They are installing the system in our New Jersey facility and I was asked to provide some input since I used PRIMS at a previous employer. Here is what I said in my email.
On the receiving end, materials are entered and assigned an internal lot number. Pallet stickers are printed out and attached to each pallet of material. Care must be taken at receiving to ensure that multiple lot numbers are not on the same pallet, at this will lead to incorrect quantities, incorrect internal lot numbers and loss of traceability.
While they tout the bar code labeling, in practice it’s next to worthless. The information on the bar code shows the total quantity received per lot, so it’s not like you can just go through the storage areas and read bar codes to do inventory.
All the recipes are input into the software and scheduling for the week is set up and sent to the mixers. Ingredients are scaled and input using the internal lot numbers.
As with anything involving humans, this is where things can break down. Let’s say we have 4,000 pounds of ingredient X with an internal lot number of 1234 and we have 1,000 pounds of the same ingredient with an internal lot number of 2234. PRIMS will track usage of each lot number and give you an error when a particular lot number of ingredient has been exhausted from inventory. However, as long as there is inventory of a particular lot number, PRIMS is happy to accept that lot number.
What happens is the scaler inputs lot number 1234 when actually using lot number 2234. PRIMS sees that there is 4,000 pounds of lot number 1234 and accepts the input. You have now lost inventory control and traceability.
It’s very important that people scaling ingredients use the proper internal lot number.
PRIMS certainly will alleviate scaling errors as it will not allow the next step in the batching process to proceed if the scale weight is over or under by whatever percentage you have specified.
Given the amount of rework you have on hand, I’m not sure how that would be accounted for in the system. I’m sure the people at Focus Works have that answer.
On the inventory side, assuming proper quantities were entered at receiving and during scaling, reconciliation is a snap.
The truly useful thing the system does is traceability. Again, assuming human input was correct all through the process, It’s literally one button traceability.
Let’s say you get a recall notice from a supplier on a particular lot number of whatever. You simply find that item in the receiving records and click on “Trace Lot”, and the system will show you every product that material was used in, in what quantity and on what day it was used.
All that being said, PRIMS basically just does receiving and batching. Admittedly it’s been over three years since I was involved with the system, so they may have included more enhancements.