[Full Disclosure: Part of To-Increase’s business is based on the sale of Microsoft Dynamics software, of which one of its most useful features is audit trail capability. This post explains what an audit trail is and how this Microsoft product can streamline manufacturing practices.]
Understanding what’s happening in your manufacturing business isn’t just nice to know – it’s critical. This requires data and lots of it. If you are not capturing that data, then you need to rethink your streamlining strategy.
To get there and keep that data for later viewing, I always recommend an IT tool set with a solid audit trail add-in. With a good audit trail, you know what’s happening and how to fix problems – sometimes, before it’s even broken.
Let’s take a look at what goes into an audit trail and how an IT system solution for this process works.
What’s An Audit Trail?
As your manufacturing operations go through its daily processes, there is always a need for records of what is happening – from beginning to end. This would also include your external customer operations and internal processes.
Recording and tracking of day-to-day processes and activity is called an audit trail.
For a more specific explanation, the Wikipedia definition (Nov 16, 2011) says an audit trail is:
“A sequence of steps supported by proof documenting the real processing of a transaction flow through an organization, a process or a system.”
Simply, an audit trail keeps a running record of data that follows all of your manufacturing operations. With specific IT tool sets, such as Microsoft Dynamics, you can refer back to your trail at any point for crucial data that could impact your manufacturing processes.
From a personal standpoint, I can’t tell you how glad I am that software functionality like this exists. In my opinion, every manufacturer needs this as part of their operations mix. Having that data readily accessible can be a lifesaver.
How An Audit Trail Benefits Manufacturers
Now that I told you what an audit trail is, how does it benefit today’s manufacturer?
By having data that pulls from all of your systems, including Enterprise Resource Planning and Product Lifecycle Management, you benefit by knowing what, why, where and how your manufacturing operations stay efficient and keep up with customer demand.
By implementing a Microsoft Dynamics audit trail, manufactures will see benefits in situations, including:
- Knowing the required amounts of materials to produce a product
- Finding out how many hours does it require a product to go from design to production
- Making decisions to increase resources for projects
- Finding where to decrease wasteful practices that increase process efficiency
Getting Started With Microsoft Dynamics Audit Trail
To get started with an audit trail, let me run you through some introductory steps of the process.
- Firstly, audit trail isn’t installed right out the box and it takes one addtional installation to make it part of your system. Simply choose to install audit trailing from the setup menu in Microsoft Dynamics.
- Once it is installed, you need to decide who will have access to the audit trails. You want to make sure this is someone trusted and understands the data within the audit tables.
- Now decide what database tables to audit from your manufacturing system and apply permissions that enable auditing to proceed without issue.
- From here on, whenever a designated event occurs to auditable database tables, an audit ensues and provides you with the information about what’s going on.
What’s some of the information available in an audit trail record? Microsoft Dynamics audit tables duplicate the source table and add these fields:
Again, this is useful information for manufacturers who want more to see what’s happening in day-to-day operations.
I believe manufacturers crave data and not just any data – information that supports streamlining existing processes and boosting the bottom-line. By adding an IT tool set with a robust audit trail, like Microsoft Dynamics, expect an increase in efficiency for all of your operations, while keeping up with customer demand.
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