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Difference between Work-in-Progress Tracking and Work-in-Process (WIP) Tracking

Work-in-Process (WIP) tracking is a subset of Work-in-Progress tracking.

While both are sometimes used interchangeably, in a manufacturing context, work-in-process (WIP) tracking strictly refers to tracking a set of materials between manufacturing operations, such as steps in making a set of metal knobs.

WIP tracking may be done by simply tracking the progress of work orders through a sequence of manufacturing steps or by tracking parts in barcoded containers as they move from work center to work center.

Work-in-progress tracking, on the other hand, refers to the whole process in the making, for example, a custom motor generator set. In this case work-in-progress tracking may involve tracking operations such as design, ordering and receiving the needed raw material, the manufacture andf testing  of intermediate sub-assemblies and finished assemblies, as well as the packing and shipping of finished products to customers. Work-in-progress tracking may include tracking the installation of these products. It may also include tracking testing and quality control inspection, as well as capturing traceability and cost data.

Work-in-progress tracking systems may function as Manufacturing Esecution Systems (MES) but have a wider applicability, such as repair and refurbishment tracking as well as to secondary operations such as kitting, repacking and relabeling being performed in distribution centers.

Work-in-progress tracking systems typically include extensive inventory tracking capabilities, and often include full warehouse management systems. They may also include the ability to track the total cost of a job or batch of products as well as to capture materials traceability data for regulatory compliance.