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Real-Time Work-in-Process and Materials Tracking Systems

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BellHawk Work-in-Process Tracking Methods

The BellHawk production and materials tracking system tracks the flow of material into and out of job steps. It tracks raw materials used on each job step and finished goods our from the final job step. It tracks Work-in-Process (WIP) transfers between job steps as well as containers of barcoded WIP that are awaiting processing. BellHawk can also track scrap materials and rework operations.

 data capture steps

BellHawk tracks the status of each work order in real-time and can also track labor and machine time required for a work order operation. BellHawk supports the splitting of work orders into multiple batches and also the forming of a run-group where multiple work orders are processed at the same time on the same equipment.

The job and WIP scanning can be performed using a barcoded traveler that is produced for each work order by BellHawk. Alternately the tracking can be performed using a touch panel display, as shown below.

On each barcoded traveler, there is a barcode for the work order and barcodes for each operation. The work order and operation barcodes are scanned by the user, along with a barcode on the user's badge when they start and stop work on an operation. When they scan out of an operation they can indicate whether they are going on break or have finished the operation.

The work order and operation barcodes are also scanned when recording materials into a job step along with the license-plate tracking barcodes on the items or containers from which materials are consumed. BellHawk will check that materials scanned in are the right ones and also, if needed, that they have passed QC inspection and warn the operator if there is a problem.

Bills of material and routes are stored within BellHawk in a combined Bill of Material Based Routing (BOMBR) tree structure. This is more sophisticated that the more common separate bill of materials and route approach used by many manufacturing systems.

In BellHawk, the materials, the labor and the machine time expected to be consumed are specified for each route step operation along with the materials expected to be produced. This enables the allowed materials to be compared with those actually consumed on each job step. It also enables BellHawk to generate a report of expected cost versus actual cost to produce products. The BOMBR approach also allows BellHawk to store recipes for mixing batches of product in one step and then to store the packaging materials in another step.

The bills of material and routes to make items can be entered and stored in BellHawk or they can be imported from an external system. If stored within BellHawk they can be copied to become the bills and routes for jobs. Alternately the bills and routes for jobs can be imported directly from an external system. Jobs can be initiated within BellHawk or they can be initiated from an external system.

Materials can be scanned into a job step using a PC or mobile computer. This causes the inventory to be relieved from the container or location from which it was scanned. Alternately material can be recorded as being moved to a floor stock location. Completion of the job step then causes the floor stock to be decremented based on the quantity of WIP out from the job step.

Any materials left over from a job step can be recorded as returned to inventory using a PC or a mobile computer. This includes butt rolls and other such materials that can be barcoded and tracked for re-use.

WIP can be recorded as directly transferred from job step to job step or it can be placed in a barcoded container and scanned out from the job step. In this case, it is treated as temporary inventory until it is scanned into the next job step.

When finished goods are scanned out of a BellHawk job, their containers have tracking barcodes applied, typically at the carton or pallet level. These barcodes are then used to track the materials until they are shipped to customers or consumed on other jobs.

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