Getting a handle on warehouse and inventory management
VEGA Grieshaber KG (VEGA) in Schiltach, Germany, a manufacturer of modern level measurement sensors, level switches and pressure transmitters, successfully implemented SIPLACE Facts in the first quarter of 2010 to install a transparent inventory management system in its SMT production. With its new system, VEGA is able to enter incoming component deliveries at the packaging unit level, localize them and record their consumption. This level of seamless inventory control provides significant benefits for VEGA, because it speeds up material removals and returns from and to storage considerably while shortening the materials' travel distances. The packaging unit-based inventory overview including setup control prevents delays caused by missing components and implements the FIFO principle throughout the entire chain. It also reduces spoilage by controlling the exposure times for moisture-sensitive devices in the warehouse. In addition, SIPLACE Facts ensures the traceability of the components VEGA processes on its two SMT lines. Thanks to SIPLACE Facts, expensive physical inventories are now a thing of the past for the sensor manufacturer.
With the help of SIPLACE experts, VEGA started to replace its old electronics manufacturing software in December of 2009. The project was completed in only four months in early April 2010 by converting the vertical storage carousels to direct control via SIPLACE Facts.
Each packaging unit's location visible at the push of a button
While the previous ERP system recorded component quantities without regard for their packaging units, SIPLACE Facts records incoming deliveries at the packaging unit level, checks them against orders and release lists, and generates labels with unique IDs (UIDs).
Physical Inventory a thing of the past
The accurate and perpetual inventory management of SIPLACE Facts makes physical inventories in the SMT production area and their related costs and production interruptions a thing of the past.
"The elimination of physical inventories alone pays for the project over the medium term. But we also were able to shorten routes on the factory floor through optimized operator guidance, PDAs with Wi-Fi connections and direct Kardex control. Production problems or interruptions caused by component supplies which according to the ERP system should have been sufficient for both lines but were unfortunately in the same packaging unit have been eliminated by SIPLACE Facts. We believe that the improved inventory transparency, the consistent implementation of the FIFO principle and the management of MSD exposure times will reduce the write-offs due to spoilage or obsolescence in our component inventory considerably over the medium term," says VEGA's SMT production manager Michael Wucher about the benefits of SIPLACE Facts.
With a follow-up project that introduces enforced setup control, barcodes on circuit boards and the automated reporting of component consumption to the ERP system, VEGA wants to ensure job-based traceability starting in the summer of 2010.
"The VEGA example demonstrates the positive impact of transparent inventory management on the SMT process. Even smaller factories can benefit from significant efficiency improvements quickly and at relatively little cost," says Alexander Nitzsche, the SIPLACE team member in charge of the SIPLACE Facts project at VEGA.