How Do You Keep Track of Work in Progress?

How Do You Keep Track of Work in Progress?

How Do You Keep Track of Work in Progress?

The factory floor is buzzing, production orders are piling up, and customers are getting frustrated as delivery times increase. Sounds familiar? 

There is a way to increase and organise output even when you don’t know the status of in-production units. How? 

With a manufacturing execution system (MES) that tracks work in progress in real-time. 

WIP tracking is a game-changer for manufacturing operations. The WIP inventory management system can reduce customer complaints by providing visibility into which orders are still on the shop floor and which work centres they are held up at.  

This blog will explain how a modern MES with robust WIP capabilities can improve manufacturing performance.  

How to Track Work in Progress in Manufacturing 

Let us see how manufacturers can track work in progress to make their operations more efficient: 

Define Production Stages 

When a new production order enters the manufacturing system, it initiates the predefined workflow for each product. The software maps out every required stage to manufacture the item.  

For example, an appliance order might have these stages:  

  • Receive raw materials. 
  • Shape metal housing. 
  • Assemble internal components. 
  • Test the electrical system. 
  • Package finished product. 
  • Load for shipping. 

Marking the order as ‘received’ signals production has started, and the appliance is now WIP. 

Status Update at Each Stage of Production 

Along with understanding production stages, the manufacturing system tracks the time duration at each stage. It records how long each product takes to pass through machining, assembly, testing, and packaging. This makes it easy to generate reports showing the average duration for each manufacturing step. 

Managers can quickly identify areas of confusion and where orders get delayed. For instance, data may reveal which products regularly take the longest during component testing. 

Digital Dashboard 

With all this WIP data, the system generates a real-time digital dashboard that managers can monitor. This overview shows which orders have been received, which are still being prepped, and which are almost ready for delivery.  

The dashboard updates instantaneously as the order status changes in the system. This is beneficial for WIP inventory, where delays might occur. 

Track Usage and Waste 

The software tracks overall raw material and product usage daily or weekly. This helps identify faster-selling items to keep in ample supply.  

The system can also log scrapped and excess products that are not usable. This data helps minimise waste by optimising purchasing and production volumes. 

Optimise Levels and WIP Inventory  

By providing insights into inventory levels and WIP status, the system enables better purchasing, production, and sales coordination.  

Managers have the metrics to optimise inventories, fine-tune workflows, and ensure just-in-time manufacturing based on orders. 

Benefits of Using WIP Inventory Management Software 

Using software that tracks the levels of work in progress tasks has the following advantages: 

  • The manufacturing system streamlines workflow, making manufacturing work in progress faster. 
  • It enables first-in, first-out order processing for accurate delivery schedules. 
  • Manufacturers can identify bottlenecks and pinpoint where production delays are happening to facilitate manufacturing work in progress. 
  • It enables real-time dynamic staffing in the manufacturing unit to avoid backlogs during busy periods. 

Final Thoughts 

Managing work in progress is critical for manufacturers to deliver orders quickly and efficiently. MES software like Quinta gives plant managers real-time visibility into WIP status across all stages of production. 

Quinta goes beyond work in progress and tracks inventory levels, scrap, billings, etc. Manufacturers can achieve new productivity levels, profitability, and customer satisfaction by implementing Quinta MES. 

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