We get flat steel coils that are stored in Coil Storage Bay (input storage yard). The input storage yard is of 800 square meters in area. Typically, at any given time, 100 coils are stored in the storage area. Overhead cranes are used to move these coils.
Coils are picked up from the storage area for further processing like tinplating, cold rolling etc. The processed sheets are then cut into the sizes as per the customer requirements. The sheets are then stacked and packed in the desired numbers/weight in packets.
These packets (also called Finished Goods) are picked up from the conveyor by forklifts and are kept in designated locations in transit area in stacks of four to Five. The transit area is of 500 sq ft. It can hold 50 stacks of packets. Each stack contains at most 5 packets.
The forklift shifts the packets to the warehouse from the transit area. We have two warehouses measuring 1208 square meters and 760 square meters, in area. Location data of each packet is scanned manually using MLS (Material Location System) and uploaded in SAP. Based on the priority of dispatch, a picking list is prepared by Customer Order Management Department (COMD). It primarily consists of location information of the packets as per the dispatch requirement.
The packets are then searched, marked & sorted manually as per dispatch location. Using forklifts the packets are then moved to Staging Area. The Staging Area measures 400 sq ft. It can hold 25 stacks at any given time. Each stack consists of a maximum of 5 packets. Overhead Cranes are used to load the packets in Trucks. PGI (Post Goods Issue) and sealing (Tarpaulin Cover and Seal for making it tamper proof during transit) is then done, as a measure of quality check, before finally releasing the truck.
Location of packets in all of the above storage areas, is updated once in 8 hours. Errors in the form of mismatch in picking list, incorrect packet & packet location identified by the operator occur, when the packets are moved during stacking and/or retrieved from their current location.
The process as mentioned above is manual and prone to errors. This causes delays as a lot of time is spent in sorting out the correct packets as per the Picking List. We had attempted to implement beacon based material tracking system. However, it did not solve the problem completely and was found to be expensive. We are, therefore, inviting solutions to solve the problems outlined above.
The solution will mitigate the problems outlined above and will facilitate in eliminating errors, reduce dependency on manual intervention, simplify the process of material tracking and improve the efficiency & accuracy of material shipment.
The solution should satisfy the following criteria:
1. It should facilitate automatic feeding (input) and retrieval of information.
2. It should prepare the Picking list automatically based on the customer order.
3. The location information should get updated instantly and automatically.
4. It should give alerts when the packets are moved and/or are not in the correct location.
5. It should not require additional installations for different storage areas. i.e. it should provide integrated system for all the storage areas.
6. It should be easily scalable.
7. It would be an added advantage, if solution would allow automatic marking of the packets as well.
8. Minimal human intervention should be required.
9. It should have a facility to review and correct information, if needed.
10. It should easily integrate with the existing IT infrastructure.
11. All the data should be stored internally. Cloud storage is not preferred.