Appolis, Inc.

Warehouse Management Software Automation – Kitting (Light Manufacturing) with Full Lot-Control

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By Steve Dwyer, Vice President, Appolis

What if you could maximize your order fill rates while minimizing your extra inventory?  What if maintaining full lot-control throughout production is critical to your business?  Whether you are a Make to Order or Make to Stock Manufacturer, Kitting can play an important role in your process optimization strategy.

The mass production Make to Stock model of efficiencies gained through economies of scale from high-volume can put you at odds with the requirements of the Make-to-Order lean enterprise model.  Your ultimate goal is to produce customized products with the accuracy and practical methodology typically expected from high-volume Manufacturers.

Traditionally, Make-to-Stock manufacturing is the model people think of most when they think of Manufacturers. As is evident from the name itself, you are a manufacturer who makes your item to stock and your inventory waits for an order. You are the final buffer in the long JIT supply chain. You are the one who holds the inventory for all those other companies that use you for their inventory buffer.

Typically, you have used a forecast model based on historical sales of an item or a forecast based on your sales department’s projections on customer demand. You are frequently in touch with your customers, getting revised forecasts and blanket orders so you can modify your stocking levels to meet your customers needs. You spend a great deal of time to ensure the accuracy of your models. And yet, they are never “right”.

To quickly adapt you need to consider the following:

  • Improved communications from Sales to Engineering through Customer Service and the Shop Floor
  • Change Order tracking
  • Accurate job costing
  • Improved Purchasing
  • Better inventory control
  • Improved visibility of backlog
  • Multiple sourced materials
  • Facilitate scheduling
  • Widespread operations
  • Localization features

You will need to streamline data entry processes and monitor employee productivity in ‘real’ time. How will you receive accurate, detailed cost information that enhances your ability to identify and quickly rectify production issues?  How will you realize improvements in:

  • Operational Visibility – business analytics, reporting, monitoring
  • Integration – shop floor to top floor and beyond
  • The Right IT Systems – for your unique processes and requirements
  • Solid Communication – strong CRM capabilities for managing your customers

The kitting and assembly process of your business involves combining multiple components and vendors into a group of items that are sold as one part number. This may be just adding literature (warranty registration card, product manual, parts list, etc.) to a single item. Alternatively, it may require combining a list of components into baggies for a Vendor Managed Inventory provider and labeling the baggie with the Customer’s part number and a barcode.

With the Appolis WithoutWire™ (WoW) WMS Solution, full lot-control Kitting is made easy.  You can construct your kits on the fly – right from the mobile handheld or web console.  You can do reverse kitting when you need to de-construct a kit into a series of items and quickly append your kits when meeting demand surges becomes necessary.  You no longer need to sacrifice Lot Control of the components so that the integrity of your Traceability stays intact!

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