Do you set limits to your WIP & why is it important?

Do you set limits to your WIP & why is it important?

WIP (work-in-progress) is a term which refers to the partially finished goods that is still in the production flow and are yet to hit the state of being customer ready. WIP holds labour costs, raw material costs and overhead manufacturing costs that are invested in the production process at different stages. It implies substantial burdon on the company finance when overproduced and brings about a customer churn when under produced and massive loss when a semi finished or finished goods is misplaced. Setting limits to such WIP is much important to streamline your manufacturing industry’s operative efforts and control opex ( operational expenses). We would be outlining the WIP limits below and why is it important for manufacturers to understand their dynamic change in the profitability.

What & why do you need WIP Limit?

The key idea behind WIP limits is to stop starting new productions and start finishing the existing one. If there are more goods unfinished that are already in process, manufacturers will try to juggle at once and it will be tough for them to take it to the finish line. Hence, WIP limits enable manufacturers to optimize their production workflows for better management & control on WIP. It is about finishing the job already in progress before introducing more job. In Layman’s terms ” Optimal WIP is a way to go”. Here are the three most predominant limits which every manufacturer should concentrate on to sustain and remain unshaken in the disruptive manufacturing industry.

  • Count Based Limit

  • Cost Based Limit

  • No of Days of work Based Limit

Count Based Limit

Do you know how can over-presence of WIP count affect your manufacturing industry?

Many manufacturing industries are still unaware that too much unfinished & finished goods will have a direct impact on their operational expenses. possessing unfinished works & unsaleable products can be detrimental to any company. The same logic applies to the manufacturing industry. Having a lot of WIP inventory denotes that manufacturing industry has obstacles in meeting demands and streamlining the supply chains at large. This sort of excess WIP is often has a serious impact in repetitive jobs where raw materials are converted all the way into finished goods and stored before customer orders are received. To avoid excess WIP inventory, they can control WIP count by limiting the new production and can pull in only if necessary.

Let me explain with an example, consider the textile industry. It will be mostly a MAKE TO STOCK approach. When the products are overproduced and kept in stock for long time without considering market demands, will result in overage finally leading to inventory loss. Maintaining a minimum level of WIP at each sewing workstation is necessary here. This can be done by limiting or setting the WIP count at each process level

And most importantly, they should set a target / limit for the productions by analysing the demand forecasts, so that they will plan only for the required count and the unfinished items for products in a production process can be maintained easily. During the festive season, there will be a lot of demands for textiles and in such case they can increase their WIP count based on demand. This helps them keep their WIP balanced by feeding the production line / work stations based on the market demands.

Days based limit

When faced with too much work, and too few machines to do it, manufacturers will assign multiple tasks in the hope of increasing throughput. Unfortunately, the result is that machines will take longer days to get that done and it burns out in the process. This is because the machine plan is not properly optimized and they try hard to multi-task & fail at it often. This lengthens the number of days they work on a task. When the machinery runs for a too long time, there is a high possibility of machine failure resulting in unplanned downtime. If your machines sits idle, it will take too long days to repair & how is it possible to complete your order on time? This is were you need a complete machinery plan with which you can allot tasks based on the machine’s capacity and limit the days of its running.

While there is no hard rule in setting this WIP limit, the basic idea is that each machine should be working based on its capacity. So that it possibly avoids the complete shutdown of your machinery. This allows manufacturers to stabilize work and increase productivity.

Cost Based Limit

The optimal Opex is important for the smooth running of the business. In spite of all tracking done with number of parts and day work, $$$ is something that needs to be monitored at the business level. So a limit of what can be the WIP Cost that a business can handle ……

You can set a maximum limit to the operating cost / expense for a particular time. One way to improve profitability is to maintain the stable opex. The expenses spent on anything in the production line that is materials / machinery (during WIP) should fall under the cost you have set. Your WIP should not exceed the opex sustainability.

