The full business edition of ProdTrac is applicable to a business needing to manage manufacturing operations either in addition to, or in place of, buying and selling operations. It includes modules that professionally organise and direct the complications of product assembly, identification and tracking:
The ProdTrac software system is not just a technical program for use by the technical department of a business. It has been deliberately developed so that it is of value and benefit to all areas of the business. While the Technical Manager might be primarily interested in the quality characteristics of a batch of goods (temperature, condition, shelf-life and so on), the Production Manager has alternative interests in that same batch (quantity, pack format), and the Buyer or Accountant wants to know about price, stock value, supplier performance, etc. By sharing all this information in a single batch record, this can be handled and reported in many ways that are of value to all aspects of the business.
Because the program operates on a centralised real-time database, everyone is working with the same information. Each time a transaction occurs – placement of a purchase order, receipt of goods, manufacturing of a multi-component product, allocation and despatch of products to customers – the stock levels of relevant batches are automatically adjusted in the database. This means that stock holdings, stock valuations and all associated costings are always current.
There is always a need to trace the origin and destination of products. ProdTrac manages this, including instances where there may have been a change in packaging format or case quantities.
The database holds recipes for all products, with the option to store approved alternative recipes for a product. The cost estimates of all recipes are based on the current price of ingredients, and so the picture is always accurate. This means that it is possible to switch to an alternative recipe to take advantage of movements in the price of ingredients.
Small manufacturers often prefer to make to stock without the need for a formal production plan. But if it is preferable to produce to order, the active recipes can be used to drive the management of production batches. Manufacturing requirements can be entered into a production schedule, or alternatively the plan can be automatically created from the sales order programme. The recipe base is used to automatically calculate all materials requirements, current stock holdings and purchase deliveries due, to ensure that the plan can be met. And the key to accurate traceability is that when a production batch is manufactured, the individual ingredient batches used and their actual quantities are recorded in the database. This level of detail means that you can immediately, from any screen in the program, trace the full movement history of any batch of ingredient, intermediate product or finished product.
There is a legal obligation to label allergens contained in products. The ProdTrac program has the ability to help manufacturers with this, and the full business edition includes an option to trace the movement of allergenic materials through recipes and product manufacturing.
When a recipe is developed or modified on the system, the program will immediately show all allergens contained in that recipe by drawing on information held in the ingredient records. This takes the legwork or guesswork out of labeling decisions by reliably showing the allergens that must be declared on the finished product. The allergen-tracing feature also works through individual production batches, to identify any allergens contained in any chosen batch of a product.
Every module in the program can be password protected to restrict access by individual users – no access; read only; or full read and update permission. This gives full safety control because, although all users are accessing the same database, only the technical management personnel can control the accessibility of individual batches of ingredients or products. If a batch has not been released as acceptable for use, it cannot be selected in any other menus in the program.
Password protection gives similar constraint over other critical control points such as approved supplier management or recipe management.
With any database system, the accuracy and value of the information displayed or reported from it is dependent on the regular entry of routine records. It is important that the business and all users recognise the responsibility that everyone has in this respect. In return, ProdTrac helps in two ways:
As mentioned in the introduction earlier, the quality and safety management aspects of the program are integrated with in-built business functions.
The fact that all of these details are captured and stored in the database means that valuable reports can be drawn to show, for example, trading histories with suppliers or customers, profit margin values, material usage or wastage, and production graphs.