How to Configure Your MES to Track and Trace And why you NEED it!

December 21, 2020
3 min read

Tracking and tracing is a validation of how you execute your manufacturing processes and ensures your components, routings, testing/validations are aligned with your specifications and accepted tolerances.  When a part or finished good has completed its cycle within your facility, you should be able to see all of the steps and “touches” that occurred during the manufacturing assembly.  

Tracking and tracing provides you the forensic data to not only show the execution and makeup of your assembly, but also it provides the peace of mind that you are only producing and shipping good parts every time.

The Benefits of Tracking & Tracing

The benefit of using an MES for tracking and tracing is in the fact that a true MES should be active in real time, controlling and validating on a shop-floor level.  A proper track and trace system will also guide the operators, control component material, verify operations and validate each and every step along the manufacturing cycle.  Manufacturers need this data for efficiencies, KPIs and continuous improvement opportunities.

Data from a solid MES system can provide multiple benefits:

  • Trend analysis – understand your data
  • Replacement of spreadsheets and paper notes
  • Reduce scrap and waste – capture defects and errors at the point of failure
  • Reduce downtime – maintenance and preventive maintenance schedules and data
  • Reduce costs – identifying suspect material and containing it, error proofing to ensure you use and ship the right parts every time, tools to eliminate waste by focusing on efficiencies and performance.

How to Configure your MES for Track & Trace

In order to configure an MES for your facility make sure you focus on your traceability needs. 

  • Define the parts you are going to build
  • Define the components necessary to complete these parts
  • Define how you are going to identify these parts or components.  Are you able to barcode pieces for serialization or do you require identifying by batches because barcoding is not possible on each part?
  • Define the routing or path that the parts need to travel in order to complete the manufacturing cycle
  • Define the values you need to collect at each of your operations along your routing.  These values should validate the measurements/tolerances required for your parts to be considered good and within your specifications.
  • Define the machining and tooling required to satisfy your specifications

If you have these items identified then you are well on your way to configuring what your MES needs to look like and how it needs to execute for tracking and tracing.  Putting these pieces together provides you the ability to trace material from the time it enters your facility, until the time it is shipped out of your facility.  You also will have the data validating the components, routing, machine values, tooling, etc… to analyze and provide the data to back up your decision making processes and initiatives for continuous improvement.