The IQMS Development and Automation staff are working on some exciting new development projects for 2013, over and above the hundreds of software enhancement requests (SERs) that we receive from our customers every month through the customer support website, MyIQMS. We believe that our commitment to continuous improvement has been one of the keys to our high growth and overall success.
One of our new 2013 upcoming projects is the development of an enterprise-wide Inventory Transaction Alert System. The concept for the system is to allow shop floor users to interact with the finished goods and raw material warehouses through a transaction alert system that initiates inventory transactions, particularly from the shop floor. The transaction alert system functionality can be found in the following EnterpriseIQ modules: ShopData, AssemblyData, the Warehouse Management System (WMS) and multiple RTStation apps.
The following is an overview of the transaction alert functionality. In ShopData and AssemblyData, there is a new icon for “Work Order Material/Components.” This will also be available as an app for the RTStation. The Work Order Material/Components application starts out by showing a color-coded grid of all raw materials and components used to manufacture the work order. This list is based either on the Bill of Materials (BOM) or the Work Order Hard Allocation list. The list ties these raw material items to the work center’s disposition “out” location.
If there is “enough” material in the disposition “out” location, then the raw material item is color-coded green. If there is not “enough” of the raw material item, it is color-coded yellow. The “enough” material quantity is calculated based on a new global and work center based variable called “Staging Quantity in Hours.” This gives the user the ability to specify how many production hours worth of each raw material to stage. Obviously, the amount of material to stage will never exceed the amount required to finish the work order unless the user overrides the transaction alert quantity.
If there are items in the work center’s disposition location that are not part of the current production requirement, they are color-coded red. Typically, these raw materials could be left over from the last run or otherwise mistakenly transacted to this work center’s disposition “out” location. No matter the reason, they should be removed before the start of production in order to reduce the likelihood of a mistake.
Now that we have a color-coded list of the required raw materials, along with any raw material that shouldn’t be there, the user can use the touch screen to click on either the yellow coded materials to ask for a staging transaction or the red coded materials to ask for a pickup transaction. A table is populated with the information necessary to process the transaction alert along with the date and time the alert was submitted.
We have also introduced the concept of inventory zones. Inventory zones are a parent of inventory locations. An inventory location can only belong to a single zone. WMS users can belong to an unlimited number of zones. When a transaction alert is initiated, the work center’s disposition “out” location’s zone is written to the transaction alert table. A special Oracle call back notification is applied to the transaction alert table so that when a new transaction alert is added to the table, a notice will display to all WMS users that are assigned to the inventory zone.
When a user acknowledges the alert and completes the transaction, that transaction alert row is moved to a history table along with the date and time that the transaction was completed. You can imagine the types of warehouse and personnel performance reports that can be derived from this information.
This system will allow for a RTStation to be connected to an HDMI-capable flat screen TV that can be mounted in the warehouse and set up to show all pending transaction alerts based on a zone or group of zones. This will become the “pulse” of the warehouse, not only directing raw material staging but also the pickup of manufactured items from the shop floor.
The Inventory Transaction Alert System is just one of the many exciting new developments IQMS has in store for 2013. Stay tuned to this blog for other updates on upcoming automation collaboration developments with our customers.