Supply Chain Edge: Implementing Material Handling Control Systems

By demanding faster deliveries -- and better communication -- customers are changing the way material handling control systems are deployed and used. With the proper components and controls, Material handling control systems can bridge operational gaps in and between organizations. But where do you start if you want to implement a successful material handling control system? Here are three steps to get you on your way:

Step 1: Define business requirements

Examine your supply chain’s collective business requirements and determine which processes aid in achieving the collective operational goals. Decide which processes need focused attention and determine where technology and automation will create the most success.

Step 2: Analyze technology options

When selecting technology options, be sure to review the control and mechanical architecture components, ensure that tightly integrated yet quickly modifiable interfaces can connect and morph over time and seriously consider an open system environment. The infrastructure you design must also be analyzed at the granular level and implemented in a fully redundant manner so that if a single component of the control system is replaced, it won’t disrupt the architecture. To do this, it’s important to standardize each layer of the application technology and create interfaces that enable various business and operating components to work alone and together.

Step 3: Assess costs and savings

Determine where you can cut costs, save labor and further improve process workflows. Also, ensure that final workflows accomplish all business requirements and that technology and material handling solutions can be effectively supported and operated.

For more information about this topic, access the article, Aligning Material Handling Control Systems with Your Supply Chain, at http://www.tompkinsinc.com/ce/articles/12-02-ControlSystems.asp.

Tompkins Associates provides clients with supply chain excellence through supply chain consulting and integration solutions. For more information, visit www.tompkinsinc.com.

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