How to Track Batch Production in Manufacturing for Increased Efficiency
TL:DR: A batch inventory management system is the best way for increasing the efficiency of your production tracking, as you can track expiry dates, trace the batch of defective products, and improve your product recall process.
Using batch manufacturing? Then you’ll need a way to optimize how you handle your inventory throughout your distribution chain.
In this article, we’re going to check out how you can improve production tracking in your manufacturing business.
One-way you can handle your inventory more efficiently is to implement a batch inventory management system to help you trace your products throughout the entire production and distribution process.
Who needs a batch management system?
Batch inventory 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:
— Electronics; and
— 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 having traceability software is going to be 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 sure-fire 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.
What is a Batch Inventory Management System?
A batch inventory management system is a tool that enables 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 who follow a different manufacturing process but still handle perishable inventory.
Using an inventory 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; and
— Comply with legislation and requirements for your industry.
A Scenario Where Batch Tracking is Useful
An example of a business or industry that uses batch flow and makes to stock 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.
But one day a customer contacts them saying that they bought a cream that was out of date.
As they wait for the cream to be returned, they use her batch inventory management system to track down the batch and remove it from inventory, to avoid more faulty products going into circulation and damaging their reputation.
So, know you know what a batch inventory management system is, how do you introduce production tracking into your business?
How to Track Production in Manufacturing Efficiently
We’re going to look into how to track production in manufacturing and the tips you can follow to ensure quality and efficient production tracking.
1. Using Batch Numbers
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, including:
— Components and raw materials;
— Supply chain;
— Delivery; and
— 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, giving the complexity of using batch numbers, you’re going to need a system that can help you store and easily track your batch production.
2. Using Smart Manufacturing to Centralize Your Business
The biggest benefits to using smart manufacturing for production tracking is that it’s going to give you access to:
— Automated data;
— Predictive maintenance;
— Reduced costs;
— Reduced workflow challenges;
— Integrations; and
— Greener processes.
Essentially, smart manufacturing is going to be the best way of introducing the previous points in this article, and more.
However, it’s important to find batch inventory management systems that can achieve smart manufacturing.
E-commerce + Smart Manufacturing Software + Accounting Software = Success!
3. Linking Your Sales Orders to Manufacturing Orders and Raw Materials
One sure-fire 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 a manufacturing ERP software. This is a real-time solution for managing your resources. However, just be sure that you find software that can link your sales to your manufacturing, as some solutions only focus on manufacturing.
Using ERP software allows you to understand immediately if you have enough products in your batch to satisfy your sales orders.
And, if your finished goods are understocked, you can get an overview of if you have enough products to begin manufacturing with improved raw material inventory management.
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’ve been struggling to manage your batches when it comes to tracking finished goods and raw material inventory, Smart Manufacturing Software uses an auto-booking engine, so you know immediately if you can fulfill your orders or not.
4. Start Using Lean Manufacturing
Adopting lean inventory techniques into your manufacturing is going to 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 remove 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;
— Easily identify potential bottlenecks in production; and
— 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 your 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 you possibly can.
You can use inefficient Excel spreadsheets to schedule production. However, this is going to:
— Be time-consuming;
— Need regular updating; and
— Not be flexible should something delay or alter your production.
This is why adopting a batch inventory 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, best practice is to avoid them altogether.
A batch inventory management system means if you discover a product is faulty, you can trace it back to the batch it came from, greatly reducing the risk of defective products making it onto the market.
Tracing your defective products means better transparency with faster and easier compliance for your business.
Make the Product Recalls Process Easier
And if you do 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 how to track 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:
— Money; and
— 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 yourself an overview of your entire business and get the smoothest workflow.
Why not give Katana a spin? We offer a 14-day free trial, so you can see how we can help you achieve streamline 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.