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Planning and Optimization of the Material Flow Improve Productivity

You want to find out in which production areas you would be able to reduce cost without investing a lot?

Planning of the material flow organizes and optimizes the flow of materials within production processes with the goal of improving productivity. Material flow denotes the “structured and organized movement of products from point A to point B, over the entire production system while taking into account the economic efficiency”.

More efficient utilization of space, lower investment costs and further cost savings, e.g. human resources, are the results.

Material flow is a complex process within the production process and cannot be optimally controlled without planning.

Example: Optimization of material flow through a different set-up

MES has relocated a bubble wrap production line from France to Germany.

It was not possible to set up the crane system again due to local conditions. The material flow analysis indicated that using a crane to supply sleeves would result in a more efficient set-up and save costs. For this reason a new crane system was built over the largest section of the installation.

Result: Optimization of the material flow resulted in a more economical production flow while taking into account the local conditions.

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Thomas Steinwachs, Head of Service
Thomas Steinwachs
Head of Service
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Material flow planning: production line before relocation
MES planning of the material flow on the occasion of relocating a bubble wrap production line: production line before relocation.
material flow planning: production line after relocation
Production line after relocation. A more efficient set-up is achieved by utilizing a crane system to supply sleeves and costs are saved.

Reducing material flow costs means curbing overall production costs

Optimization of individual costs while accounting for production development.

The following factors are taken into account:

  • Storage costs
  • Costs for human resources
  • Costs for transport
  • Energy costs
  • Fire protection
  • Occupational safety and health
  • Environmental protection regulations

Great effect at little expense

The optimization of the material flow can be carried out in small steps, e.g. by:

  • Optimizing set-up times
  • Revising transport logistics
  • Combining installations

Material flow planning – three plant situations with different requirements

Planning of material flow for the construction of a new production site

is a required building block in the overall plan and is equal to the planning of:

  • Building construction
  • Production planning
  • Fire protection
  • Energy supply
  • License/Permit

Planning of material flow when relocating the production site

is a required building block for planning relocation measures; however, under a more or less specified framework, such as e.g.:

  • Building: The environment is already given and must be optimally utilized
    • Extension options should be noted
    • Adapt infrastructure
  • Components to support the flow of materials already exist.
  • Target figures for production are available.
  • Other structure of costs at new site
    • Costs for human resources
    • Costs for rent

Planning of material flow for an existing production site

is an important tool for optimizing operations.

  • Optimization of sections
    • Warehouses
    • Intermediate storage
    • Packaging
    • Transport
  • Acquisition, recording, verification of characteristics data, such as:
    • Production quantities
    • Warehouse quantities
    • Intermediate storage quantities
    • Transport quantities
    • Shipping quantities
    • Packaging quantities
  • Optimization of components, such as:
    • Inspection machines
    • Packaging machines
    • Transport systems
  • Reduction of costs
    • Energy costs
    • Cost of Materials
    • Costs for human resources

Changes at the production site lend themselves to plan changes in the material flow:

  • Disassembly of production systems
  • Relocation of production systems
  • Extension of production systems
  • Conversion of production systems
  • Modernization of production installations

Project example: Planning the material flow of a plastics manufacturing facility

In fall 2004 Mehler Engineering + Service GmbH was awarded the contract for planning the material flow of a plastics manufacturing facility. As a result of basic engineering procedures, the material flow within production and warehousing was optimized so that the planned construction of a new shop building was no longer necessary.

  • Extrusion production
  • Fence production
  • Hot melt production
  • Warehouse/Packaging/Shipping
  • Servicing/Toolmaking
  • The new mixing machine was integrated into the existing area.
  • The hot melt production line was relocated to another production site.
  • The warehouse was reorganized according to customer groups.
  • A new coding system was used for products.
  • The toolmaking area was separated from the servicing area.
  • Construction of a new shop building was no longer necessary.

Result: Estimated investment costs of € 600,000 were avoided.

Thomas Steinwachs, Head of Service

Thomas Steinwachs
Head of Service

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