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Material flow planning as a method for increased productivity


The thorough test shows every efficient opportunity for improvement, which optimize the productivity and the financial management. With the so called flow of materials plan, an analysis can be conducted and the results help the business organize more effectively. Also in the planning, a new position method is necessary.

What is the material flow planning?

The material flow planning is to be regarded as part of the overall corporate functions and includes the planning and design of internal material flows, within a unified factory and building. For this reason all operational areas will be analyzed, from goods received up to outgoing goods. A complete flow of materials planning includes multifaceted duties and is considered excellent as a base for factory planning using simulation software.

The goal of the planning is optimization of the flow of material in the operation of intra-logistics. So an exact adaptation of the inventory, or the reduction of land requirements in the operation of the logistics can occur. In addition, it shall result in high retain-ability i.e. the improvement of the operation costs of the company (in preparation through production planning). Beyond that, an increase of the flexibility and increase of the process ability can be accomplished. Often the analysis can be used as hidden potential, for example in the sector transportation, location, and logistic processes.

Application of the material flow planning

The location of the material flow planning in the industry is very multifaceted. The application leaves itself in almost all productions and assembly processes, maintenance and repair work, but also in numerous other corporate departments.

Possible locations for an optimization based on material flow planning are:

  • Distribution centers
  • Distribution and logistic
  • Conveyor system
  • Nodal point
  • Work shops
  • Airports
  • Storage

In addition to optimizing existing systems, the flow of materials planning can also be used beyond that:

  1. When planning new storage and handling systems in addition to the focus on efficiency, also taken into consideration on spatial relationships on site.
  2. Extensions of the site make it possible to adjust the logistics and distribution areas to other quantity structures or new production.
  3. Increasing efficiency in the whole operating range can be done through improvements in material flow and so, including shorten lead times, reduce stocks and thus make room for new products.

Approach to optimize the material flow

The procedure to improve the flow of material can be roughly classified into four steps

  1. Preliminary work to the identification of data
  2. Operations planning to finding concepts
  3. Detailed planning
  4. Realization and implementation of the system

Initially, the planning criteria must be determined and evaluated. Therefore, the first phase with the planning organization takes place. Afterwards the central planning input variables will be identified. These include the product structure (range analysis on the amount, weight, size, etc), dynamic data, building requirements, area, means of transportation and storage, legal conditions and the provision for extension. Nowadays the planning basics will often be constructed on the computer, this is depending on the task applied to factory design software, visualization software, and/or animation software.

In addition, in the preparatory work and the costs and deadlines are set. Through the evaluation of all data follows the so-called material flow analysis. From this material arise planning data forms the basis for the next steps.
In the subsequent stages of planning the first decisions on the structure and the system are taken, to find a concept. Different possibilities and solutions will be prepared and discussed with the customer. The variation will be conducted from your economic check and cost use analysis.

So the different factors with the inspection will be included, in order to maximize the benefit. In the detailed plan, final technical and organizational processes will be detailed, determined, and checked. With help from the data, an advancement of the technical system can also occur. In this area, it is also possible to use a software for material flow simulation, to thereby evaluate the system.
Then the project ensues. In this phase, the coordination, monitoring, and testing tasks will be assumed. At the end of the successful work the acceptance and handover to the client occurs.