Posted by Ben Wiley on Feb 4, 2016 9:30:00 AM

Why Our Metal Fabrication Business is Barcoding all WIP

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We've spent some time recently talking about our ongoing efforts that are contributing to making Wiley Metal the most efficient and effective metal fabrication company we can be. We are being proactive as we move through our ISO 9001 Certification. We are making use of Water Spiders, and 5s Shadow Boxes. Here, we want to address why we have chosen to take steps in barcoding our WIP's. (Work in Progress).

What Is WIP?

A WIP is actually part of your inventory. It is somewhere between being raw material and a finished product. For us at Wiley Metal, it can be a piece of steel that has just started to be manipulated in the metal fabrication process or it can be an almost completely assembled RV door. An item may be a WIP for just a short period, or when multiple process are involved, it could be a WIP for days or more.

Benefits of Barcoding WIP

The more WIP's you have, the larger role barcoding can play in tracking that inventory. Here are some of the benefits we expect to realize when barcoding all WIP is completed at Wiley Metal by the end of February.

  • Less paperwork and handwriting. Barcoding allows us a much simpler, much less cumbersome way of tracking unfinished material through the process. Clipboards and pens and pencils are replaced by a barcode label printer and scanner.

  • More efficient. Barcoding's “scan and go” feature makes better use of our time.

  • More trace-ability. Once a WIP is barcoded, it adds a new level of trackability. It can be tracked from the moment it first became a WIP to it's ultimate “born-on date” when it's finished. It can tell us, and if so chosen, a client, how many and where products are in the metal fabrication process.

  • Improved inventory control. Not only will we have better control of each order, we will have a better overall “vision” of how multiple orders impact our inventory and better improve our raw material ordering process.

  • More agility. Barcoding WIP will help our agility when reacting to orders that have been reduced, increased, and those that suddenly become urgent. It gives us the ability to be more agile to our customers needs.

  • Accountability. Barcoding helps keeps our team and our suppliers accountable. It helps ensure materials are being moved through the process in a timely fashion. If there are issues with the quality of a particular raw material, we can quickly determine who that supplier was.

We also fully expect that what we learn from barcoding WIP will lead to other, yet unknown, improvements in our process. Who know, maybe it will eventually allow our customers to completely track their orders online from their own offices.

As 2016 fades from becoming a "new" year, it promises to be one of improvement for Wiley Metal. Thanks for joining on us on this journey!

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Topics: Manufacturing Business

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