Use supply chain digitization to monitor material flow and optimize processes, avoid search efforts, and achieve efficiency and quality improvements
Within the supply chain of our client from the automation technology sector, there is a lively exchange of finished goods within and across plants at 3 locations. INTRANAV is to transparently display the material flow processes by digitizing the movements and inventories of finished goods as well as the load carriers used in order to significantly reduce or avoid long search efforts in the future. At the same time, process steps such as manual scanning are to be reduced in order to optimize working times and avoid booking errors.
The transition to Production 4.0 also requires digital production orders and accompanying documents instead of paper consignment bills, as these are impractical to handle and important information about the finished product can get lost. Therefore, the company required a paperless solution in order to be able to retrieve goods accompanying documents paperlessly and post them automatically in the SAP system.
One of the most important decisions for INTRANAV was to be able to view and continuously analyze the throughput times of each individual station of the material flow, in order to only briefly buffer longer idle times of the goods in the optimal planning. The real-time location data obtained will then be used to analyze flows of goods and values through material flow reporting in order to optimize material flow lead times and processes, which should result in significant quality improvements in the material flow. The IoT sensor-based solution will track packages from their starting point to their destination point, as well as through all intervening nodes (storage levels/buffers) in real-time.
For one of the world’s leading automation technology companies
Our client is a leading international control and automation technology company and at the same time market leader in technical education and training for industrial qualification solutions based in Germany. The company portfolio includes pneumatic and electric drive technology for factory and process automation.
Requirements of our customer
Reduce search times through material flow real-time location tracking
All material flow relationships from the plants in the direction of the Customer Service Center are tracked indoors (and in future also outdoors).
Material flow analyses
The wait time of the goods and the cycle time of all stations passed through can be evaluated via an app and are used for cycle time/process optimization.
Replacing scanning activities with automated capturing in internal transports
The packages must be recorded per workstation (storage level, buffer) via Auto-ID in the INTRANAV.IO & SAP system.
Production orders are associated by scan per workstation with INTRANAV.RTLS TAG in INTRANAV.IO & SAP backend.
Solution from INTRANAV
For the primary goals, the automation of the internal material flow as well as the replacement of individual scanning activities in the internal transport, INTRANAV has developed two use case solutions within the production and logistics area. The finished products of the automation engineer have to be moved and tracked within 3 locations (Plant A, B and Customer Service Center), the traceability should refer to open as well as closed transports:
Use Case 1 – Material Flow Tracking
The packaged finished goods (bulk goods) are tracked from plant A to the external warehouse in plant B. The goods are unloaded at a customer service center of the company. A partial quantity is unloaded at one of the company’s customer service centers. The packed bulk goods are wooden boxes that are not palletized and in many cases exceed the dimensions of the Euro pallet.
Use Case 2 – Asset Tracking Packed cylinders are transported from production to the Customer Service Center, where they are packed and buffered on the loading ramps. Later, they are picked up by the transport service provider and taken to the external warehouse in plant B. Buffering takes place in wire mesh boxes. The buffering takes place in grid boxes, in which the packages are located. Approx. 20-30 packed cylinders are transported per cage box and transport.
The IoT sensor-based INTRANAV RTLS solution tracks the packages indoors and in real time from their starting point to their destination point (plant A – B – customer service center) as well as via all intermediate nodes (warehouse levels/buffers). For this purpose, the TAGs are attached at the starting point and associated with the respective production order via INTRANAV.APP Barcode Scan, i.e. married with each other in the backend of the INTRANAV.IO and SAP system. The packages are now automatically registered at all nodes (buffer area, shipping area, etc.) by automatic registration when entering the workstation via a geofence (virtual zone), without manual scanning.
At the respective material flow stations, further additional information (production order numbers) must be stored on the individual packages. The packages have a unique ID (2D barcode) and are associated/”married” with the corresponding information by scanning with the TAG, which also has a unique ID, at the respective work/buffer stations via mobile device in INTRANAV.IO and SAP. For this purpose, a mobile device equipped with the new INTRANAV.APP Barcode Scan is stored at each workstation. With the INTRANAV.APP, employees scan, exactly these two, or more than two, numbers, creating a new asset in the INTRANAV.IO platform, which can then be tracked. The app is specifically designed to marry barcode information (goods slips, production orders – Paperless Factory & Warehouse) with TAGs.
