Work in Progress Management

Work in Progress (WIP) management is a wide concept that comprises everything that occurs between the initial movement of raw materials to the placement of finished goods into inventory. WIP management solutions range from small, highly focused measures like inventory management to broad, end-to-end projects incorporating system connections and process automation. The ultimate goals of any of these solutions are to keep WIP flowing efficiently, eliminate unnecessary inventory accumulation, and support several production objectives at the same time. While narrow-scope solutions produce efficiency and benefits, WIP management strategies that provide insight throughout the whole supply chain produce the best outcomes.

Work in progress can present many challenges in manufacturing. From costing to status and quality, you need visibility throughout the manufacturing process. Many manufacturing industries still use spreadsheets or legacy systems which don’t allow for real-time work in process tracking.

An automated WIP tracking system built using SAP Digital Manufacturing solutions brings visibility to your production process.

Track work in the progress throughout your workflow with detailed visibility into your production status.

Automatically collect product data from barcodes, RFID and machines.

Time-stamp each process step along the way, identifying user, workstation, machine and more.

A manufacturing execution system (MES) executes production orders in manual, semi-automated, or high-automated mode (depending on the factory’s automation level) and is thus crucial for WIP management because it is the system of record for WIP management. The data gathered and stored in the MES on the manufacturing process (particularly WIP and resource-related procedures) offer the granularity of information necessary for real-time production status evaluation.

It becomes feasible to display the acquired data for reporting purposes and to further enhance production controls by allowing information to flow freely between operators, MES, ERP, and shop floor control systems.

This data may be utilized to guarantee that the material is treated with the appropriate equipment at the appropriate phase in the process flow, hence optimizing the WIP flow. Even though the MES is responsible for the execution of the production activities, other automation components – often “outside” the MES system – are also used. In the case of manually operated production, outside automation components can be used to make processing proposals or decisions.  In the case of automated production operations, automation components outside the MES are used to determine “best” lots at “correct” tools for processing and answer other questions, such as, when to perform tool qualifications, when to convert the setup state of tools, when to do maintenance, where to transport lots next, where to store material next, and many others.

Benefits of Real-Time Visibility to WIP

  • Improve traceability, productivity, accuracy and value of your work-in-progress.
  • Track raw materials to finished product, in real-time, while sending partial confirmations to SAP ERP.
  • Detect errors and prevent mistakes
  • Ensure information is shared between departments in real-time
  • Provide costing at any completed operation
  • View raw material/component lots
  • Track quality control of materials, WIP and finished goods
  • Track and manage job scheduling, completed jobs, time tracking and more.init

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