SERVICES FAQ


What services do you offer?

Please see supply-chain-systems.com for a full list of all the services we could offer you. However, this site is focused on scheduling software we license. In order for scheduling future events to be effective, there has to be other elements in place: Inventory management, forecasting, demand management and a business systems to handle routine operational transactions. Therefore we provide the additional services to ensure the success of implementing the scheduling software:

  1. Implementing either the entire business system or inventory management within an existing business system.
  2. Build customized supply chain analysis tools for your key business challenges or do the analysis for you.
  3. Provide the necessary education on how to get the most out of your business system and scheduling tools.

The following questions are relevant if you are just setting up a business system, expanding its use or implementing a scheduling process and/or tool. We can assure you one thing – all these questions are absolutely critical to you!  We would be happy to discuss these issues more with you and it would be our pleasure to help you.

What does it take to manage inventories?

If you own the material regardless of its location then you need to manage it and understand the onhand quantity at any point in time. Old data is useless information. Anything that causes the onhand inventory number to be wrong is like a gas gauge that is inaccurate. Therefore every activity and event that affects these numbers need to be captured and recorded in a timely fashion. We will make sure that all your systems and procedures are setup to provide the best accuracy possible.

What are Material References?

Internal to a company the same material may have a variety of references. What is forecasted may be different than what is ordered by a customer. Even the item inventories have may differences references – a date reference, a version reference, lot coding, serial coding, expiration date, etc. Packaging sizes, color variations, product sizes, club packs, retail and wholesale, substitutions, varying physical properties can all distinguish one inventory from another. Engineering documentation must agree with the material handling systems.

External to a company there are vendors, distributors and manufacturers who may refer to the same material / component by different numbers. Third party warehouses may also have their own identification system. These all need to be cross-referenced so that people know that they are the same. We will setup your systems to do the cross-referencing as needed.

What is Lot or Serial Coding?

1) Lots coding refers to a distinct quantity that is made at the same time with documented quality control tests that ensure it meets minimum specifications. If a quantity of material is made under the same condition & equipment and with the same raw materials then it is assumed to have a similar quality for the entire “Lot”. A Lot Code is assigned to that portion of inventory with references back to documentation as to how is was made and when. If there is a product recall then a specific Lot maybe be identified, that had the problem, thus limiting and isolating the problem.
2) Serial coding is similar to Lot Coding except that each unit of product is given a unique code number. Further, a range or date range of codes is assigned to further categorize the quality control information necessary for a recall if ever needed.

The consequence of adding this information as an identifier is that extra work is required to add this information to every transaction that affects the respective inventory records. We will help you make that decision and setup the systems accordingly.

What are the limits of a perpetual inventory calculation?

All modern business systems use mathematics to determine the current onhand (perpetual) inventories of every item. However the calculation assumes that every event that affects the inventory quantity has been recorded/posted. There are also assumptions made regarding conversion of numbers. A big one is the use of a Bill of Material (BOM). At best a BOM is an approximation of what “will” be used to make one unit of product. The bottomline is that over time the perpetual calculated inventory will become less and less accurate. It is periodically corrected by doing physical counts of the inventory. Further if the business system is not setup properly then the inventory values used for making decisions can not be trusted. We will help you understand how to best setup your systems and manage it over time so it can be trusted,

Inventory Timing?

Business systems can be setup with rules to enforce a discipline over the organization. An example of this would be that customer service can not commit to a new sales order if the onhand inventory is neither sufficient nor sufficient planned production prior to the requested ship date. The business systems assume a sequence of events and posting of those events (as transactions) so that false expectations are avoided. The perpetual inventory calculation is heavily used to make that determination. Obviously this ties into the previous discussion. If the organization does not properly control inventory accuracy or implement a discipline over posting transactions then business could literally stops! This is one of the primary reasons ERP system implementations fail. Let us help you avoid that.

Do you need to worry about inventory location and how detailed?

Inventories can be tracked in aggregate, by site or by bin. Similar to the Reference discussion above, the greater the detail desired to monitor and control inventory levels, the greater the number of transactions required to maintain overall accuracy. More transactions puts a greater burden on the organization, especially if posting the transactions are performed manually. We will help you make the right choice for today and develop a plan for future expansion.

What is a Bill of Material?

A BOM is a recipe for making one unit of finished goods/product. This begs the question as to what is one unit of final product? Some businesses only sell at a retail level while others may sell only at a wholesale level (by the case). Therefore the BOM is relative to the “unit” that is sold and produced. There are also considerations for building yield losses into the BOM numbers. We just suggest that there is enough complication to understanding the implications for settings this up correctly that you need experience to help you.

What is a subassembly?

If life was simple everything would be made in one step. However, manufacturing is usually a series of steps. Regardless of that, some of the steps may be so intimately connected that they could be considered one step in a larger manufacturing process. Then there is a inventory monitoring and recording process. A distinct inventory quantity needs to tracked in the business system when there is a separation in the manufacturing process where inventory can accumulate for an extended period of time. The material inventory at this stage of production would be called a subassembly. A subassembly has its own BOM for all the components used prior to that stage in manufacturing. It can be other components and even other subassemblies. This structure would carry over from the business system to a scheduling tool. Further, inventory quantities would need to be coordinated between both tools.