After arrival at the Customer Service Center or Plant B, the goods are taken to two possible zones, depending on the material flow relationship. As soon as one of the two zones is reached, the link of the information on the TAG (waybill) is automatically deleted by the Rules feature via a geofence in the INTRANAV.IO system. From now on, the TAG is empty and can be rewritten with information. The empty TAGs are collected in containers at the corresponding zone and transported back to the starting point plant A, at regular intervals.
With the digitized real-time data, our customer now has all historical data on completed transports available in a database/Excel. With the new INTRANAV.APP Material Flow, all individual material flows and material flow relationships can be analyzed in real-time or retrograde. The app stores the exact timestamp (day / hour : minute : second) from the input and output of the respective zone and calculates the dwell time to the second in the respective zone. The end status indicates the total time of transit time of all zones and intermediate transit times per asset/package/material flow relationship. Using the past data of the completed transports as well as the dwell times of the goods at the passed nodes, lead times/process optimizations of this material flow are now carried out.
For area detection, INTRANAV equips the TAGs with the latest Wirepas Massive hardware stack technology, which enables easy installation, long battery life, and the lowest infrastructure cost for coverage (0.05ct per m2). The Wirepas Mesh delivers standardized data transmission, high scalability, and 99% battery operation of the RTLS TAGs.
With the Real-Time Location System Solutions from INTRANAV, the digital, cross-location recording of the flow of goods and values within production and logistics was realized. The INTRANAV system is used for tracking the various material flow relationships (cases) and is flexibly scalable via further use cases as well as real-time location software and hardware. The efficiency increases and quality improvements of our customer are measurable in one order of magnitude and therefore immediately comparable. The RTLS can be used internally by various departments within our customer’s supply chain, realizing the potential for (real-time) optimization of processes:
● Time saving through material flow transparency enables the reduction and avoidance of search efforts, via the INTRANAV.IO Digital Twin platform all real-time location positions can be viewed digitized
● Reducing manual scanning processes optimizes work times and avoids system posting errors, resulting in clear efficiency and quality improvements for our customer
● Detection of high dwell times and idle times enables the organization of optimized, short lead times
● Analysis of transport routes and material flow paths leads to more efficient transport route selection in material flow
● Paperless logistics, enables clear assignment of waybills, goods accompanying documents and other information on the package, retrievable via mobile device and simultaneously associated in the SAP system.
● Increasing the safety and quality of the material flow
● In addition, continuous real-time tracking reduces the risk of theft by alerting INTRANAV in the event of theft, increasing inventory security
INTRANAV Benefitsthrough material flow tracking, INTRANAV Barcode Scan & Material Flow App.
- Digital Twin of the load carriers via INTRANAV.IO: real-time material flow tracking for maximum process reliability and reduction of search times
- INTRANAV.APP Material Flow captures zone dwell times, throughput times, inbound & outbound times as well as calculates the full-time status capture for the respective material flow relationship for real-time or retrograde process optimization of material flows
- Paperless Factory & Warehouse: The INTRANAV.APP Barcode Scan marries/associates barcode information (goods receipt slips, production orders) with RTLS TAGs
- Real-time alerts in case of deviation from predefined limits or process interruptions via SMS & e-mail
- Replacing scanning activities with automated recording (booking in and out) by geofences in internal transportation
- Paperless Logistics – Goods accompanying documents can be retrieved directly via mobile device
- Proof of compliance with transport/storage security and transport guidelines
- Theft protection of finished products
- Various innovative interfaces enable the connection to all common ERP, EWM and CRM systems and databases as well as to Power BI, SQL Server and some others. With data coupling, further processing and use for optimizing logistics and supply chain processes as well as the entire information flow is possible.
INTRANAV offers a highly flexible and cost-effective enterprise solution, ideal for automotive, production, intralogistics and logistics or supply chain. Further fields of application are possible for example in warehouses, manufacturing, production line or for incoming and outgoing goods tracking. Our INTRANAV SMART Material Flow Solution is also interesting for you, contact us to talk about optimization possibilities of your supply chain and logistics workflows already today!