Vendor managed inventory made easy

The issue of inventory, stock on hand, just in time, MRP (manufacturing resource planning) is a popular one, easier when its all in one building ... very difficult when it's spread all over the country.


March 2007
A popular topic with many organisations these days is the issue of inventory, stock on hand, just in time, MRP (manufacturing resource planning). There are many benefits to be gained out of well managed inventory and equally many downsides to the issue when inventory is not managed well, such as:

Too much stock.

Too little stock.

Long lead times.

Cash flow tied up in inventory.

Wastage, spoilage, loss.

Production downtime.

Poor productivity.

It all boils down to how to plan better and measure better. That is where Data2Desktop from Omniflex shines. If it can be measured Omniflex can present the data to the people that need it in the organisation.

Summary screen of Omniflex Data2Desktop Service.
Summary screen of Omniflex Data2Desktop Service.

Omniflex has harnessed the power and pervasiveness of the world wide web for the presentation and dissemination of data enabling large scale operations to collect and consolidate data through the use of GSM-enabled remote terminal units which can interface with remote installed field units called data access points (DAPs) at a multitude of local or global locations.

Omniflex has spent the majority of its 40-plus years existence devoted to the design and development of industrial communications and alarming systems, all heavily influenced by industry. Hard lessons learnt have moulded Omniflex products in some of the toughest most capable and solution rich products for the harsh conditions imposed by the industrial environment.

The Omniflex product offering takes the form of RTUs (remote terminal units) located in the field distributed as necessary amongst the assets that required monitoring. For example, tanks or bins of raw material for production processes, gas, fuels, chemicals, etc.

The Teleterm M2 Series RTUs are available in many variants for network flexibility from Ethernet, Conet, Modbus, wireless forms with radio or GSM communications. This provides many solutions in data gathering to the GSM data access points (DAPs). Access to the data is via the world wide web using a service called Data2Desktop provided by the Omniflex Data Centre which is located within the GSM cellular communications cloud and accessible via the Internet. This allows many users access to data by simply using an Internet browser with no investment in special software.

Widely distributed company assets can be viewed on a single webpage by authorised users from any remote location. Data from the Omniflex Data Centre is available to corporate MIS systems with the use of an OPC server or special drivers which will integrate the data into the MIS system database like SQL or MYSQL which are widely used in large commercial software solutions thus providing actual status of the raw material from geographically remote locations to be compared against accounting statuses. Discrepancies in the accounting system will be immediately identified instead of during periodic audits. Actual deliveries of material can be identified with date and time and not just by processed order capture at accounting terminals.

The implications? Automated real measurements from remote distributed assets without reliance on human intervention.

Many organisations rely on the accounting systems to manage stock levels with occasional hands on verification to prove stock material is actually there. Vendors who manage stock on a customer's site have the largest problems and incur great expense often in managing material stock remotely. When this is automated real measurable benefits accrue very quickly to the organisations involved.

The Data2Desktop service also provides:

* Alarms via SMS or e-mail.

* Alarm summary and history.

* Logged data.

* Trending of selected points.

* Report generation.

* Downloading data for further analysis.

* Options to connect corporate MIS systems directly for automated information.

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