Most KnarrTek Material Tracking & Decision Support (MTDS) systems implementations start with clients who are using paper forms and manual keyboard data entry into Excel spreadsheets, or their ERP or accounting systems, to track their manufacturing or distribution operations.
Use of paper forms and manual keyboard data entry is expensive in labor, mistake prone, and does not provide the real-time information managers need to efficiently run their operations. It also does not provide the information that equipment operators and materials handlers need to do their jobs efficiently.
In a KnarrTek MTDS system, we replace the writing down of information on paper forms with real-time capture of materials tracking and operational data using technologies such as barcode scanning and mobile computing. This enables the MTDS system to check whether the equipment operator or materials handler is about to make an operational or data collection mistake and issue a point-of-action warning before and not after the mistake is made.
A KnarrTek MTDS system makes extensive use of artificial intelligence techniques to simplify the data capture interface so it can be used by people that have only limited computer literacy. Users are only presented with the data they need to enter at the time they need to enter it and every item is extensively checked as they enter it.
This is in contrast to a user screen on an ERP or accounting system which can have hundreds of boxes and icons on the screen and requires extensive training to use. This is why these systems are only used by office staff and not people on the shop-floor.
With a KnarrTek MTDS system, data is available to managers as soon as it is captured. This enables managers and support staff to view the status of customer orders, inventory, jobs, projects etc. in real-time.
This same data is saved away in history table for reporting and after-the fact analysis. This same data can then be used for predictive alerting:
This enables a paradigm shift from managers discovering in a report that a critical mistake was made yesterday to being alerted when problems are about to arise. This can be as simple as notifying a material handler that a floor-stock bin needs replenishing, to alerting a materials manager that more materials need to be ordered. It can also include detecting when an operation on a job is taking longer than planned or that an equipment operator has decided to work on a different job from that which is most critical.
This can eliminate much of the need for managers and supervisors to walk the floor to try to spot when problems are starting to occur. It can also eliminate much of the time taken in group planning and coordination meetings, whose primary purpose is to communicate when what actually happened yesterday is different from the planned production schedule.
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