There is significant opportunity to unlock latent capacity and operating efficiencies in value chains through improvements in how they are operationally managed. Value chains operate at full efficiency only when:
We believe that up to 20% growth in volumes and reduction in unit costs are possible through improvements to the operational management of value chains. Greater potential for improvement exists in mining, oil & gas and agriculture value chains than traditional manufacturing value chains (such as automotive, food & beverage, chemical, pharmaceutical, etc) because these industries are yet to fully embrace lean manufacturing practices.
These benefits are achievable only through changing the way in which value chains are managed, leveraging underlying technologies that are specifically designed to support this way of operating. More specifically it is essential that scheduling systems are fed with highly accurate information about the state of the supply chain in near real time if scheduling systems are able to adequately respond to deviations as they occur. A tracking solution is therefore needed that is able to automatically and reliably report ‘actuals’ information from execution management and control systems in near real time.
MI Tracking is a highly scalable and reliable tracking solution that ensures that actuals information is reliably delivered to scheduling systems in near real time. Many tracking solutions available today report only production and logistics inventory ‘movements’ and current inventory balances and properties. The majority of these systems do not publish this information in near real time. MI Tracking however tracks the execution of production, logistics, maintenance and quality test operations, including inventory, equipment and personnel. This information also includes workflow steps/activities performed by operations, which is essential for analysing operational performance and identified opportunities for reducing non value adding activities. This information is published in near real time using reliable messaging standards. MI Tracking is also able to report actuals geospatially where geospatial information is important to scheduling decisions. MI Tracking is able to ‘enrich’ data received from execution management and control systems by inferring any missing data, which provides additional data useful for scheduling decisions.
For example if execution management and control systems report material quantities but not qualities, MI Tracking is able to infer the qualities of all inventories in the value chain by tracing lab results back to where samples were taken and then propagating those qualities to downstream inventories. If execution management and control systems report actuals without a reference to which schedule line items (also known as ‘job orders’) were being executed, MI Tracking is able to infer which job orders it believes were executed. This ensures scheduling systems have the most information possible to make scheduling decisions.
While it is common for workflow-specific detailed scheduling to be performed by specialised scheduling software, it is also common for operational scheduling to be performed by ERP systems. In such cases it is important to provide accurate and near real-time actuals information not only to specialised scheduling software, but also to the ERP. MI Operations Accounting handles the upload of actuals information to ERP systems from MI Tracking or any other tracking solution and is able to do this reliably in near real time where the ERP provides a near real time interface.
Reporting of actuals from operations is not the only place where we believe accurate and near real time information exchange is important to maximising the performance of your value chain. Job orders must be quickly dispatched to execution management systems when operations are rescheduled to ensure operations are always executing the latest schedule. Any time between the release of a new schedule and when its job orders are dispatched is time spent working sub-optimally. Execution management systems require copies of the job orders from the schedule so that they are able to automatically coordinate operations to meet the schedule. This allows execution management systems to optimise the management of operations algorithmically, leaving only operational exceptions to be handled manually. This improves the performance of operations because decisions best made algorithmically are made by software, while decisions best made by experienced operators (such as deviation management) are made manually.
MI Modeller is an enabling technology that aligns supply chain model master data (such as equipment, material definitions, processes and workflows) between applications so that information exchange between scheduling, dispatching, execution and tracking can be more easily automated. Misalignment of this master data leads to complex transformation of data between applications, making this integration more difficult and expensive to implement and maintain. This in turn leads to more manual ‘swivel chair’ integration between applications, requiring manual manipulation of data. This then reduces the richness, accuracy and timeliness of information exchanges between systems, reducing the overall performance of your value chain.
We believe MI Tracking and MI Operations Accounting, supported by MI Modeller are able to deliver richer actuals information for a wider variety of supply chain processes more accurately and more quickly to your scheduling and ERP systems than other tracking products, which we believe is essential for effective operational management of your value chain.