Manufacturing Traceability on the Rise
by George Jewell, on Nov 27, 2016 1:00:00 PM
Over the past few years the technology buzz in manufacturing has been IoT, Big Data, Machine Learning, and Analytics, all of which are important to the industry. However, we have noticed an increased interest by manufacturers in Traceability. This seems to be driven by their customers and in particular other manufacturers they provide parts to. Of course, this is basically driven by the need to increase quality. Although, Traceability fundamentally means understanding the history of a part as it is processed, there are typically many other needs that come up as we discuss this with potential customers.
Expectations of a Traceability Solution
- Safeguard parts have passed prior operations
- Ensure parts flow through the proper stations while processed
- Ensure the right part is used when marrying components
- Provide model specific data for an individual serial number
- Store data such as test results, process specific values, or inspection images for each serial number
- Provide visibility of work in process such as buffer sizes, model mix, and where bad parts are located
- Increase work in process understanding to assist with scheduling and synchronization of sub components throughout the operation
Of course, all of the above data allows users to determine problem areas, get notifications of parts moving out of spec, or signal when supplier issues exists.
Additionally, as we work with customers, we find that many have not yet serialized their components or parts. This is typically not an easy process and takes some planning well ahead of implementing a solution. A variety of options are available from barcode stickers to laser etching. Your solution provider should be able to assist with this as well as other integration needs prior to implementing the system.
Lastly, as a Traceabilty solution is adopted, the historical aspect quickly fades and primary needs move to quality, scheduling, part marking, data analytics, and more.