How AssetPulse’s RFID Work Order Tracking System helps Manufacturers get Real-time Visibility

Tracking work orders on the manufacturing floor provides vital information about the state of the product, the last known location of the work order, the sequence of workflow, the time it stayed in each work cell, if the work order is completed and so on. It is an integral part of the assembly line. The purpose of work order tracking is to get instant visibility of the status of work orders, fine tune and improve the process. But, you can’t achieve that through manual and traditional work order tracking systems.

AssetGather’s RFID Work Order Tracking System helps you to automate work order tracking, eliminate traditional and manual work order tracking systems and get real-time instant visibility.

RFID work order tracking system
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Why AssetPulse’s RFID Work Order Tracking System

AssetGather’s RFID work order tracking system helps you to track work orders throughout the manufacturing process. RFID-enabled work order tracking enables you to accurately track the time spent at each work cell and determine the speed at which the products/materials move through the assembly line. Manufacturers can use this vital information to fine-tune and improve efficiency. RFID work order tracking system also helps you to quickly trace and track work orders that are misplaced and reduce downtime.

Locate RFID Bins & Parts Wirelessly

RFID tagged bins and sub-assemblies report their exact locations wirelessly. There is no chance of human error.

Just type in the work order, customer or other job name you assigned. You will know in real time, which production workbench, room or building each and every part of the work order is at.

Our RFID work order tracking system can also generate alerts if parts are not moving as per schedule or if they are stuck in one location for too long.

Barcode Bins & Parts can get lost

If you have a barcode system, then you are relying on manual scans that are prone for errors. Many times, operators forget to scan/enter or plan to do it later and forget, shift changes happen, and the inventory status is lost. You can avoid manual errors by just sticking an RFID tag next to the barcode. You can get instant visibility of the location of the part.

Works with Existing Work Order Systems

AssetGather’s RFID Work Order Tracking system can work with any ERP system you already have. Since this works alongside your manufacturing process, there will be no impact on your current manufacturing processes.

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How AssetPulse’s RFID Tracking System transforms a traditional MES into a Real-time MES System

Companies use Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) to measure and control critical production activities, offering improved traceability, productivity and quality. MES controls process flow and reduces any chance of mistakes in the process. It gathers data every step of the way including who operated on the process, when it was done, how long each process took, equipment used for the process and other parameters . Further, it provides immediate data visibility for each work order, what the current work-in-progress items are and what stage they are in. MES systems serve numerous functions, such as equipment tracking, product serialization, labor tracking, inventory management, costing, task completion capture, and defect and resolution monitoring.

In order to fine-tune the production process and hone in on areas for improvement, a more detailed visibility is needed into these areas. This requires data capture in raw material tracking which leads to inventory management tracking; costing, WIP tracking, equipment and labor tracking. By effectively digitalizing data collection and controlling the entire system, an MES can realize manyfold improvement in manufacturing efficiency and productivity. Traditional MES systems employ barcodes and/or manual data collection during all the phases. However, the gap between physical flow of product and material and information flow in the MES is too large to provide accurate visibility.  Automated data capture via AssetPulse’s RFID tracking system transforms a traditional MES system into a Real-time MES system. 

AssetPulse’s RFID Tracking System

AssetPulse’s RFID tracking system automates data collection which includes reporting of raw material consumption in real-time, which in turn, allows for real-time updates of inventory; WIP Tracking, Tool, Process Instruction Document and Operator tracking. All this information feeds into the MES to afford real-time updates of the entire manufacturing floor including real-time status of all the jobs on the floor where potential issues crop up.

Without automated data capture from AssetPulse’s RFID tracking systems, updates to MES were being provided whenever it was convenient to enter the transaction into the system. E.g. When raw material for the next workorder is sent from ‘Supermarket’ (warehouse) to be staged at the assembly line, an ERP transaction might be completed as soon as it leaves the warehouse instead of when it actually arrives at the line. This may be done, because it is easier for the warehouse to complete this transaction since there might not be anyone at the line to receive the components at the staging area of the assembly line and then enter it into the system.

