WIP Work-in-Progress Tracking System for Manufacturing Units

Work-in-Progress Tracking System for Manufacturing Units

WIP Work-in-Progress Tracking System for Manufacturing Units

For big industrial operations that require elaborate manufacturing processes, how do you think they keep track of it? Through software that effectively tracks work in progress and helps streamline processes 

Even though the manufacturing industry has been lagging since 2011, India employed nearly 35.6 million employees in 2023. With the number being so large, managing the manufacturing industry with effective solutions is critical.   

This blog will discuss best practices for implementing work in progress and managing WIP manufacturing in industries.  

WIP manufacturing increases productivity and minimises waste. Learn what you can do with the right progress-tracking tool. 

Understanding WIP  

Simply put, work in progress in manufacturing refers to the raw materials and semi-finished goods at various stages of the manufacturing process. WIP inventory includes all that has entered the production process but is not yet a finished good. 

WIP or Work in progress plays a crucial role in manufacturing units, directly impacting cycle times, throughput, and on-time delivery. 

However, managing work in progress manually presents several challenges, such as: 

  • Complex manufacturing processes with interdependent steps complicate WIP monitoring.  
  • Lack of coordination and information sharing across production units can lead to excess or insufficient stocks.  
  • Manual and paper-based tracking of WIP status makes the process very time-consuming and prone to errors. 

The basic formula for calculating WIP is:  

WIP = (inventory goods in process + raw materials used + direct labour + factory overheads) – ending inventory. 

This formula is for a basic understanding as it is not possible to calculate WIP in pen and paper. Manufacturing companies use modern MES or manufacturing execution systems that do it for them.  

The Importance of Work in Progress in Manufacturing 

Tracking WIP or work in progress can increase profitability and productivity. But how?  

Real-time visibility into the WIP manufacturing process enables better planning and scheduling to optimise production flow. WIP tracking provides actionable data to identify bottlenecks causing delays.  

It promotes demand-based production instead of pushing excess inventories into the production line. 

Managers can monitor cycle times for work order completion and quickly identify anomalies. This allows them to take preventive measures and not miss delivery dates.  

Advanced systems allow trend analysis of historical WIP data. It aids the planning of resources and materials as per production requirements. 

The data derived from the tracking enables smarter decisions regarding optimal WIP levels to reduce tied-up capital. It provides the data to balance utilisation across production lines and minimises the number of semi-finished goods. 

Best Practices of WIP Manufacturing Process Tracking 

Some of the best practices to manage WIP inventory and production stages in an industry are: 

  • Implement digital WIP tracking solutions like manufacturing execution systems (MES) to enable real-time visibility and replace manual paper-based tracking. 
  • Integrate WIP tracking system across production units- from raw material issuance to finished goods delivery. 
  • Note critical production data at each process step to track WIP status and position.  
  • Set WIP cycle time targets for work order completion based on historical analysis. Trigger alerts if the cycle times get misdirected. 
  • Establish optimal WIP levels and reorder points for each production line to minimise excess WIP inventory. 
  • Monitor backlogs and stop the production of new orders based on WIP levels. 
  • Analyse trends in WIP cycle times and adjust production planning accordingly to drive continuous improvement. 
  • Collaborate with suppliers and vendors for raw material availability to match production plans and WIP requirements. 

Bottom Line 

The bottom line is implementing a new work-in-progress tracker is essential for manufacturers. It improves productivity, reduces costs, and meets delivery commitments. The best practices discussed, such as real-time visibility, cycle time monitoring, and optimal WIP levels, enable lean and efficient manufacturing. 

Taking the help of an MES system can make the job easier. One such MES system is by Quinta. With features like production scheduling, work order management, real-time monitoring, and analytics, Quinta MES provides end-to-end WIP tracking. 


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