Oracle Mobile Supply Chain Applications : Be Mobile, Be Quick, Be Accurate and Reduce Waste
Guest post by
Shantanu Bedekar, Senior Consultant, Infosys
Anyone who has visited a manufacturing plant or a warehouse knows that there is always a time-lag between physical movement of material and recording the same in the system. The unavoidable reason of this is: material is stored in racks, bins, containers spread across the warehouse or shop-floor but computer terminals on which Oracle forms are opened to enter data are far and few.
Often this leads to:
- Reduced efficiency and utilization of warehouse personnel and devices - Imagine a discrete job shop where each job needs 20 to 30 components from different locations. And John, who is working in warehouse for last 30 years is supposed to pick and kit material on a trolley for a lot of jobs every shift and move that trolley in the queue of the machine on which first operation will be performed. Now John comes at the start of the shift, picks up 'job pick lists' printed on a designated printer, puts them in a rack, picks up the first one, goes around the warehouse, picks each component from the locator printed on the 'pick list', marks picked quantity on the 'pick list', if component is picked from a different locator or picked from multiple locators, John writes the locator name and quantity in the space that is actually not available anywhere on that 'pick slip'. After doing all this stuff, he comes back to the 'terminal' that has Oracle form open. But as soon as he enters the job number, it tells him that a re-login is required as the system is idle for some time. And when eventually John succeeds in opening 'WIP Material transaction form', he has to take care of locator changes, components that he did not pick etc. etc. And then repeat this for the next job and so on. Now wonder why John is not happy with the new system?
- Inventory accuracies - if John forgets to enter transaction in the system, the inaccuracies remain until they are corrected by way of cycle counting or physical counting. By the time the inaccuracies are corrected, it has already impacted supply demand picture thus creating noise in the planning system.
- At any point of time, a discrepancy between actual inventory positions vis-à-vis system inventory picture - though the discrepancies get corrected within a short span when John perform transactions in the system, it restricts the plant from going for 'continuous cycle counting' and requires setting aside a specific window within a day or shift to perform counting. This in turn reduces the 'utilization percentage of the shift'.
Another common complaint is: how did Oracle allow this transaction? For e.g. if a subinventory has locator control as 'dynamic locator', it will allow John to enter any locator in the receiving form which physically does not exist. Or John moves item 12X000001 but in the system enters 12X000002 in the item field which is also stored on the same locator. John's supervisor logs a support ticket and you give above explanations. Supervisor comes back and says, 'Hey, John is not an Engineer. And the guy is working here for 30 years. Give him a system which is simple and error proof!'
So what can you suggest? Train John so that he doesn't make any mistakes? Put computer terminals on each rack OR at least in each row in the warehouse? Give him a faster 'forklift' to 'blitzkrieg' around the shop-floor? Well, you can suggest a simpler solution: use Oracle Mobile Supply Chain Applications.
Oracle Mobile Supply Chain Applications provides functionality to perform various material transactions using Radio Frequency enabled mobile/handheld devices. John can perform transaction right where he is picking or putting the material, sitting in his fork-lift or at the receiving dock unloading material from the truck. Handheld devices come with barcode readers and when provided with enough barcodes on various pick lists and on the storage locations, it gives great relief to John who now just need to click and not enter the tedious part numbers or locators with 4 trailing dots because 'locator KFF' has 4 segments but locators are defined with a value in only first segment. Thus John now doesn't need to shuttle between warehouse racks and the 'Oracle Terminal' and worry about entering wrong part numbers or locators.
For the plant managers, improved inventory accuracy helps in better output of supply chain planning, supply chain execution and on-time delivery and reduces (and eventually eliminates) noise in material movement execution. It also enables them to opt for continuous cycle counting thereby increasing shift utilization.
MSCA is a 'Green' solution that helps in reducing carbon footprint - with MSCA, an organization can reduce 'computer terminals' on the floor that are always switched-on and can also minimize movement of personnel/material handling devices in a manufacturing facility by providing means of data entry at the point of consumption.
Oracle MSCA is easy to implement and easy to use. It is like an extension of the Oracle forms and allows users to perform common Inventory, Manufacturing and Quality Inspection transactions such as:
- Subinventory transfers
- Cycle count entry
- Issue material to work orders
- Complete work orders
- Receive material and Deliver to Stock against Purchase orders or internal requisitions
- Inspect during receiving, WIP move or WIP completion
- Pick and Ship against sales or internal orders
- and many more...
MSCA can be used as a stepping stone before moving to complex material management systems such as Oracle Warehouse Management System. When an organization decides to move to WMS, the efforts required in change management, training are less as users are familiar with using handheld devices. Also the infrastructure investment in RF network, devices, MWA server etc. is already in place, tested and ready to use.