Build-to-Order Made Easy With Bar Coded Work-in-Process Tickets

Posted October 28, 2009

When a major Texas-based computer manufacturer made the leap from traditional order fulfillment to customized computer assembly, it had to employ a new system that would enable it to track the assembly process from the moment a customer places an order until the delivery of the finished product.

The company installed wide-format Zebra® printers to produce work-in-process (WIP) job tickets: letter-sized documents that provide specific assembly and delivery instructions and guide the assembly of each product until it arrives at the customer’s doorstep.

Each ticket contains several piggyback labels—small labels that can be peeled off a single backing—to custom-label each sub-assembly with matching serial numbers. Along the production line, workers peel off the label related to each specific task from the WIP ticket and adhere it to the part they assemble such as the hard drive, video card, etc. At the end of the line, quality-control operators verify that each serial number matches the job ticket to ensure that each computer contains the right equipment.

“Bar coding has allowed us to speed up our assembly and quality-control processes while simultaneously increasing the quality and value of the products we manufacture for our customers,” said the production manager. “Our Zebra bar code label printers are the key component of this process, and they have never let us down.”

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