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42 SMT Magazine • November 2016 This seemingly simple process is complex for electronics, especially in SMT production. Mate- rials are over-supplied to production where they are then only partially used because most mate- rials are on carriers, such as reels. Many oppor- tunities exist for attrition throughout the ma- terial setup process on the machines and dur- ing the machine operation. Unaccounted ma- terial creates inaccurate inventory levels within ERP, which leads to unexpected internal mate- rial shortages. This situation occurs quickly and is a serious problem for operations with a high- er product mix. Because ERP holds increasing- ly inaccurate representations of inventory, large buffer stocks have to be maintained and a regu- lar physical stock-check has to be performed to prevent unexpected internal material shortages, both of which are expensive processes for the manufacturing operation. Even the simplest task of putting materials away in the warehouse can lead to problems. For a warehouse to be successfully managed, the space has to be fully utilized, while ensur- ing that people can easily and quickly find ma- terials when needed. The easiest way to manage warehouse locations is by part number, which is fine for the ERP managers because they only then need to record within the system the gen- eral area in which the materials are stored, which may even be just the warehouse name. Materials are physically easy to find if they are stored in locations that are managed alpha-nu- merically by part number. Unfortunately, this is inefficient from a space-usage perspective because storage vol- ume requirements for each part number differ depending on the material size, and the quan- tity needed for each can fluctuate significant- ly. New part numbers and end-of-life materi- als can create significant physical issues for re- order material locations, with associated han- dling issues. Using "random locations" is far more efficient because each location can be used to their maximum capacity for a great- er amount of time, where any location can be used for any material. The issue then is remembering where the materials are. Where the materials are placed must be recorded, and each "carrier" of mate- rials, such as a reel, needs to be managed using a unique ID, which usually is just a simple bar- code created and applied when material is re- ceived into ERP. Logistics tasks typically require a mobile bar code reader, which is a little extra SMART FOR SMART'S SAKE, PART 2: MATERIAL MANAGEMENT

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