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  • 1.  Allocation and Multi Bins

    Posted Jul 24, 2022 01:12 AM
    Edited by Andy Morris Jul 24, 2022 01:12 AM
    Hello! I am new here so please forgive me if this has already been discussed or dismissed.

    As you may have gathered from the subject, the company I work for as IT Manager is trying to sort out the great puzzle of allocation and multi bins. There are some hurdles we have that may be unique to us, at least it appears that way after searching high and low online for anyone discussing similar shortcomings.

    Just to paint a picture of what we're working with.....We manufacture meal replacements and such for weight loss patients, bariatric clinics, etc. We've got our blending area, the production rooms themselves, and our warehouse all in our main building. Two lots down is our distribution center, though, there is manufacturing that takes place there such as private labeling, packing out, and other related activities so it's not strictly a distribution center in the traditional sense. Earlier this year we added a third party application to add a new dynamic and expand our formulation, quality control, traceability, and tracking within GP Dynamics that is known as BatchMaster. Not sure who on here may be familiar with it but it has allowed us to move away from tribal knowledge in each department and helping us towards our SQF requirements and lot tracking. So, instead of MO's I will be using the term batches since that is what is created now. But from my understanding, the issue we've had is a GP function anyway so I do not believe that changes anything, correct me if I am wrong.

    • We do have multi bin turned on, as well, I believe that will play into this.
    • At any given time we may have 30-40 batches (MOs) created for orders and make-to-stock blends that are needed. The order in which these are created can change based on demand, large orders for top dollar customers, or ingredient availability so that is problem number one but something that we cannot change realistically.
    • Due to space limitations, all raw ingredients are stored in the warehouse whereas when I first started they were stored on the other side of the roll-up door just outside our production rooms. Thanks to this, once a bag for an ingredient is opened up it cannot go back to the warehouse, partially due to allergen control and partially due to environmental control on that side since there are multiple bays that open up to the outside throughout the day.
    • There is a wall outside of blending with containers we store partials in once they are opened. So once a bag is opened this is where it needs to be placed.
    • As you might expect, we have to stick with FIFO to ensure we're properly rotating stock.

    Lets say we have a 50lb bag of salt, we have to use 10lbs during our 2500lb blend or product and once that bag is open we need to transfer the remaining 40lbs to the partials rack near blending but that remaining 40lbs is allocated to other blends on the schedule. We would currently have to find which batches those 40lbs are tied to with that number, unallocate, transfer it to the staging/partials wall, then reallocate. When you're making several blends within a single day, that quickly becomes a fulltime job for someone.

    Is there another way to go about this? Any way to allocate to the site location and not the bin which obviously prevents us from performing a bin transfer?

    And, as a personal request, when your CEO and CFO are asking why is allocates to a bin and won't let you transfer, what answer would you give? I know what I have told them to try and explain this but we keep going in circles. Perhaps someone on here could enlighten me to a better way to answer that. We've literally been going in circles with this since February.
      Right now we just aren't even allocating for batches, which is creating inventory issues....well, adding to them....but naturally the inventory team is blaming ALL of the inventory issues on GP and the scenario above. It's been like the movie Groundhog day, because we have been having the same discussions over and over like clockwork. I pray someone has at least a sliver of hope for me......

      Thank you! I know that was a lot but it isn't the simplest thing to try and explain, especially typing it out.

      Andy Morris
      Nutritional Resources, Inc.

    • 2.  RE: Allocation and Multi Bins

      Posted Jul 26, 2022 01:05 PM
      I sounds to me like you are allocating too early in the process. If your process requires you to keep transferring item quantities around from bin to bin or even site to site, then  they cannot be allocated. Whatever consultant Batchmaster or GP that helped design the process and set up GP for you should look to reengineer and fix this by reviewing the use of multi bins. master and child sites, physical and logical sites, timing and method of allocations, use of batch flow and even separate fulfillment for a few hints of where to go. A nice process flow analysis with swim lanes etc should be able to improve the situation dramatically.

      Thaddeus Suter
      Retus, Inc

    • 3.  RE: Allocation and Multi Bins

      Posted Jul 27, 2022 01:04 AM
      Thank you for taking the time to reply.

      For the time being I think I have a solution that will get us over one of our biggest hurdles, especially with current lead times in this economy, in order to allow our purchasing team to get a quick view on what items are below the reorder point threshold using the table Batchmaster has in SQL which keeps a running tally for the quantity based on the on-hand amount, scheduled for production total, on-order amount, and so on. The dashboard, while I find it pretty straight-forward, is a bit cumbersome for our purchasing team to constantly check so I am trying to get a SmartList or SQL reporting dashboard created for them.

      Basically, I want to have the running balance quantity compare to the order point and, if possible either only show if it's below that point or highlight so they know exactly what needs to be reordered in a timely manner. I've got the framework but trying to figure out how I'd have it only show the most recent line for each unique item - assuming that is doable. Don't know if I would need to somehow have it only show the most recent dex row is for each unique item or what. 

      I've been working on it the last hour but seeing it's 1am now I may have to put it on hold and perhaps create a new discussion with some screenshots. I'm going ahead and adding a couple of the screenshots of the table just for illustration.

      Andy Morris
      Nutritional Resources, Inc.

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