Simplify batch tracking and boost your manufacturing efficiency
Are you using batch manufacturing? Then you’ll need a way to optimize how you handle your inventory throughout your distribution chain.
Whether you’re a B2B e-commerce platform, direct-to-consumer (D2C), or a manufacturing company doing both, batch tracking is crucial to ensure quality control and efficiency.
In this article, we’ll check out how you can improve production tracking in your manufacturing business.
What is a batch inventory management system?
Before we get into the management system, let’s go over the batch inventory definition. Inventory batches are groups of products that are manufactured or procured together and share the same expiration date.
Batch management systems are tools that enable you to group and monitor products that were manufactured under the same conditions and used the same materials – otherwise known as a batch.
However, production tracking isn’t just needed for batch manufacturing but also for discrete manufacturing and businesses that follow a different manufacturing process but still handle perishable inventory.
Using batch management software with batch code tracking allows you to:
- Track the expiry date of items
- Track defective items back to the batch it was produced alongside
- Enable an efficient product recall process
- Comply with legislation and requirements for your industry
A scenario where batch tracking is useful
An example of a business or industry that uses the batch and make-to-stock flow is a company that makes beauty products.
Let’s use a scenario where a cosmetics manufacturer produces a face cream that fights off the onset of wrinkles. It’s wonderful! But one day, a customer contacted them saying they bought a cream that was outdated.
As they wait for the cream to be returned, they use the cosmetics production software to track down the batch and remove it from inventory, to avoid more faulty products going into circulation and damaging their reputation.
Who needs a batch management system?
Batch management systems are essential to streamline tracking, allowing you to monitor your inventory efficiently, but finding an inventory management software with batch code tracking is especially important for industries such as:
- Food production
- Coffee manufacturing
- Cosmetic manufacturing
- Any business handling perishable goods
These industries need a batch inventory management system because they require end-to-end traceability to keep track of things like perishable raw materials or to perform a product recall should something go awry with their items.
And traceability software is the simplest, fastest, and most reliable way of tracking the location of your products.
Pro tip: Tracking your inventory to ensure efficiency, quality, and safety is a surefire way to improve your production processes. That’s why we’ve put together the free and ultimate inventory management guide to help you efficiently manage inventory.
How to use batch management in manufacturing efficiently?
Now that we know what a batch inventory management system is and which industries can benefit the most, let’s look into how to track production in manufacturing and the tips you can follow to ensure quality and efficient production tracking.
1. Batch number tracking
Batch numbers, also known as lot numbers, are used to track goods along the production chain. This means that you’ll have the ability to have end-to-end traceability over your products. Batch number tracking allows you to track:
- Components and raw materials
- Manufacturing processes
- Supply chain
- Service phases
Why is it important to have batch numbers? Because having batch numbers is crucial for quick and effective investigations of customer complaints and organizing product recalls.
However, given the complexity of using batch numbers, you will need a system that can help you store and easily track your batch management.
2. Using smart manufacturing to centralize your business
Smart manufacturing is the process of creating an ecosystem that connects your machinery and tools via the internet, which is essential when learning how to track production in manufacturing.
The most significant benefit to using smart manufacturing for production tracking is that it’s going to give you access to the following:
- Automated data
- Predictive maintenance
- Reduced costs
- Reduced workflow challenges
- Barcode scanning tools
- Greener processes
Essentially, smart manufacturing is going to be the best way of introducing the previous points in this article and more.
3. Linking your sales orders to manufacturing orders and raw materials
One surefire way to improve how you track production in your manufacturing is to create a link between your sales and production flow.
The best way to do this is to implement manufacturing inventory software. This is a real-time solution for managing your resources. However, just be sure you find software that can link your sales to your manufacturing, as some solutions only focus on manufacturing.
Cloud manufacturing software like Katana lets you understand immediately if you have enough products in your batch to satisfy your sales orders.
Having these linked will drastically improve your production planning and scheduling, so if your demand planning doesn’t account for a spike in sales, you can quickly change your production to fulfill the new orders.
Pro tip: If you’re struggling with batch management when it comes to tracking finished goods and raw material inventory, Katana’s cloud manufacturing software uses a real-time master planner, so you know immediately if you can fulfill your orders or not.
4. Start using lean manufacturing
Adopting lean inventory techniques into your manufacturing will help you optimize, not just how you store your inventory, but how you manage your business in general.
Firstly, the point of lean manufacturing is to reduce waste (or Muda) from your business. And we don’t mean just removing the scrap or leftovers after manufacturing, we mean removing process steps that don’t add value to the customer. By getting set up with the right lean manufacturing tools, you’ll be able to:
- Introduce green manufacturing into your production
- Quickly identify potential bottlenecks in production
- Perform predictive maintenance
Though it is possible to implement lean manufacturing to streamline tracking, without using a batch tracking inventory system, you’ll always be reactive to problems along your production line.
Also, you’ll be missing out on important analytics of your production that will help you make better business decisions.
5. Set clear priorities
Fine-tuning your production scheduling is a quick way to improve production tracking efficiency.
Optimizing your scheduling will allow you to properly execute your plans to tackle forecasted demand and reduce your manufacturing lead time by as much as possible.
You can use inefficient Excel spreadsheets to schedule production. However, this:
- Is time-consuming
- Needs regular updating
- Is not be flexible should something delay or alter your production
This is why adopting a batch management system is important because it allows you to automate your processes and quickly redesign a schedule should your production priorities change.
So, following these five tips will certainly put you on the right path to improving your production tracking.
However, it’s still important to find the right batch inventory management system when looking into how to track production in manufacturing.
Katana’s batch inventory management system
Katana has a batch inventory management system for manufacturers looking to get more control over their inventory by helping them to trace batch movement and track end-to-end product development.
To get control over your inventory, you’ll need the tools to:
Tracking the expiration date of items allows you to implement effective inventory management, reduce spoilage, and increase profitability.
However, tracking the expiration date doesn’t only apply to perishable goods. With this feature, you can track items that will eventually become outdated or unsellable (depending on trends and technology).
Trace defective items back to batch
We’ve spoken about product recalls within this article, and although they’re commonplace, the best practice is to avoid them altogether.
A batch inventory management system means if you discover a faulty product, you can trace it back to the batch it came from, significantly reducing the risk of defective products making it onto the market.
Tracing your defective products means better transparency and faster and easier business compliance.
Make the product recalls process easier
And if you need to arrange a product recall, you can track the locations of all your products.
This is important because, according to a study by Motley Fool, 87% of respondents said they would still shop with a company that conducted their product recall honorably and responsibly.
And there you have it, everything you need to know about tracking production in manufacturing more efficiently.
Although it is possible to do your production tracking manually, to do so will be a slog and will ultimately cost you:
- Your reputation
That’s why it’s important to get set up with a batch inventory management system that can integrate with all your other software to give you an overview of your entire business and get the smoothest workflow.
Why not give Katana a spin? Try out Katana’s lot tracking software with a free 14-day trial to see how it can help you achieve streamlined tracking in your business today.
If you’d like an even better understanding of how Katana works, we’re more than happy to arrange a demo with you to go through the software in the specific context of your business.
And that’s it for now. If you have any questions feel free to drop us a message below or head over to our social media channels to hit us up.
And until next time, happy manufacturing.