17 Mar Improving Data Accuracy and Product Traceability throughout the Supply Chain with Epicor ERP
Author: Kurt Hague
Many business, particularly in the aerospace, medical supply and device, and electronics industries, have traceability requirements for their raw materials and finished goods. Epicor ERP is well-suited to support these traceability requirements through serial number tracking and lot tracking.
Epicor provides several levels of serial number tracking to suit our customers’ specific requirements. Simple, outbound serial tracking can be selected and a unique serial number used for each unit required at the time of shipment. Full inbound and outbound serial tracking will require serial numbers at purchase order receipt, during specified job operations, and again at shipping. Epicor even allows customers to define at which operations serial numbers are required, and this can be varied by part. The most rigorous serial number tracking is called lower-level serial tracking, which requires customers to match lower-level serial numbers (e.g., a circuit board) with the finished-good serial number. Obviously, each of these options brings with it the need to assign and select serial numbers that can translate into a higher data-entry load for the customer. For serialized parts, Epicor’s Serial Number Tracker allows customers to see all transactions for the serial number, including the job or purchase order that produced it, the employees that completed the job operations, QA inspection results, the customer that purchased the serialized part, and the RMA number if the part is returned for some reason. In other words, you can see the serial number’s entire life history in one location
Lot tracking is similar to serial number tracking, but typically applies a unique identifier to a batch or group of parts (as opposed to individual units) that are either received (in the case of purchased parts) or manufactured together on a production job (in the case of manufactured parts). Epicor ERP’s lot tracking system allows the user to specify which lot attributes need to be captured, including original manufacture date, best-before date, heat number, batch number and expiration date. Epicor’s ICE Toolset can then be used to send notifications a certain number of days before the best-before or expiration date, allowing customers to make important business decisions such as discounting or donating expiring lots of products. Epicor’s Lot Tracker provides the same type of visibility as the Serial Number Tracker, so all transactions involving a specific lot can be traced forward and backward as required.
The process for deciding on a strategy to best utilize the Epicor tools comes from fully understanding and modeling the use of these tools. EpiCenter’s team of senior manufacturing consultants can guide the client through the process of establishing a sound strategy for traceability, deciding which tools to use and how to use them, and then training the client in how to implement it.