Achieving Total Data Awareness: How Traceability Improves Manufacturing
- Created on Thursday, 12 June 2014
- Aegis Software
Traceability has variable and narrow definitions depending on the industry, product, and application. As a result, narrow solutions are often adopted yet only deliver the required data scope for a subset of a specific product. The issue with this approach is twofold: First, it only delivers a short-term solution, as traceability requirements expand continuously. Second, it neglects a significant opportunity to achieve real process intelligence and control.
A holistic approach to traceability means that the digital infrastructure of the factory is gathering all product and process data available, regardless of whether or not it is required for traceability reporting. This robust data gathering extends vertically from the low level, such as circuit card components, up through subassemblies, and into the final large-scale system assembly—often across factories. It extends laterally across the factory from the warehouse, shop floor materials, along the process, and out through testing and shipment. It must provide a forward query of a unit identifier to recall its contents and lifecycle, and a reverse query of a material lot to contain a recall.
Such a holistic approach to traceability is not for traceability’s sake—it yields invaluable process and product intelligence of such scope and depth that real manufacturing improvement can be achieved by the managers and engineers responsible for the factories. This is the true value of traceability—drive efficiency and quality improvement via total data awareness. Traceability should be regarded as a natural byproduct of having total data awareness of product, process, materials, test and quality data.
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