With AssetPulse’s RFID tracking system, a transaction is completed only when the inventory actually arrives at the line. Similarly, WIP status is captured in real time, i.e. exactly when the operator starts work on the WIP and when he finishes. In a traditional MES system, the start time may have been the completion of the previous operation, since that is the time the operator transacts in the system.

RFID Tracking System

AssetPulse’s RFID Tracking system automatically captures the presence of all tools and equipment used on the line, travelers, documents and even the operators working at each workstation on the line. This allows alerts to be issued if and when incorrect tools, past-due calibration-equipment and documents are present. Further, it can flag operators and technicians present on the line, who haven’t completed the necessary certifications or training to perform the work.

There are numerous such examples where deployment of RFID can vastly enrich an existing MES system in order to gain maximum improvements in operational visibility, efficiency and improved quality.

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How RFID Tracking improves Traceability in Manufacturing

Traceability in manufacturing industry includes keeping track of supplier lots, batch number and/or serial numbers that are used in the production of a specific finished good. This allows a manufacturer to trace back any part of the finished good through all internal manufacturing processes to the original raw material. Capturing this genealogy data is a requirement for regulated industries like biomedical devices, pharma, automotive and food industries. Collection and recording of this data is often a manual process, which can be time consuming, inaccurate and inefficient.

AssetPulse RFID Tracking Solution to improve Traceability in Manufacturing

Automating the capture of traceability data using RFID tracking is a step in the right direction. AssetPulse’ RFID-based traceability solutions can be used to track parts, process, equipment and people. Tracking all these four categories are essential to get a holistic view of traceability in manufacturing.

The AssetGather RFID traceability solution lets you know which supplier lots or serial numbers were used in which finished good. It allows you to monitor the entire manufacturing process right from the picking of raw material to its delivery to the assembly line and the consumption of the components on the line. This information can provide insight into where a defective part was introduced in the product manufacturing lifecycle.

Traceability in Manufacturing

At the same time, AssetGather’s RFID solutions can track and record the technicians or manual labor who worked on every stage of the manufacturing process for a specific finished good. This information can be valuable when reviewing for operator-related errors in the event of a quality issue. Manufacturing equipment and tools are RFID tagged so that they can also be tracked and recorded. It helps you to determine which equipment or tools were used on which finished good and when.

AssetPulse’s RFID Traceability solutions can play a big role in a company’s Industry 4.0 initiative. It provides insight into productivity, regulatory compliance and quality control. Automated data collection using RFID can play a big role in a company’s Manufacturing Digital Transformation program. Along with RFID-based traceability solution, AssetGather’s tight integration with Enterprise applications such as SAP, Maximo, JD Edwards etc., a slew of benefits can be realized, including gaining insight into root-cause analysis by moving upstream step-by-step to hone in on the root cause, continuous improvement, wastage monitoring,  and allowing for accurate status updates on customer orders.

With AssetPulse RFID Tracking solutions, you can automate tracking and traceability in manufacturing, automatically monitor and track products and parts throughout the manufacturing process, capture the relevant data to identify bottlenecks, analyze the root cause, rectify and improve the manufacturing process, and improve quality and overall efficiency.

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How to use RFID in Supply Chain Management and Improve Efficiency

The much-touted supply chain covers all activities that an organization performs from receiving raw material to delivering finished goods to the customer.  AssetPulse’ asset tracking solutions help you to use RFID in supply chain management and improve efficiency. The RFID tracking solutions play a vital role at almost every step of the Supply Chain, from receiving components or raw material at the receiving dock to delivering finished goods at the customer’s facility.

RFID in supply chain

1) RFID tagging of raw material increases their traceability

Leveraging AssetPulse’ RFID Asset Tracking solutions provide in depth visibility into the Supply Chain. Raw material that feeds into the manufacturing process can be RFID tagged to not only expedite the Pick Process of the Raw Material, but also enables traceability of the raw material through the manufacturing process. For specific industries where it is important to be able to trace back specific lot numbers and/or batch numbers of raw materials to a particular manufactured product, AssetPulse’ RFID solutions are a perfect fit. Tracking raw material with RFID also allows for real-time inventory tracking of raw material levels.