Hope this article demonstrates what is WIP limit and why it is important for manufacturing industry to manage their opex and to improve their productivity.

The live demo set up of WIP Manager is available at. Take a look at it.

Announcing Fully Digitized WIP Manager for WIP Tracking

Announcing Fully Digitized WIP Manager for WIP Tracking

A decade ago, I was working in a garment factory where every data is manually entered using paper sheets. There is no proper track of data especially the materials in, out and WIP and there is a high risk and possibility of manipulating the original data. Even today I could witness many manufacturing industries are still using XL sheets to record data. Keeping no track of yesterday and today data, how it is possible to improve productivity?. Keep a full stop to it and digitize your WIP so that you can keep track of all events from start to end. As a part of our Industry 4.0 solution, we are now introducing a WIP manager, fully digitized 100% foolproof WIP tool where in you can easily manage and keep track of your ‘work in progress’. You can get a clear picture of what is happening on your shop floor on a daily basis.

Why WIP Manager? / Manage end to end WIP

WIP manager offers everything you need to manage, enter & take count on the WIP flow and WIP units. The inventories which still requires work, assembly, inspection, or processing before they’re completed can be tracked to know the right numbers and set strict limits.

Here is how you can be benefited with WIP Manager. 

  • Manage WIP at each process

  • Minimal Data Entry

  • Predefine shopfloor information

  • Analyse the rejections

Manage WIP at each process (Track product Movement)

For each production process, the target must be set for the amount of WIP required. It must be agreeable to undergo smooth production work flow providing enough time to resolve production issues before WIP shortages occur. Also, the presence of unnecessary work in progress results in unreliable supply chain, requirement of excessive manual work finally resulting in unnecessary delay and increased WIP in inventory. To avoid all these hurdles and pursue efficient WIP flow, WIP manager will allow production managers to only pull inventory / materials when needed without the need for much WIP. WIP manager will help understand the process at each level to exactly know which process needs material to move forward. It facilitates quick & easy configuration WIP levels by process and part and enable tracking of material movement at each process steps.

WIP Tracking

Minimal Data Entry

The idea of streamlining data is what every manufacturing industry strives to fulfil in efforts to minimize errors and maximize productivity. Regrettably, most industries uses a combination of paper work, spreadsheets and multiple systems which takes much time to address the needs of the shop floor. WIP manager completely eliminates such paper works and allows only few fields to be manually entered by production operators. Operators can easily enter & take a count on WIP materials at each process.

Predefine Shop Floor Information

Every manufacturing industry has a unique production process and levels, the raw materials, parts and other materials which differ with each other. Also, the downtime occurs cannot said to be same each time and it varies with process or even with industry. So WIP manager allow operators to predefine the raw materials, parts to be produced and their production processes. It also allows to predefine the expected downtime events and the quality defects to efficiently deal with the downtime & bad quantity issues.

WIP manager settings

Analyze the rejections

No shop floor is perfect. It is usual that some goods produced can be defective or doesn’t meet quality standard. It is all about how the manufacturing industry handles it. You can often rework defective parts to make them usable. WIP manager provides options for handling or dealing with such defects.

Rejection – Rejections refers to defective which do not meet with dimensional or quality standards but can be reworked for rectification of defects.

ScrapScrap is a discarded parts / materials which has no values. And such materials can not be reworked further.

Operators can easily deal with the material losses by moving the defective items either to the rejection or to the scrap.


Completely FREE WIP manager

WIP manager is available FREE to download and you can get utilized with the full version for 30 days. All the features are available and enabled.

Also, the live demo set up of WIP manager is available at

Check the help documentation for optimum use of WIP Manager.

Kindly reach support if you have any queries.

