Starting in 2010, one of ChemRite’s main projects has been the development of an improved inventory control system. The initial phases of this project enhanced the organization of our warehouses and introduced complete lot and location control to the company. Further phases provided expanded computer software capabilities, brought in the use of wireless bar code scan guns and eliminated a “paper bound” inventory control process. These improvements have provided our team with many advantages over our previous methods, but perhaps the most important have been achieving real time inventory control and company wide visibility of all raw materials and packaging components. The early part of this year has been dedicated to carrying those improvements into the next focus area in our inventory improvement plan – finished goods and shipping.
Achieving this goal required an extensive amount of customized programming to our main operating system, ChemPax VB. Our team worked diligently with programming and IT consultants who specialized in an understanding of ChemPax VB and bar code scanning applications. The group quickly realized that the scanning methods used for components would not be efficient for tracking finished good production. Instead, they developed a custom pallet placard which translates a variety of production information about the finished good into a single bar code or “license plate”. This innovative solution means that a material handler only needs to scan a pallet one time to enter all relevant production information into ChemPax VB.
After this important piece was in place, the group was able to better define the rest of the control process. Each morning line supervisors receive pallet placards which correspond to daily production. The pallet placards are attached to each pallet of finished good as it is completed. The material handler scans the placard and visually verifies that the information on the scan gun matches the product on the pallet. The pallet can then be moved to a finished goods storage location or a truck for immediate shipment.
Another significant improvement has been seen in our shipping department. In the past, a material handler would manually record what was being loaded onto a truck, then give his notes to the shipping director who would create the bill of lading. With our new technology in place, the shipping director now gives the material handler a work order for each truck that needs to be loaded. The work order contains a bar code. The material handler scans a pallet to the coinciding work order as he is loading a truck. When the truck has been fully loaded, the material handler has the ability to print the bill of lading immediately for the truck driver.
ChemRite’s team has gained many benefits from the latest improvements to our inventory control process. We now enjoy visibility of real time finished good production numbers. Any time of day, we know exactly how much production has been completed and where it is located. With the elimination of manually created bills of lading, we have seen increased accuracy in shipping paperwork and a more efficient process flow at our loading docks. The greatest gain is in knowing that these improvements allow us to better serve our valued customers. We look forward to using our new finished goods and shipping inventory control features to support you in the near future!