Traditional manufacturing software typically focuses on batch manufacture where discrete batches of goods are made for sale or stock. This is of little use to companies who mix or blend ingredients such as many food, chemical and pharmaceutical companies.
Process manufacturing software allows for yield, decimal places in stock, and inventory calculated by recipe or formula. The system copes with co-products and by-products, recognizing that when you mix ingredients together, you sometimes produce additional products, some of which you may want (co-products) and some you don’t (by-products). Another differentiation is that products created by process manufacturing cannot be disassembled. The recipe or formula process involved in production essentially transforms the raw materials to something else. You cannot take a baked cake and disassemble it to restore the eggs, sugar, and flour in their original form the way you can take a computer apart and have individual, usable parts.
SOS Inventory can, and does, address both markets.
Manufacturing Process Flow
Software designed to facilitate the management of all the processes is programmed to track activities that take place at each stage of production, including how much of each raw ingredient is used and how it is manipulated to produce the final product.
SOS Inventory software does this brilliantly by creating processes from the quantities of raw materials you designate. Every time a process is initiated, the corresponding raw material quantities are updated in the central software system in real time, meaning that:
- The business always knows raw material quantities and when to reorder to avoid dropping below minimum stock levels and causing production standstills or finished product shortages.
- Every product’s origin is traced for proper quality control per regulations, expiration dates, etc.
The manufacturer can designate lot numbers to correspond with batches of product enabling traceability from the time the raw materials arrive from suppliers through delivery at the customer’s doorstep.
Many of these products are perishable, demanding tracking and traceability functionality to safeguard product quality and consumer health. Food, pharmaceutical and medical businesses all fall under this classification. When a product must be consumed within a time frame to ensure freshness or a medication administered prior to its expiration date, the finished product and every ingredient used to make it must be tracked throughout the production cycle until consumption. By performing a lot number search, the user can do a backward or forward search to see exactly which materials were used to create what products, where they currently are and where they have been.
Perishable products could be subject to recalls and the manufacturer must be able to trace affected products back to source ingredients. Should one of the ingredients be suspect, you need to be able to track forward to see everywhere that ingredient has been used to drive the recall.
If an ingredient’s quality is compromised, the business can track forward to see where the ingredient has been used, enabling a recall that will withdraw the contaminated products quickly, thereby reducing consumer exposure to the poor quality product. With lot and serial number traceability, you are limiting the amount of product that must be recalled, as you can simply recall the contaminated lots rather than recalling everything produced over a given time period.
Knowing precisely which products are impacted will save time, money, and protect the business’s reputation.
Complete Process Control with SOS Inventory
Processes Manufacturing in SOS Inventory supports an unlimited number of inputs and outputs, offering complete flexibility to handle not only simple manufacturing but also cope with co-products and by-products.The manufacturer can determine what occurs in each process – the raw materials and quantities used, the resulting product or by-product, and whether the result contains any waste. This step involves a Process Template which records the formula or recipe used in production. Any time that process occurs, SOS will log a transaction indicating the date it occurred.
When you save a process transaction, inventory of the input items goes down and inventory of the output items goes up. The cost of the input items is distributed proportionally across the output items, according to the standard cost of the output items.
Based on the percentage of waste items and non-waste items, the system will calculate a yield for your process. This helps you to evaluate materials from different suppliers, for example, to determine which gives you the best outputs in your manufacturing. Waste items go into inventory like any other inventory item, so that they can be tracked and used or traceably disposed of later as needed.
Your goal is to improve productivity, increase your bottom line and grow your business. You need the right tool to do the job. SOS Inventory was created to give SME process manufacturers complete control over inventory management and operations. Why not get started with a free trial today?
Batch vs. Continuous
Comparing batch to continuous manufacturing is like comparing a staircase to an escalator; on a staircase, you take one step at a time and on an escalator, a single motion takes you to the next floor. In batch manufacturing, there may be checks in balances in between stages which pause production between workstations. Artificial intelligence has facilitated the transition of more industries from batch manufacturing to continuous process manufacturing.
Continuous Process Manufacturing
Products that are moved through assembly nonstop employ continuous process manufacturing. According to the FDA, the pharmaceuticals industry has recently migrated from a batch process involving many stages to continuous manufacturing thanks to innovations in manufacturing technology. Moving away from the older technology will amount to fewer drug recalls and shortages. In a batch manufacturing process, the pauses in between stages allowed for testing. When testing occurred off-site, the shipping process often impacted the quality of the products. The automation of quality control testing integrated directly into the manufacturing process saves time, error, degradation of ingredients, and faster production.