More and more decors, more and more diverse materials and hardly anything is "standard". Nowadays, many carpentries struggle with these challenges around material management due to increasing individual customer requirements. In the medium-sized, German carpentry zieflekoch GmbH, the tool and material management urgently needed a change.
Therefore, the team installed the digital material management twinio successfully. The following report presents valuable insights on how they have overcome the hurdle of managing various different edgebands.
As a pilot project for the digital tool and material management twinio, we examined and scrutinized our production. More precisely, it was the chaos of our edging material that motivated us to move towards new, digital methods for material management.
As a medium-sized company in the furniture industry, we offer our customers approx. 30 decors as "standard". The fact that we can only process 50% of our orders with these standard materials shows the variety our production has to serve. Especially with edges, this diversity often turns out to be a hidden problem. In addition, each panel decor requires the matching edge in three different heights, namely 23 mm, 33 mm and 43 mm. This ultimately results in a flood of materials and edge bandings that employees can no longer see through and overlook.
In the past, our machine operators knew what edging materials they had on their shelves and in the machine. But now there are five machine operators and three machines that glue edges in our production. Now, at the latest, individual persons can no longer manage our stocks in their heads. So we no longer know whether we still have anything left over from the specific mirror gloss edgeband from the last customer project. Nevertheless, we know how much we still have in stock and if this might be enough edgeband for the upcoming projects.
So what happens? We ordered new rolls as a precaution to make sure that nothing runs out! As a result, within a few months we were able to build entire rows of shelves full of leftover edgeband from past orders that nobody uses because hardly anyone knows that they exist at all. When you consider that one running meter of ABS edging costs around 1 €, there is good reason to question the processes involved in edge management.
In addition to the lack of stock overview, we also noticed that some of our machine operators spend a long time trying to find the edge rolls within the production process.
What is the reason for this? Normally, edge rolls are manually labelled by employees in the incoming goods department with the corresponding commission and brought to a chaotic storage rack at the machines. This means that our machine operators start searching the storage rack for handwritten slips of paper to find the right order.
This "manual" search alone takes up a lot of time. It is not uncommon to notice that the rolls are still in the incoming goods department or perhaps have not yet been delivered. By this time, however, about 15 minutes have already passed, 15 minutes more than unnecessary minutes in our opinion.
So now we knew our problems and with twinio as a solution for digital material management we were able to meet the challenge of "Edge Management 4.0". With a few clicks our production was digitally displayed in mytapio. Since we have now digitally created the remnant warehouse, the commission warehouse or even the machines as storage locations, we can move our material in production. This way we create transparency and reduce search times.
We were particularly impressed by the individuality of twinio. We didn't have to completely reinvent the wheel, however, we can use and adapt twinio to our individual needs. We simply used internal, existing material codes to identify edge rolls. On the one hand, this saved us an enormous amount of time and on the other hand, all employees already knew these codes and were familiar with working with them.
Afterwards we thought about which additional information an edge roll needs in our production. Again, we were able to create and expand fields individually. Since different departments have access to twinio, we need different information in each department.
For example, the machine operator only wants to know the current storage location of the material, the project manager is interested in the total stock and the buyer would like to know the manufacturer's article number. Using the search function, any employee from any department can easily search for the parameter he needs. With twinio we are therefore able to make this information available to every department in digital form. Whether on a laptop, a smartphone or on the computer of the edgebander.
As a medium-sized company, we are too big to manage materials "in our heads" but too small and flexible to be tied to rigid ERP chains. We must constantly adapt to new customer requirements and need flexibility and individuality - also in digital materials management. With twinio, we manage to keep track of things despite the great variety, become more efficient and take another step towards digital production.
The article was written by Adrian Hornberger, who introduced twinio at zieflekoch GmbH.