Top 5 Charts for Manufacturing Productivity Tracking with MES

Top 5 Charts for Manufacturing Productivity Tracking with MES

Modern Manufacturing demands proper planning, control & optimization of the production process. Though a successful manufacturing needs skilled labor, customized/expensive material inputs and rely on process flexibility, tighter control,  it needs a powerful MES software to plan, execute and expedite production. This is not only to execute the process, but also to further analyze events and transactions as they happen on the shop-floor. It is necessary for production managers to make sense of the data collected.  This is why generating visual form of data either as chart/report that operators and managers can easily comprehend & interpret is essential. Also, how long will you use paper / Excel sheets for your Annual/Monthly production review meeting? And how good would it be to get a production unit to machine level detailing in a visual form with trends?. Let us see in detail about the top 5 charts in MES software and how it can help you make better decisions.

Utilization Report

One important chart that is commonly used to represent manufacturing / production utilization is the utilization chart. Utilization indicates that how much and how an industry’s production capacity is being harnessed at present.  It is the percentage of available production time during a particular time period that a machine was performing to process goods. The utilization chart display how much of a manufacturing operation’s prospective output is being reached and includes everything from machinery capacity to available resource utilization in visual form. Operators will be able to visualize & analyze utilization from various perspectives.

Utilization graph will come in handy to easily identify pain points in the manufacturing productivity when you are stuck with it.

This provides a clear picture of how well & efficient your manufacturing operation / production is by comparing the factors fetched in to your MES systems. At the industry level, production managers can get detailed visual form of data with MES so they can better understand how efficiently the machinery is functioning and take better decisions to handle throughput and increase productivity.

Utilization report

Plan vs Actual

Planning or targeting the production operation is not just the plan rather it is about the production management & control. And Plan vs Actual production analysis can help you better your manufacturing operations. That’s where you monitor outcomes, review process, and make routine flow alterations based on performance.

It’s all about comparing what is the actual result of your production process to what you planned or set your target. Your production plan sets down target, essential numbers, and execution. Tracking the production process and results can only provide what actually happened in the production line. But dealing with the difference between plan and actual data with MES is just driving your manufacturing with better, and more direct, production control and management.

Plan vs Actual chart allows users to compare planned production with actual production in each shift for each machine & for all completed production operations. Production managers can use this report to identify where production time is overrunning, and by how much.

Plan vs Actual

Machine Drill Down

From production planning to production execution, production managers need a complete machine reporting interface with MES to execute proper machine performance control & analysis. Anyone who needs the insight to make quick decisions about machine working or resolve quality or performance issues can able to create highly visual displays of key performance indicators such as OEE, Downtime Reasons & Bad Quantity. They can drill down deeper into each machine in a department and unit to explore individual performance records based on a single day or between any date range. They can get a granular overview of each machine rather than a general view with the Machine Drill Down Report. This helps production managers to make quick & powerful decisions based on how well each machine in a production line is performing and how to improve its efficiency.

Machine Drill Down Report

Department Drill Down

Department drill down report provides the percentages of the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) for your machine operations in each department in a unit and the key OEE metrics of Availability, Performance, and Quality. This helps production managers to get a granular view of OEE data of each department in a unit rather than a general OEE data of overall production. This can help them prioritize which department to concentrate on more & to identify bottlenecks or weaknesses in production, permitting them to make immediate action.

Department Drill Down Report

Department OEE trend

OEE trend chart is commonly used to show trends in OEE data over time. Displaying OEE data over time increases better understanding of the real performance of a production process, particularly with regard to an established target or goal. By analysing the trend of OEE score, it is easy to find improvement opportunity and to begin understanding the interplay between Availability, Performance & Quality. The production managers can plan & work for the betterment & optimization of the production by analysing the OEE monthly & yearly trend. Also, if necessary it is easy for production managers to revise their plan to reach the goal and incremental raising of the bar for your target.

Department OEE Trend

These top 5 charts integrated with your MES can help you achieve successful manufacturing operation by making powerful decisions at the right time. As a part of our Industry 4.0 solution, Factovize MES is one such software that can  provide complete visibility, control and manufacturing optimization of production and processes across the enterprise.