Track-and-Trace Has Its Place

People talk about track and trace all the time, usually in the context of manufacturing execution systems.

But Niels Andersen, vice president of manufacturing business consulting with Invensys Operations Management (www.iom.invensys.com), says it also has a place in asset management.

By treating everything as a business process, and using ANSI/ISA-95 Enterprise ontrol System Integration as a guide, Andersen’s tool-of-choice is a modified track-and-trace system built on Invensys’ ArchestrA software architecture and using the continuous-

improvement Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. At the system’s center is a unit of work. Materials, energy, labor and maintenance all go into this unit. Products and byproducts—good or bad—leave it. “We also track what happens in the unit of work,” Andersen notes.

Trends alone won’t tell you much, nor will track-and-trace alone, Andersen says. “Together, though, these two pieces of information permit root-cause analysis. That allows companies to use overall equipment effectiveness to drive performance.” His system uses reverse genealogy, that is, looking forward through the process, starting with raw materials. “This way, we can understand business impact(s)—through graphics to track profit, using bullet charts, then trend graphs—and take corrective actions.”

Those visual metrics allow end users to focus efforts, such as working with the day’s first shift to increase performance. “We can go in and calculate the return on manufacturing, then give visibility to that,” Andersen says. “With this information we can answer the question: Are you making money and to what extent are you making money?” To do this, however, you’ve got to look at the total amount of assets involved.

>> Creating an Asset Management To-Do List: Click here to read Automation World's complete coverage on asset management.

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