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  • Lot vs Kit vs Job – What is the difference?

Lot vs Kit vs Job – What is the difference?

Controlling your inventory – doesn’t matter in which industry you are – can be a very daunting task.  Usually, the terms “lot,” “kit,” and “job” are commonly used to refer to different aspects of inventory management. Although these terms may seem interchangeable, they each have distinct meanings and play unique roles in the overall function of a WMS.

WHAT IS A LOT?

A Lot – also called code numbers, batch numbers, or lot codes – refers to a specific quantity of products that have been produced or received at the same time and have the same characteristics. This could include a batch of goods manufactured together or a shipment from a supplier. Lot tracking or traceability is an important feature of a WMS because it allows for easy tracing of products in case of a recall or quality issue. For example, if a lot of food products are found to be contaminated, the WMS can quickly identify which specific products need to be recalled, minimizing the impact on consumers and the company’s reputation.

What is Lot traceability?

Lot traceability refers to the ability to track and trace a specific lot of products or materials through the entire supply chain, from the manufacturer to the end consumer. This is important for quality control, recall management, and regulatory compliance. Due to the complexity that lot traceability adds to a warehouse, it is almost impossible to manage a lot-based warehouse manually. Many food and chemical companies have implemented DATASCOPE WMS for the simple reason of being able to control their lots/batches effectively. This ability to trace materials lowers any potential redundancy, enables accurate inventory planning and allocation, and provides current retrievable information for either future traceability, service maintenance, or recall situations.

When not to use Lots

If the products you manufacture have a low chance of returns from production failure, lot numbers are not necessary. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to use lot codes if you store consumable products like toilet paper, paper towels, pens, and other non-perishable goods.

WHAT IS A KIT?

On the other hand, a kit or kit-issued stock can refer to assembling kits or bundles of items that need to be shipped together and then distributing those kits to the appropriate areas of the warehouse for further processing or shipment. A kit is a pre-assembled set of items packaged together as a single unit. In many WIP environments, some components are flagged as kit-issued items. These products are not picked and issued to jobs on the DATASCOPE WMS controlled picking slips but are rather transferred to pick face picks in WIP based on the replenishment systems. A typical kit issue product may be a particular nut. We do not want to pick out the nuts separately for every job as they are very low-cost items used in almost every job. So, we flag the nuts on the bills of material as kit-issued items. The DATASCOPE WMS picking process will not expect us to pick the nuts when we prepare all the other components for the current job. Instead, the nuts have a dedicated pick face bin or bins on the factory floor with min and max levels.

WHAT IS A JOB?

Finally, a job refers to a specific task or order that needs to be completed. In a WMS, a job is equivalent to a works order. Against each job, you record what material is required and what operations/instructions must be performed to complete/convert the raw materials into the finished product. Jobs are used in managing the flow of goods through the warehouse and ensuring that products are moved efficiently and accurately. This could include picking products for an order, packing them for shipment, or replenishing stock in a specific location. Jobs are typically assigned to individual workers or teams and are tracked in real-time to ensure that deadlines are met and inventory is properly managed.

Job Release, Job Picking, Job Returns, and Job Labeling are all modules within the DATASCOPE WMS software.

The Job Release module takes jobs from SYSPRO and releases the required material picking slips needed in DATASCOPE WMS. All stock allocation is managed in the DATASCOPE WMS systems to ensure the most optimal stock is reserved.

Job Picking is an advanced mass-based picking process that can be implemented where the raw material product is picked using weigh scales integrated into DATASCOPE WMS. This is very useful in companies weighing out component products for jobs (e.g., in the food industry)

In the Job Return module, when factories issue a large roll or barrel of a product and only use some of the product, the remaining can be returned to the warehouse. The DATASCOPE WMS software includes a solution to weigh the product as it is returned to the warehouse. This posts a job return for SYSPRO and reactivates the original TrackID for this product.

Job Labeling allows you to pre-print all job-related labels, including pallet, carton, and product labels.

OPTIMIZE THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR WMS!

While each of these terms has a distinct meaning, they are all interconnected and work together to optimize the performance of a WMS in a distribution center. By effectively tracking lots, kitting products, and managing jobs, companies can ensure that their inventory is accurately tracked, products are delivered on time, and customer satisfaction is maintained.

For example, imagine a company that sells automotive parts. They receive a shipment of brake pads, which they categorize into several lots based on the manufacturer and date of production. They then kit these brake pads and other related components to create a “brake kit,” which they sell as a package deal. Finally, they use a WMS to manage the flow of these kits through the warehouse, assigning jobs to workers to pick and pack orders for customers. By effectively managing lots, kitting, and jobs, the company can ensure that its inventory is accurately tracked, products are delivered on time, and customer satisfaction is maintained.

In conclusion, while the terms “lot,” “kit,” and “job” may seem similar, they each play a unique role in the overall function of a WMS used in a distribution center. By understanding these differences and effectively managing lots, kitting, and jobs, companies can optimize their inventory management, streamline their operations, and deliver products to customers more efficiently. However, failing to properly track and manage inventory can lead to stockouts, quality issues, and customer dissatisfaction, highlighting the importance of a robust and efficient WMS.

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