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Material management

Setting up effective materials management will ensure that inventory is available and that inventory levels are kept low.

Having materials in the right place at the right time is essential in manufacturing and for customers themselves as well. A materials manager's performance is usually measured based on product availability or how well out-of-stock situations are avoided. And for years, people in this position have been faced with an increasing array of product and part numbers. An increase in employee headcount in these areas is often taboo. In such situations, there is no time for inventory optimization, supplier management or to take overall cost into consideration.

But luckily, all of these processes, systems, and even the organization itself present real opportunities for improvement. Oftentimes, however, this potential is not leveraged.

Even inefficient processes between customers and suppliers can negatively affect the quality of supply, such as when information does not flow well between them. Often, only the most critical information is actually exchanged.

4flow consulting aids clients with the top-notch coordination of all the factors in the materials management process. Flexible processes that are aligned with each other and a universal linkage of IT systems form the basis of efficient materials management.

Benefits of effective materials management

Some of the results we get in materials management for our clients at 4flow consulting include:

  • Optimal availability of materials
  • Lower inventories by up to 30-45 percent
  • Increased delivery reliability to more than 95 percent
  • Integrated information flows
  • Lower personnel costs
  • Less manual materials management necessary

Solutions from 4flow

For optimized materials management from end to end, it is first necessary to look at the actual process and then those processes that take place before and after it in order to identify weak spots. Based on best practices and the 4flow maturity model, areas that need to be changed are quickly identified.

4flow consulting then develops processes for requirements planning and materials management that are optimized for each given situation. Great results can be achieved with modern IT solutions. Training and making adjustments to the organization to ensure efficient implementation also play a key role.

For intercontinental delivery flows, these optimization approaches provide excellent opportu-nities for improvement throughout the entire company. The primary goal of this optimization is to have processes that are aligned and flexible, and which can respond to new situations. All standard processes should be automated. Possible improvements include:

  • Centralized materials management
  • Supplier capacity management
  • Dynamic scheduling and parameterization
  • Automated supplier processes (e-kanban for example)
  • Just-in-time (JIT) and just-in-sequence (JIS) delivery
  • Efficient Consumer Response/Efficient Replenishment
  • C-parts management
  • Vendor-managed inventory and consignment warehouse
  • Optimal IT deployment (including SAP)

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