Steel Purchasing and Stock management is one of the most important process in every successful Steel Fabrication business and is also probably one of the most complicated to manage well.
The fact that hot rolled steel components need to be cut or profiled out of larger commercial sized beams or plates causes an extra level of complexity and means that traditional or none industry specific ERP systems cannot help in managing this process which then makes steel inventory management a bit of a challenge.
When I ask some customers how they currently deal with stock management and inventory control, one answer I get is “We don’t hold any stock, we don’t have a stockyard”. Strangely though I have not yet met one company though that employs lean procurement, has a low scrappage rate and maintains total material traceability, yet holds no stock at all.
I would even go as far as to say that even if you don’t have a stockyard, if you do your own processing then you still need to manage stock, even if it doesn’t stay in that form very long!
Another common response is that “our stockholder does that for us”. But even if you plan to let a let your stockholder do their own nesting for you and then provide you with cut to length bars or a cutting list, you still need a way to firstly work out what each supplier will be able to supply you with, manage the RFQ process, then manage the stock in transit.
The other thing to note in working this way is that if you don’t do your own nesting you end up paying extra for the service, and it makes it impossible to easily manage stock between different projects and retain material traceability as well as putting an unwelcome hole in bottom line profitability.
If you implement a Steel Production MIS system such as Graitec Advance Workshop, then these processes can all be automated and fully integrated with the rest of your production. Taking the production data from the CAD \ BIM model, the system will automatically understand what the requirements are and will sort the data into different categories depending on what you can process in-house, or that needs to outsourced.
It will then let you nest to your internal stock including recoverable remnants, and then provide you with a shortfall bar list which can then be sent to your suppliers for easy quoting. When the material arrives, the production order it can be amended for what is provided and heat certificate numbers recorded. Any offcut material is then put back into the stock system to be used for other jobs, and full traceability is maintained.
Advance Workshop is a new full featured Steel Production MIS system and can be employed by Steel Fabricators to fully manage their operations.
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