Bluetooth WIP Inventory Software: Manufacturing Work In Progress Tracking With Bluetooth Beacon Tags

Use Bluetooth technology to automate work in progress (WIP) tracking and inventory management for the custom manufacturing projects.

Using Bluetooth Technology For WIP Inventory And Progress Tracking

Manage work in progress (WIP) inventory, track production process for the manufacturing orders efficiently without a need to constantly scan every single part. Label materials, parts, and components included in the bill of materials for the manufacturing assemblies with the BLE beacon tags as you receive inventory in the warehouse. Once the bill of materials inventory is labeled, track inventory movement through the manufacturing production process automatically using smartphones or stationary Bluetooth low energy (BLE) gateways.

Here is how Bluetooth technology optimizes your manufacturing production process and WIP inventory management:

  • BOM inventory list management for the manufacturing orders. Manage bill of materials lists for generic and serialized assemblies. Order parts, components and materials against the list. Verify that all materials and parts are received on time and there are no delays.
  • Easy and fast WIP inventory tracking from receiving to the end product. Label incoming bill of materials inventory with the BLE beacon tags, and track inventory through the manufacturing process in the QR Inventory mobile application. Access WIP inventory location and status in real time.
  • Review WIP inventory movement history. Access detailed reports and statistics on the WIP inventory flow. Know when each part and components on the BOM list was received, where it is in the production process, and when it was installed on the assembly or a sub-assembly.
  • Manufacturing orders traceability. Make sure you have a complete traceability for the manufacturing orders. Track lot numbers of components installed on serialized assemblies, trace each component back to its origin and record / access required details.
  • WIP tracking with a smartphone or Bluetooth gateways. Track manufacturing orders as they move through the manufacturing process using smartphones for BLE tags scanning, or use Bluetooth gateways at each production station to completely automate WIP tracking.
  • Track WIP inventory on the racks, skids and pallets. When a pallet, rack or skid is moved between locations, all inventory on the pallet moves along with it. No need to track individual components separately as you move pallets with the bill of materials inventory for the assembly around the warehouse, to the staging area and to the production.
  • Live WIP status. WIP tracking software reports give you the live view into the manufacturing production process. Review build status of the complex, serialized assemblies: what production step it is on, what is installed, when, quality control forms, lot numbers of components and materials used, time required for each operation, if any problems were encountered, etc.
  • Use IoT sensors to support correct environmental conditions. For the temperature and humidity sensitive products and components install temperature and / or humidity IoT sensors at the staging and production zones. Receive alerts if the conditions become harmful for the components and parts, WIP assemblies or the finished products.
  

Automated Bluetooth WIP Inventory Tracking

Use Bluetooth technology (BLE beacon tags) to automate WIP inventory tracking. Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacon tags is the only hardware you need. Company employees can use smartphones to bulk scan WIP inventory as they move parts and materials from storage to staging to production. You can also use Bluetooth receivers (gateways) for tracking WIP inventory and manufacturing orders without any human participation.

Bluetooth inventory tracking is a less expensive and more robust alternative to RFID inventory tracking. As with RFID tags, you can bulk scan WIP inventory as you move it from storage to staging to production, and install on the assembly. Unlike RFID, company employees can track WIP inventory with the smartphones. Ability to use smartphones not only makes the whole WIP tracking system less expensive and more robust, but also more familiar to the company employees - since they use their smartphones every day.

When inventory is tagged with the BLE beacons shop floor employees do not need to find a label and manually scan each part or component. Then can bulk scan a whole batch of WIP inventory as it is moved along the process by clicking a button in the mobile application, without even touching any of the items. They can also enter any data that need to be collected on each step of the manufacturing process - the option not available with RFID readers.

If you prefer to make the whole process completely automatic, use stationary bluetooth receivers (gateways) to automatically track WIP inventory as it moves through the manufacturing process stages. The drawback of this method is the additional cost of the bluetooth receivers, and the fact that no additional information on the WIP inventory can be collected.

Regardless of which WIP inventory trackers you select - smartphones or stationary bluetooth gateways - WIP inventory information is transmitted to the backend cloud software in real time. WIP tracking system administrators can review live status of the WIP inventory and manufacturing orders on the office computers via a secure web interface.
  

WIP Tracking Software With End-To-End Traceability

Track parts, components and materials by lot numbers or serial numbers. Trace each lot from origin to use in the final product.

QR Inventory software fully supports lot numbers and serial numbers tracking. When you receive a new raw materials lot, record all data that you need to keep track of in the mobile application. Once a new lot number is in the system, you can automatically track it through the manufacturing process steps. Authorized employees can access a component, part or material lot information on a smartphone at any moment, and add information during production if necessary.

