Ensuring the transparency of logistic processes in production is an increasingly complex task. Processing steps from the receipt of goods to managing inter-manufacturing stock and finished products are critical. Any failure on these levels can result in high costs. Lack of material or an extremely high WIP level can cause a significant short or long-term loss. While ensuring employees can maintain a safe distance on the shop floor is vital to ensuring their safety, and business continuity.
To make responsible decisions, logistics professionals need reliable information such as identifying contact hotspots in manufacturing, stock levels and the current state of production. The utilization and optimal distribution of logistic transport vehicles (forklifts, trolleys) is also a critical task. Supporting them with route advisory systems, enhancing and automating them with an intelligent calling system can serve as an additional optimization solution.
Basic logistical decisions (orders, production programming, resource/shift organization) depend on the product line and warehouse inventories. Keeping this information up to date is a cost- and resource-heavy task. Any additional inventory check and modification (beyond essential steps) can be avoided by using a well-designed and reliable tracking system.
Basic concept and solutions
Finding pallets and stock is a common problem in raw material and finished goods warehouses. This problem is especially true for warehouses, where finished products or raw materials do not have a fixed allocation but are placed by arrival.
Sunstone offers three solutions:
- All pallets/stacks are linked to a TAG (pairing the stack ID with a TAG ID), the system will know where to find the pallet/stack at any time.
- When only trolleys or forklifts move the stacks, the position of the stack is recorded by the system based on the movement of the transport vehicle. The stack being moved must be identified (scanner / RFID). With this solution only the TAGs only track the movements of the vehicle, and not each stack separately. However, if any non-tracked vehicles are used to move goods, the system will not be able to provide proper information on products.
- It is also possible to track stacks with TAGs placed on scanners. When the stack is placed its identifier must be scanned with a TAG-equipped scanner, then the position of the scanner determines the location of the stack.
Advantage of the system
Pairing a semi-finished product with a TAG enables inter-manufacturing tracking. Thus, the following information is available:
- the time a given product spends at a workstation
- the production sequence of the given product (between which stations it moved)
- which products are being/have been reworked
- which products are/have been in quality assurance
- average lead time for a particular product type (takt time)
Goods in production are assigned a continuous, real-time production status that supports production programming and shift design.