Customer Use Case: Material for packing your products
In our new “Use Cases” series we want to regularly present best practice examples from our customers. This time we will show you how our customer solved his problems with material, which is not managed in IT sytem and customised packaging using TeDaLoS sensors.
The Problem: Material not managed in IT sytem, customised packaging
Even before the boom in cardboard and packaging triggered by eCommerce, the inventory of packaging material and cardboard packaging was associated with headaches. Cardboard packaging is voluminous with often low material value, film packaging and rolls are expensive and heavy. Therefore, too much safety stock should be avoided – for reasons of storage space occupation and tied-up capital. Since the withdrawal of material from these storage locations could not be booked with reasonable effort using classic methods (because partial withdrawals, or consumption by the metre), these material groups are not managed with the IT system in the majority of companies. Consumption fluctuates, especially in the case of customised packaging where, for example, the format is tailored and/or logo of your customer are printed on the material, availability is difficult to plan. As with liquid tanks, the approximate quantity is often still determined with a folding rule (yardstick) as a regular visual check. Since packaging is an “indirect material”, this visual inspection is carried out at the greatest possible intervals. This leads to low transparency of the consumption curves and, in particular, the risk of stock-out, as packaging is sometimes associated with delivery times of several weeks. Potential material loss due to “private withdrawals” or wastage in the production/packaging station cannot be traced.
In times of COVID19, the manual order point determination is prevented by less staff presence on premise (short-time work, quarantine, home office,…) Late reorders result in a manual – because faster throughput – ordering process and great pressure on supplier who to carry the costs of faster processing, express delivery, etc.
In the maintenance warehouse, employees help themselves to the materials stored in supplier containers or bins (oftern called „kanban bin“) as required. Due to lack of space, a “multi-bin Kanban” cannot be implemented. Article diversity and inaccuracy (“a handful of screws”) make withdrawal lists worthless. In order to ensure material availability despite fluctuating consumption, a decision on replenishment is made on a gut feeling basis with daily visual checks. The material groups are typically either not managed in the company‘s inventory management system at all or the bookings in the system only correspond to the order and delivery data, but not to the actual times of consumption. For all these reasons, companies often have these stocks managed externally by material suppliers. This binds companies to C-parts suppliers for an undesirable length of time. It is not possible to record consumption accurately and to take action in case of unnatural peaks. Physical annual inventory counting lock personnel resources and block daily operations. In times of COVID19 the reorder point determination by personnel presence on site is not desired or prevented. Digital information from the warehouse is created late in the process, often retrospectively.
The Solution: TeDaLoS intelligent sensor units
Wireless sensor units are retrofitted to the storage location. This requires no change in warehouse equipment, no IT department resources, no wiring, no programming skills. The supplier and freight forwarder do not change anything about the container, over-packaging or material handling.
The virtual association of sensor unit to article, department, storage location, cost centre, etc. is done remotely and can be adjusted remotely at any time by your purchasing department or warehouse logistics department. The autonomous monitoring of stock levels with piece-wise accuracy now makes automatic inventory management possible.
The sensor units remain mobile and can be repositioned if necessary. The digital measured values of the current stock level transferred without manual operation and wirelessly to the TeDaLoS cloud software several times a day. The cloud also displays historical charts via smartphone or PC. Defined threshold values trigger online reorder requests. Purchasers for “indirect spend” can view current stock levels across all locations.
The Result: Time- and piece-accurate inventory management, inventory countings with a single click
The consumption of packaging materials is automatically detected by sensors and stored online as digital information. Warehouse management and buyers always see the actual physical stock levels, with piece-wise accuracy. Collective orders are thus made easier. Below a self-defined minimum level, an additional alarm notification is sent which contains all important data for reordering. This way, urgent requirements are no longer overlooked. Standard interfaces in IT systems ensure that the theoretical inventory data is transmitted and corrected. Intermediate inventory countings are now available online at the push of a button and with real inventory quantities.
Manual processes and the dependence on on-site staff have been reduced, the folding rule can retire. Material availability has been improved through early recognition of demand and an “inventory counting at the push of a button” has been realised.
If you have a similar problem, have a look at our 2-month test packages!