2) RFID tagging WIP to optimize manufacturing process

Visibility also extends to the specific equipment used and also, of course, to the product under manufacture. WIP is tracked through the manufacturing floor, thereby providing visibility into where and how long WIP stays at each phase of manufacturing.

3) Manufacturing Line Changeover is automated by RFID tagging raw materials and tools

Other benefits of using AssetPulse’ RFID Asset Tracking solutions in the Supply Chain management include Automation and Increasing Accuracy. E.g. automating the Changeover process can lead to enormous improvement in productivity and accuracy. It eliminates the meticulous and time-consuming manual tasks that need to be completed by qualified personnel, which always have potential for human error.

4) Finished Goods can be tagged with RFID tag at the end of the production line

The Supply Chain doesn’t end at completion of Manufacturing. Finished Goods need to be tracked from the Manufacturing facility through the Warehouse or Distribution Center to the Consumer/Customer. RFID tagging finished goods lends visibility to the location of the finished goods as they are moved out of the factory and into the Warehouse. The length of stay at the Warehouse can be tracked. Various metrics on productivity, inventory management and pricing can be calculated using this data.

AssetPulse’ RFID solutions can also help in the post sales phase, particularly, in industries where product is returned to the factory either as an RMA or for maintenance/repairs. There is visibility into how the product moves within the factory undergoing various tests and processes and the customer can be notified when the product is ready to be shipped back to their facility.

Since most organizations have a Supply Chain Enterprise system, an ERP system and/or an MES system, AssetPulse has performed bidirectional integrations with such Enterprise systems including SAP, JDE, Oracle, etc.

How does RFID Tracking help in Manufacturing Changeover Process?

Changeover is an important component of lean manufacturing initiatives. It is the process followed when a manufacturing line is being changed over from producing one part to another or from completing one workorder to starting a new workorder. Changeovers can last from a few hours to days or weeks, depending on how extensive the changes to the line are. This process requires a lot of attention to detail and can be vulnerable to human errors.

Errors during the Changeover process can have lasting repercussions long after the finished goods leave the line. Due to the meticulous nature of doing a Changeover process, specially trained personnel are needed to perform these tasks, which can be costly. The ultimate goal of any manufacturing organization is to achieve the fastest possible changeovers without compromising on accuracy or quality.

Changeover complexity depends more on the process itself—factors such as number of internal steps, and validations required. Rapid changeover is critical for improving flow and maximizing throughput. RFID Tracking  can go a long way in automating this process, thereby minimizing or even eliminating human errors. Aside from error prevention, the Changeover process can also be expedited, thereby reducing overall downtime of the manufacturing line.

AssetPulse RFID Tracking solution has been implemented at various manufacturing facilities to automate the Changeover process. In industries that are strictly governed by compliance requirements, using the AssetPulse RFID Tracking solution also allows for automated record keeping. Details about Raw Material or Components including Part numbers, Lot numbers, Batch numbers, etc. can be automatically recorded at each point of the Manufacturing Line during Changeover. Equipment and Tools deployed during the Changeover process can also be automatically recorded.

Not only does the AssetPulse RFID Tracking solution help automate recording of tools, equipment and components deployed during the changeover process, but it can also help with validation and detecting errors. At every step, a validation can automatically be performed to ensure the right tools, equipment and components or raw materials are placed at the right location. On incorrect placement, the user can be alerted, so the error is rectified immediately.

Tracking with RFID can also help with enforcing the sequence of steps in the Changeover process. E.g. If the Changeover process requires pre-staging to be done, before the items are moved to the actual line, the AssetPulse RFID Tracking solution can ensure the right items are pre-staged and will throw up errors if they are moved to the line without the pre-staging step.

AssetPulse customers have seen a much-improved Changeover process, that is faster, more accurate and which allows the organization to meet compliance regulations with significantly lesser time and resources.

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