Manufacturers need to be sure the documentation in the manufacturing and logistics processes of their products is complete, whether it’s because of legal regulations or for quality assurance reasons.
However, this demand for complete documentation considerably increases the complexity of the processes. Manufacturers document every activity and decision relating to their product, starting from procurement, through production and logistics, to the customer.
Batch production is shaping the process industry. Continuous batch traceability would of course be significant benefit. Each movement of goods along the value chain inherits the batch number and new properties are added. This ensures that each individual component going into the product can be traced. Traceability means it is always possible to trace what has happened to the individual batch and how it has developed. Companies are also expanding their perspective across the entire supply chain and life cycle of their products in terms of comprehensive “product stewardship”. In some places, therefore, batch tracing is not limited to the manufacturer’s internal processes.
An ERP system with integrated batch tracking is the recommended option to avoid high manual effort and avoid data entry errors. This type of solution helps even smaller companies keep track of their supply chains and efficiently trace their batches. Companies with strongly hierarchical IT structures, however, find that a significant portion of the data is available at lower levels or even only at the process level. As digitization progresses, not only does more data accrue in real time, but there are increasingly more opportunities to make the data accessible to the ERP system. There is an obvious opportunity here to utilize the collected information from batch tracking to optimize the process flows. In this way, patterns can be derived from the history, which in turn can be utilized to assess current changes that lead to prompt decisions.
Many things become easier when a quality assurance system integrated into the ERP system is installed. If a faulty batch has slipped through and left your company, you can start the retrieval process immediately at the push of a button. The days of searching through folders to find individual customers who have been affected and then writing to them individually are gone. Affected customers are informed automatically and can react immediately.