Material Handling

Maximize Efficiency with Material Handling Investments

In the rapidly evolving SMT industry, efficient material handling is crucial to gaining and maintaining competitive edges

As companies strive to optimize their production processes and reduce costs, effective handling and storage of SMT reels become increasingly important. In this blog post, we will discuss how investing in advanced inventory management systems can lead to a higher return on investment by improving efficiency, reducing waste, and enhancing traceability.

Material's Importance

Material is at the core of any successful manufacturing operation, since nothing can be produced without it. The efficient storage and handling of your material directly impacts production efficiency and overall costs. Poor inventory management leads to longer lead times, stockouts, excess labor, emergency orders, production delays, and more. On the other hand, organized and streamlined inventory management processes result in increased productivity, reduced waste, higher OEE, and direct improvements to the company's bottom line.

SMT Inventory Management Challenges

Managing SMT reels can be challenging due to several factors, including:

  • Volume and wide variety of components
  • Storage space constraints
  • The need for accurate and real-time tracking of inventory
  • Coordination and communication among different departments and stakeholders

While these challenges have different weights and impacts depending on each particular operation, they all necessitate the adoption of advanced inventory management systems that can optimize SMT reel handling and storage.

Benefits of Material Handling Systems

Investing in advanced material handling systems provides numerous benefits which include:

  • Improved efficiency
    • Parts can be stored in less storage space, and retrieved in less time
    • Huge reductions in labor costs and human errors
  • Reduced waste
    • Eliminate surprise shortages and emergency buys
    • Accurately track parts to eliminate parts expiration
  • Advanced traceability
    • Track each individual package throughout its lifetime
    • Identify all dates/lots/etc. used on each individual workorder
  • Optimized storage space
    • Store material in less space
    • Keep parts at the point of use, eliminating stockrooms/warehouses
    • Fewer square feet dedicated to storage reduces overhead costs
  • Improved coordination and communication
    • Material handling systems provide a reliable source of truth for different departments to rely upon
    • Be confident in what is on hand, only order what is required
    • Automated interfaces further improve inventory accuracy

Investment Considerations

Before investing in a new material handling system, it is important to weight the potential benefits against the costs. Key factors to consider include:

  • Up-front investment costs
    • Cost to purchase, ship, install, and train on new equipment and software
    • Pay attention to custom software needs as well as any modifications to already existing systems and processes
  • Long term maintenance and support
    • Robotic systems typically require ongoing maintenance, calibration, and other upkeep
    • Other systems can be installed once without any ongoing maintenance costs
  • Learning curve
    • Does this new system drastically alter existing processes?
    • Is the new system's software complicated, and does it accomplish your goals without excessive trade-offs or modification?
  • Scaleability
    • Is it simple to add on to the system as you grow?
    • Can the system adapt over time as you further refine production processes? 
    • It is crucial to keep your systems up to date
    • Ensure integration capabilities with what you have now
    • Investigate integration capabilities with future systems down the road
      Integration with existing (and future) systems

Final Thoughts

In the current age of electronics manufacturing, where everyone has blazing fast placement equipment, advanced inspection machines, and modern ERP/MRP/MES systems, material handling is where the most shrewd manufacturers are finding their edge. Intelligent Material Handling Systems provide myriad benefits to any type of SMT manufacturing operation. By carefully considering your options and selecting a provider, you can gain a competitive advantage with incredible ROI.

Please get in touch with any questions on this, or any other, topic! 

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