Products, bins, batches, and lots. There is a relationship between quality assurance, visibility, and traceability that is necessary in today’s world. Even if you do not have a large inventory sitting in a warehouse, logistics are complex. Pair that with inadequate management practices, limited visibility, and zero traceability, and you have a recipe for serious, costly mistakes. That is why you need the power of a WMS from WiSys, an ERP, like SAP Business One, or both.
Here is how a WMS and SAP Business One helps with the visibility and traceability of SMBs.
What is a WMS?
A warehouse management system, or WMS, is software that has been designed to track the movement of inventory and record data in real-time. Essentially, a WMS provides visibility into the processes of your business, helping you maximize space and labor utilization, as well as the organization and flow of your inventory movement.
The flexible Agility suite, for example, is a WMS from WiSys that can be integrated into an ERP like SAP Business One. Upon doing so, you create a stream of data that is consistent and always up to date. When new products arrive and are scanned with a handheld device, that information is automatically sent to SAP Business One, eliminating the middleman, so that inventory counts are adjusted and tracked. Agility WMS can also improve product and batch traceability in a number of ways.
What is Product and Batch Traceability?
Product and batch traceability are not entirely different. First and foremost, what is traceability? This refers to the ability to track a product (or a batch of products) through the entire production line, including processing, distribution, and even raw material procurement in some industries.
For example, if you are running a WMS and SAP Business One, you can use these systems to order raw materials, scan those materials and give them a bin number, process those items, assign an SKU, and then put one of those items into an order to be sent to the customer. Not only that, but you will have information from the barcode or RFID tag on the raw materials that pertain to where those materials came from. Should something happen, such as a defect, the entire process can be tracked through the supply chain.
Having enhanced visibility and traceability through a WMS helps your SMB comply with:
- Safety compliance: Being able to trace products based on their batch or bin number or RFID tag makes verification of compliance easier for both manufacturing and distribution.
- Hygiene standards: Implementing a WMS helps you trace which items could have been affected because of poor hygiene, spillage, poor preservation, temperature fluctuations, and so on.
- Quality assurance: When you can monitor products from procurement to distribution, you eliminate many errors that occur. Plus, a WMS records all the information, so you can trace and identify any items that have issues and quickly recall those goods.
How is Product Traceability Regulated?
Traceability is something that should not be overlooked, especially if you are an SMB. In certain sectors, traceability is defined by certain legislation. Take the food industry, for example. Traceability is required for every single ingredient, including the origins of an ingredient, how it was processed, and where it went. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is very stringent when it comes to the traceability of both food and pharmaceuticals.
The Drug Supply Chain Security Act is one instance. Through this act, manufacturers, repackagers, drug distributors, and pharmacies throughout the drug supply chain must be able to provide the following information about a product whenever asked:
- Batch identifier
- Transaction date
- Expiration date
- Quantity received and supplied
- Processes the product has experienced throughout the supply chain
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) also implements product traceability in many of its standards, such as ISO 9001. In 2007, the 22205 International Standard placed a greater demand on traceability within the food chain.
Benefits of Using a WMS to Improve Visibility and Traceability
Whatever industry you are in, batch and product traceability are essential. By using a WMS like WiSys’ Agility and SAP Business One, you can greatly improve the visibility and traceability of all products and their information.
Here is exactly how a WMS helps your business:
- Quick search and data management. Easily trace items back to their batch or bin location for packaging and shipment, as well as for recall.
- Plan pick-and-pull routes. Designate routes throughout the warehouse to accelerate productivity and efficiency.
- Utilize strategies, including FIFO and LIFO. Being able to track the data of each product or stock helps you decide the best methods for getting products off the shelves faster, minimizing inventory that goes bad before they can be purchased.
- Eliminate human error. Since manual processes have been eliminated, order accuracy is increased.
- Build a strong customer relationship. Implementing more traceability guarantees more accuracy and also keeps the supply chain moving forward, which keeps customers and distributors appeased.
- Improve recalls. Being able to track which good is defective improves the recall process, helping you pull the affected batches more quickly.
Get More Visibility and Traceability With WiSys
As you can see, a WMS is more than a way to scan and track inventory within your business. Having information that is plainly visible within your warehouse and being able to track materials back to the source is pivotal today. WiSys can help you automate and implement a flexible WMS solution, such as Agility alongside SAP Business One. To learn more about our solutions for your SMB, give us a call today at 770-955-3550.