Material supply

The aim of material supply is to achieve an increase in productivity through transparent processes, low control effort as well as low circulating stocks and high parts availability through reliable processes.

What are the types of material supply?

Basically, three types of material staging can be distinguished:

  • Inventory-controlled: Provision of all required parts at the workstation for all variants, replenishment of the staging shelves by logistics specialists.
  • Demand-driven: Complete pre-picking of orders by a logistician. “Sequential” staging at the workstation
  • Mixed form: Provision of common and C-parts, pre-picking of certain parts of the orders by a logistician, “sequential” provision at the workstation.
Types of material supply
Types of material supply

How do you go about planning the provision of materials?

  1. Segmenting the material flow to optimize material provision is the first step in planning material provision and logistics. The first step is to identify the different types of parts and to design the logistics processes of the different types in a uniform manner in the sense of high transparency. The focus is on the lowest possible effort through high standardization for the logistics provider.
  2. Based on a product analysis, the parts or part sets to be provided are identified and the part sets are broken down into sub-part sets. This step must always be carried out if the individual parts combined in a parts set for material staging are not kept in stock in the same warehouse. For each identified parts set or individual part, the required staging processes are derived and a specific staging strategy is assigned.
  3. The final step is the calculation of the parameters associated with the strategy, such as resource requirements, buffer stock or staging frequency. The second, short-term oriented level of material staging control comprises the function of triggering material staging and adjusting the staging strategy at short notice. These activities are supported by an assembly control station, which fulfills the functions of order coordination and material management in equal measure.
Material supply assembly
Material supply for an assembly

Success factor container management

A further step is container planning and provision at the workplace. The selection of staging principles (container-oriented, picked, etc.) and the design of a container system up to the assignment of parts to containers and the design and dimensioning of the staging systems (racks, trolleys, etc.). In order to ensure that productivity potentials gained in assembly are not offset by increased expenditure in logistics, the focus is always on the compromise between assembly suitability and logistics expenditure. This is the only way to achieve an overall optimum.
To minimize the space required for the provision of materials, the customer’s standard container sizes can be optimized. For example, for B-parts and C-parts, provision on pallets can be replaced by provision in KLTs. Again, an appropriate compromise between container sizes and logistics effort must be found.
Provisioning at the workstation aims at minimizing gripping distances and optimizing ergonomics. Frequently required parts should be staged in the immediate vicinity of the workstation (if necessary, on flex workstations in the case of a high number of variants); in addition, superfluous body rotations and movements of the worker should be avoided.