What does material supply optimization involve and what’s it good for?
Material supply in assembly and production refers to the systematic, efficient and ergonomic provisioning and picking of materials on an assembly line or in manufacturing operations. Among other things, this is achieved by using perfectly customized containers and racks and strategically positioning them on the material areas – not to mention engineering the appropriate factory equipment. The aim of all this is to keep transport routes and lead times to an absolute minimum. Well-planned material zones and optimum factory equipment help make this a reality. The better and greater use made of the space available, the more efficient assembly and production processes become. For example, let’s imagine there are a few unused square meters next to a flow rack. On the face of it, this space might seem somewhat insignificant. Yet if this area is used to extend the rack so it can accommodate another row of small load carriers, it will not have to be restocked as often. As a result, staff will have more time on their hands for value-adding activities and efficiency will increase.
In other words, even seemingly unimportant improvements boast a great deal of potential, but they also require in-depth planning. This is because besides factoring in aspects such as ergonomics, the type of material, supply concepts and the surface area and space available, companies need to design and commission the necessary, perfectly tailored factory equipment. It’s a worthwhile process, but one that takes up a lot of time. Luckily, planning and optimization software such as ipolog make the work involved a whole lot easier. This software uses intelligent algorithms to help optimize material supply processes in assembly and production operations, thereby significantly reducing the amount of time required for planning. 2D and 3D visualizations give an idea of what the end result will look like and make it easier to coordinate with fellow co-workers, decision-makers and service providers.