Planning new material flows or optimizing existing ones should in theory not be difficult. It is usually obvious which steps have to be taken and which areas have to be scrutinized, and what the key external and internal influencing factors are.
The objective is also easily understood: Minimize transport, storage and handling costs, reduce investment and floor space requirements, produce well structured processes and identifiable areas of responsibility, a high level of resistance to failure, a reduction in headcount and a flexible reaction to fluctuating business volumes and much more… Thus, we require an efficient and economically viable system which will meet current and future demands which works unobtrusively in the background and does not incur unnecessary recurring and one off costs.
There is, however, one quite important argument to be considered: the seeming transparency of the material flow process is quite deceptive. The problems start with the data base. Most businesses are not able, in an economically viable way, to access on a day to day basis every piece of relevant data. Furthermore, supposedly clear external and internal factors which influence the material flow turn out to be difficult to quantify and grasp. Not only is the performance of a single plant or system, the employment levels in different processes, the linkage between and overlap of various functions important in their own right but also the influence that they exercise on one another has to be appreciated.
Add the seemingly minor incident which can have potentially a devastating knock on effect: an incorrectly set diverter track switch, an incorrect batch profile, missing operator instructions, a non scheduled smoking break. We have encountered these and many other factors in our many years of optimizing material flow systems.
Not only is our team familiar with state-of-the-art and tested solutions available in the market, we already have introduced a considerable number of individual systems. We are fully aware of the advantages and disadvantages of particular solutions and we know which parameters have to be met to maintain a system at its maximum operational capacity. We have created methods of data analysis and processing aimed at identifying current demands and producing reliable forecasts for the future development of the business. Thus we are able to capture the current operational status and to determine the necessary current and future size of the system.
We create transparent structures that are flexible and can meet fluctuating demand and are modular and scalable thus keeping aggregate investment to a minimum. We thus minimize surface area requirements, stock, operational steps and transportation but we also introduce sufficient buffering and backup functions through tried and tested methods to ensure a smooth and failure resistant process.
- All encompassing view of all functions that influence the material flow process including procurement, production, despatch and distribution and all related transportation, storage and handling processes.
- Optimizing material flow systems with regard to costs, floor space requirements, stock requirements, throughput, transportation, operational steps, the safety and flexibility of the processes.
- Expansion of existing systems as a consequence of an increase in turnover, new sales and product strategies or changes in the market place.
- Capturing current and future operational data, analysis of the product portfolio and order structure, presentation of the results as a basis for reliable planning.
- Design of a new customized, scalable, failure resistant and modular system; determining the size and inter relationship of the various technical and personnel functions in the context of a new logistics system.
- Evaluating internal and external interfaces to ensure a smooth operation.
- Selection of appropriate systems and determining installation size.
- Simulation of complex material flows for modeling and verification purposes