Track and predict material flow issues before they happen.
The analysis of material flow data and correct implementation of automation is the key to unlock substantial growth and future success.
Human error, mechanical failure, production delays and bottlenecks all are part of the production process. At times solutions seem obvious, and at other times challenges might seem almost insurmountable. So how do you optimize your operational efficiency?
Material flow analysis, powered by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and real-time location systems (RTLS), can assist warehouses and distribution centers attain the goal of near-total visibility all throughout the production process.
Laying the Groundwork
First off, let’s define a couple terms that we’ll be using throughout this article: material flow and IIoT.
● Material flow is just that, the flow of materials from start to finish in any operation, from raw materials to loading into shipment. For some organizations, raw materials are literally just that, but for others the term could mean pre-assembled goods.
● The Industrial Internet of Things adds a layer to the Internet of Things (IoT – the computer networking of generally household items and appliances using software and sensors) – basically meaning the networking of the production process.
Perhaps the biggest roadblock to overcome is the frustration of not being able to track materials as they work their way through your facility. Having real-time tracking in place, through the use of tags, sensors and other RTLS equipment, provides data on exactly where everything is at all times, as well as material throughput, lags and bottlenecks. Not only are you able to track, but also predict problems … before they happen.
Good data and visibility also can translate into resistance to outside factors, such as dips or surges in consumer demand, as well as supply chain issues outside your facilities. No one can predict the next recession or pandemic with 100% accuracy, but solid material-flow data can help to offset the impact.
The Many Upsides of Optimizing Material Flow
Material-flow analysis has the potential to be a game changer. When you connect all processes, parts, and equipment to the IIoT, you’re able to track and predict every step of the production or fulfillment process with a digital bird’s eye view. Any concerns, issues, or challenges are visible from one display. This enhanced visibility means that not only can you spot problems easily and instantly (from anywhere), but you also can use the data to solve challenges as well.
What’s more, other advantages of optimizing material flow include robust predictive maintenance, minimized waste, and decreased costs.
Getting the Data to Work for You
To ensure you’re getting the most out of your material-flow analysis data, make sure that you’re collecting, compiling, and using it correctly. Be sure to collect all pertinent data, including equipment information (not just materials data).
Enter all current parameters regarding production times and equipment use. This way, the system can alert you to variations – good or bad. Take full advantage of software solutions that utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Next Steps: Make an Impact with Your Data
You could gather all the data there is to be found, but if you don’t do something with it, it’s worthless. With IndPro as your dedicated integration partner, you won’t be afraid to make the big changes that will increase efficiency, speed up production time, enhance safety, reduce errors, and cut costs.
Let’s talk and take the first step towards improving your operations. Contact an IndPro specialist today to start a discussion on how a material flow audit of your operations can be the key to unlock substantial growth and future success.
IndPro Services, a leader in Commercial Systems and U.S. Federal Government procurement, provides successful, efficient, data-driven solutions.
Dedicated to improving efficiency in warehouse and distribution center operations, we work on the same side of the table with you to help you procure the best possible solution for your specific application.