Materials Management

Ensure that materials needed to execute various project activities are available at the right place at the right time. Track the following stages in the materials management lifecycle — planning the quantities of various materials required; purchasing materials from different vendors; dispatching materials to multiple locations where it is required; recording the receipt of materials; and finally, issuing and utilizing materials for manufacturing.

Materials Management Lifecycle

Materials Management Lifecycle

The adjoining diagram shows the typical stages in the Material Management lifecycle. First comes preparation of the Bill of Materials (BOM) which is followed by Purchasing. Any purchase takes into the account material requirement from the BOM as well as the result of the later stages such as material receipt, inspection, and finally, issue. This is shown by the arrow from the Material Receipt and Inspection stage to the Purchasing stage. How material is issued affects purchasing as well. This is shown by the arrow from the Material Issue stage to the Purchasing stage.

At all times, the module provides a high-level summary of materials required and available across various locations and can be used to alert managers to discrepancies. One challenge in Materials Management is reconciling the differences that occur when dealing with material quantities in different units. For instance, engineering drawings that decide the bill of materials measure items use units of length such as millimetre and metre. Whereas, at the time of purchasing, steel items are almost always measured by units of weight such as kilogram and metric tonne. The Materials Management application handles these differences and reports material availability and requirement in different ways to reduce chances of error.

Materials Summary Information

Summary output of the Materials Management module

The module provides a summary view of the inventory status of each project. The summary view provides a high-level overview the material requirement, the quantities ordered for purchase, quantities received, the quantities of materials that are of good quality, and finally quantities of materials issued, usable dropoffs and unusable scrap. The adjoining screenshot from this view shows a few items and their quantities. By applying filters for location or the material or other properties, one can quickly drill down into the data to get a detailed picture.

Material issue planner

Output of the Material issue planner

An important feature of this module is the issue planner or fabrication planner. The planner computes material requirement and compares it against availability to let the user plan what parts of their project can be fabricated at the current moment. This planner does not simply compare weights and quantities, but does a detailed Nesting to see if the required items fit within the material that is currently available. The accompanying screenshot shows sample output of the Fabrication Planner. The table lists items at locations and whether there is a shortage that needs to be satisfied by purchasing additional quantity of items.

Automatic material indent generator

Automatically prepared WorkPack (Material indent)

Material issue is the last stage of the Material Management lifecycle. The application issues materials into chunks called WorkPacks. A WorkPack refers to an amount of fabrication work represented by the engineering drawings being fabricated. In addition to the drawings, a WorkPack also records materials issued for fabricating them. The application allows the user to add drawings for fabrication and automatically compute and record materials to be issued. The adjoining screenshot is taken from a WorkPack’s page. On the left, it shows Drawings to be fabricated, and on the right it shows material that is issued. The screenshot has space for one item, showing the issued quantity as well as details of Dropoffs used and Dropoffs and Scrap items produced while fabrication.

Optimal material utilization with 1-D and 2-D nesting

Output of 1-D nesting

Our 1-D and 2-D nesting algorithms ensure optimal utilization of material. The nesting logic is smart enough to use leftovers from previously issued materials before requiring the use of new material. The application also provides the cutting plan of each item needed to fabricate the added drawings. The accompanying screenshot shows the summary of nesting output for a particular material within a WorkPack.