As a result, you know the whole history of each product lot. You know which lot numbers or serial numbers of components are installed on each assembly or sub-assembly, the entire history and recorded information for each component.

Along with the lot numbers / serial numbers tracking, you can fill out quality control forms, inspection checklists and / or testing results forms on the smartphone, and add completed forms to the final product documentation.

If there is a reported problem, you have all required information to address it quickly and efficiently.
  

Live WIP Status For The Manufacturing Orders

Have a real time visibility into the manufacturing orders progress for the entire team.

All work in progress data collected on the shop floor through the Bluetooth beacon tags and a smartphone are sent to a backend WIP tracking software in real time. Authorized team members can access all required information on each manufacturing order:

  • Manufacturing order bill of materials (BOM) list
  • BOM inventory status, location and transactions history
  • Manufacturing order status and production history: completed steps, who completed them, what time did it take, if there were any problems, etc.
  • Lot numbers and serial numbers of used parts, components and materials
  • Completed product acceptance, quality control and testing forms


If something does not go according to the production plan: failed testing or inspection, missing inventory on the BOM list, machinery problems, change in the environmental conditions that could cause problems to the components and / or the final product - receive immediate alerts and correct the situation fast.
  

WIP Tracking Software With Custom Data Collection

Record and access all required manufacturing order information for a complete WIP traceability.

QR Inventory software gives warehouse and shop floor employees the right tools to record all WIP data that you need for traceability and accountability. They use smartphones for BLE beacon tags scanning, tracking WIP inventory, recording data and filling out mobile forms. Administrators access all collected data in real time on the office computers, for the current and past manufacturing orders. Customize what data you need to collect and which forms to fill out via a secure admin web interface:

  • Collect any information that you need on the parts, components and materials used in production. Define what information you need to collect via QR Inventory software web dashboard.
  • Track incoming parts, components and materials by SKU, lot number or serial number. Record required information on each lot number or serialized components.
  • Create granular warehouse and staging locations to organize BOM inventory for the complex multi-level assemblies. Automatically track inventory movement using either smartphones or Bluetooth gateways for capturing BLE beacons data.
  • Create custom workflow and steps for your manufacturing process.
  • Track manufacturing order through the steps with a smartphone and BLE beacons scanning, or automatically using Bluetooth receivers / gateways.
  • Create custom mobile forms that shop floor employees will fill out on the smartphones or tablets during the production process.
  • ... and more
  

Hardware For The IoT WIP Tracking (BLE Beacon Tags And Optional BLE Gateways)

You need the following components for the IoT WIP tracking using Bluetooth technology:

  • Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons.
  • A way to transfer BLE beacons data to the cloud. You can use either smartphones or dedicated Bluetooth gateways.
  • A cloud software that accepts and processes BLE beacons data and produces WIP reports.


Using a smartphone for WIP tracking requires some involvement of the shop floor employees. They will need to use a WIP tracking mobile application to scan BLE beacons, enter additional information if required, and submit data to the server. Depending on the specific function, a mobile application will either scan all nearby BLE beacons (when you need to bulk move inventory between locations), or find a closest BLE beacon when you need to access inventory, sun-assembly or assembly information or fill out a form.

With the dedicated Bluetooth gateways WIP tracking is done automatically without any human participation. However if / when you need to collect additional data on the process or fill out mobile forms, a shop floor employee will need to get involved and do this using a smartphone.

Physically BLE beacon is a small lightweight plastic tag. It is round, square, or rectangular, an inch or two in width and length, and around half an inch or less thick. Bluetooth beacon tags do not require a line of sight to be scanned. You can put them inside boxes or containers, attach to the pallets, or attach them directly to the components and assemblies. QR Inventory software will work with the Bluetooth low energy beacon tags purchased from us, as well as with the bluetooth tags purchased from the other vendors.

If you will want to use Bluetooth gateways for tracking WIP inventory and manufacturing orders, you will need to install a gateway at each process station and in the inventory staging areas. Bluetooth gateways will automatically pick up a signal from the BLE beacons that are coming in the range, and transmit these data to the backend WIP tracking software for processing.


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QR Inventory and QR Mobile Data are brand names of inventory management and mobile forms software by AHG -- a provider of mobile and cloud-based applications for business. Our unified mobile platform improves business operations efficiency by eliminating manual tasks and physical paperwork, while providing a secure cloud storage for the business records, real time access to business data for all stakeholders, comprehensive data reporting and analytics. Headquartered in beautiful Boise, Idaho, AHG software is used to manage hundreds of millions of dollars annually in inventory and assets.

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