoutWire, on-premise or in the cloud, on iOS or Android devices.
Once you’ve seen our product, you’ll be asking yourself: “How did I ever manage without WOW?”
Any manufacturer will tell you that tracking is of cardinal importance. Of course, there are BOMs and cycle counts and shop floor routing issues … But if you can’t track your Raw Materials (RM) and your Finished Goods (FG), you’re in deep trouble. Heaven forbid there should be a recall. Even with proper tracking protocols in place, a recall is disruptive. Without proper tracking, a recall is a full-blown nightmare.
Raw Materials come in. Finished Goods go out. Getting from here to there is a complex process. But it’s not just about that process. It’s also about accountability.
Tracking Raw Materials
Tracking begins outside of your four walls, in your supply chain. That in itself is complex because raw materials potentially arrive from numerous suppliers, from several geographic locations, and by various modes of transportation. This means that there are a myriad of points at which the supply of raw materials may be disrupted, any one of which could impact operations and the ability to produce a finished product on schedule. WithoutWire can’t prevent a disruption, such as a strike at the port. But we can make sure that you have visibility into your supply chain so that you can plan accordingly.
Once the materials arrive at your facility, they have to be accurately entered into inventory and shelved in the proper bins for efficient rotation and consumption – whether you’re using a FIFO or FEFO method. WithoutWire ensures that your inventory will be consumed correctly and that the shelf life of your product will be maximized.
Next the raw materials are combined into your Bill of Materials (your BOMs) or kits, and your Work in Progress (WIP) must be tracked across every stage of production, culminating in automated WIP replenishment. WithoutWire allows you to view raw material needs directly from the kitting or manufacturing screen. You can also set up replenishment MIN/MAX levels for a stream of constant inventory.
Every step of the process from raw materials to finished goods can be tracked in real time on handheld iOS and Android devices.
Tracking Finished Goods
Let’s say the kitting or manufacturing process is complete and you now have finished goods. If your products have been Made to Stock (MTS), they will re-enter your warehouse where they once again need to be accurately shelved and tracked, awaiting sale. Alternatively, if your products have been Made to Order (MTO) or Engineered to Oder (ETO) they will need to be shipped, delivered, and tracked at every step along the way.
Hopefully, the job is done at this point. You have a complete audit trail using WithoutWire. So in case of a recall, you can rest easy with the knowledge that every lot, serial number and expiration date has been recorded for perpetuity.
WithoutWire offers more than just traditional tracking methods, because for us, inventory management is a science. Take a look, for example, at our License Plate (LP) number tracking system to learn about tracking efficiencies and granularity.
Out of 588 words in this article, the word track or tracking has appeared 16 times. That’s because we can’t emphasize enough the importance of cradle to grave traceability. And the importance of making traceability as easy as possible. Tracking can be costly or cost-effective. WithoutWire delivers the latter.
Visit us at www.WithoutWire.com. Better yet, call us now at 612-343-0404. Let’s talk inventory!