CSI for Your ERP System
With the preponderance of crime investigation shows on television, it seems we have a fascination with the use of technology to determine the nature of a crime, its time and place of occurrence, and ultimately, the culprit.
Now imagine the chief investigator stating, “After days of investigation, we have come to the conclusion that a crime took place within the last three weeks by somebody in the afternoon. We still do not know how many victims may be involved.” Obviously, that response would not be acceptable.
With many manufacturers utilizing legacy ERP systems, this may be the the best investigation results they can produce with respect to inventory traceability.
You are probably asking, “Is he really equating sketchy inventory traceability to a serious crime?”
Well, you and I may be able to distinguish a difference, but to a frantic manufacturer facing concerns over possible production disruption, quality defects, and potential product liability, traceability problems are serious issues.
A typical manufacturing shop floor is a beehive of activity. At any given time, bill of material inventory is being consumed in production; new inventory is being created; multiple inventory containers are combined into one container; one inventory container is being split into multiple containers; inventory is being scrapped; and containers are being moved in and out of QC hold. Whether these inventory activities are to be perceived as “infractions” versus properly managed events is dependent upon your system’s capability to accurately track them.
While traceability seems simple in concept, companies can be overwhelmed with the volume of data related to a single run of production. A modern ERP solution can provide efficient—and more accurate—handling of data, and also support the analysis of traceability data that differentiates proactive, best-in-class firms from those that are left scrambling through paperwork to forensically evaluate a problem after it’s too late.
Advanced ERP systems allow inventory containers (or individual inventory units) to be tracked in real time providing detailed transaction data including date/time, location, employee, transaction type, container status, and from what containers (serial number(s)) the inventory originated. It is this level of detail that affords the manufacturer the visibility to quickly identify and respond to potential problems, with real time detail, in order to swiftly contain them.
Certainly these results may be not be as glamorous or entertaining as a television program, but maybe knowing these systems are in place within your facility will allow you to relax and enjoy your programs a little more.