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Optimization in steel product storage halls... A real challenge for more than one WMS tool!
Originally published on Industry 4.0 Blog by AlainBolyn | September 18, 2023 02:32 PM
Logistics is a key element in the competitiveness of steel companies, which have to manage large, complex flows of semi-finished and finished products. Storage halls are strategic locations where products are received, sorted, stored, prepared and dispatched.
Optimizing logistics in these warehouses represents a major challenge for reducing costs, improving quality, safety and traceability, and meeting both internal and customer requirements. What are the main challenges involved in optimizing logistics in steel product storage halls? Here are the main ones...
Space management The use of available storage space must be optimized, taking into account constraints linked to product characteristics (weight, dimensions, fragility, etc.), handling methods (forklift trucks, overhead cranes, etc.), safety regulations (minimum distance between stacks, evacuation zones, etc.) and customer requirements (lead times, quantities, etc.).
Warehouse management Storage halls must ensure efficient stock management, avoiding stock-outs, overstocking and obsolescence. To achieve this, they need a reliable, high-performance information system that provides real-time information on stock levels and locations, as well as incoming and outgoing movements. They must also implement forecasting and planning methods adapted to demand and supply.
Flow management A smooth flow of goods must be guaranteed, minimizing waiting times, unnecessary movements and errors. To achieve this, they need to define clear, consistent rules and procedures governing logistics operations from receipt to dispatch. They must also optimize the organization and coordination of the players involved (staff, suppliers, carriers, customers, etc.).
Quality Warehouses must ensure irreproachable product quality, avoiding deterioration, loss and non-conformity. To achieve this, they must comply with product standards and technical specifications, as well as customer requirements. They must also implement regular and rigorous quality controls, enabling anomalies to be detected and corrected.
Safety The safety of people and products must be guaranteed. To achieve this, they must comply with safety rules and instructions, which apply to both equipment and personnel. They must also train staff and make them aware of the risks involved in handling and storing steel products.
Traceability Full product traceability is essential, while keeping a record of the logistical operations carried out on each product or batch. To achieve this, automatic identification systems (barcodes, RFID, etc.) can be used to track products from entry to exit. These passive systems are useful, but in no way replace the real-time traceability ensured by specific stock management software tracking all handling equipment in real time.
Continuous improvement Warehouses must aim for continuous improvement in their logistics performance, by regularly measuring their results using relevant indicators (cost, quality, lead time, safety, etc.). They must also analyze their strengths and weaknesses, identify potential sources of improvement, and implement corrective and preventive actions.
In conclusion, logistics optimization in steel product storage halls is a complex, multi-dimensional challenge, requiring a global, integrated approach that takes into account customer needs and expectations, market constraints and opportunities, the characteristics and capacities of products, equipment and human resources, as well as the company's strategic and operational objectives.
Today, in this specific market, a product such as FLUXX meets all these challenges with flying colors!
The FLUXX Warehouse Management/ Transport Management solution provides a global solution to the challenges faced by steel producers such as ArcelorMittal, NLMK and Baosteel. From packaging management, manual tool management and optimization of production schedules, to fully automated, dynamic management of coil and slab yards.