For the past few weeks, we have focused on the 6 major processes that most typical warehouse inventory systems are built on. If done right, each of these processes will enable you to reach what we like to call "flawless fulfillment". This week we will conclude this series by focusing on eWin and lot traceability.
Many companies have a requirement to capture component lots as they are consumed in the production process.
This is a very common foundation to allow for recalls. It is also the basis for most Safe Quality Foods initiatives. For certain companies, the government requires that these records be kept electronically.
It is also used to assist with FIFO stock rotation.
It starts at receipt. We capture the item, supplier lot number, and the quantity for each package as it is counted. Sometimes this information is tied together on a license plate (LP). A license plate is a sequential number that has its own bar code and serves as a key on the inventory file. With LP’s enabled, it is faster to put away, cycle count, move, or issue (pick) products against a work order or bill of materials. Scanning the LP supplies all of the other information required.
The receipt function created audit records of each transaction. This allows for full reporting on the origins of every lot in your facility and marks the start of your span of control.
As products are put away, the locator file is updated with the location, quantity, and lot of each item. Once again an audit record is written showing, right down to the second, the movement of lots through the warehouse.
There are a number of variables in the component picking process. Traditionally, we are working from a work order, batch ticket, or other source of a bill of materials that describes the components that are required. Typically the batch has its own finished goods lot number as well.
In the simplest form, the component lot numbers are captured as products are picked against the batch ticket and audit records are created to that effect.
We understand that the situation is seldom simple so we need to understand what throws complexity into your environment. We have likely seen it and solved it but a full discussion of all of those possible issues is beyond the scope of this document.
The next step is finished goods (or intermediates) receipt. This allows us to create audit records of each finished goods lot number (parent) and the individual component lots (child) that were consumed in the process.
If you receive a notice of a recall from one of your suppliers, you can find and hold any of the material still in your warehouse as a component. We also have the data as to which finished goods lots used some of that component. This allows us to find and hold any of those finished goods lots that are still in the warehouse.
We understand that Intermediates are sometimes sold as a finished good and sometimes combined with other components or intermediates. This is a complicated but manageable scenario that is also beyond the scope of this discussion. This complicates the queries necessary to trace the lots but all of the data is there to allow this to be done.
The last step on our journey is to capture finished goods lots against a sales order. This ends your span of control. With this piece of data, we have all of the information to complete the track and trace process.