For manufacturers of sheet metal products, coil inventory management is a difficult but critical task. Inventory represents a huge investment but is heavy, bulky and hard to track. Having the right inventory on hand may be critical to meeting customer needs. It can be difficult and time-consuming to take a physical inventory of coils. The only way to have interim inventory values is to track each coil at the point of usage.
Inventory usage can be tracked manually by the operator. He could use a footage totalizer and manually record the beginning and ending readings. He could also add the calculated footage of the order to the length of scrap that occurred to get the amount of material used. In either case, data must be recorded manually at the machine and again in the office. Manual data entry is time consuming and prone to error. It also opens the door for theft.
A better way to manage coil inventory is with Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM). With CIM systems, the machine controllers are linked to a central computer that downloads all orders. The machine controller automatically measures every millimeter of material consumed. It can distinguish between good material and scrap then report both to the central computer. The coil inventory database is updated automatically with a lot less labor. The benefits of CIM are as follows:
- Fast and highly-accurate recording of coil usage.
- Verification that the proper coil has been selected for each order (eliminates potentially disastrous mistakes).
- Theft prevention tools.
- Trace defective materials back to suppliers.
- Tag order to a specific coil and supplier for potential warranty issues.
Please contact us to see how the CIM features of our Eclipse Production Management System can help your company.