Evan Schwartz, Head of Technology, North America, AMCS Group

1. How can I ensure my mill is supplied with raw materials?

Leveraging an intelligent software solution that understands what your mill produces and what kinds of materials your mill needs to satisfy that production is key. The solution not only needs to understand how much raw material and what grade goes into production tons, but also knows your suppliers well enough to plan for that demand. Having a demand planning module to help your buyers assess inventory, determine tons of raw materials needed and then assign delivery loads to suppliers based on supplier profiles simplifies the month-to-month production planning requirements for any mill and ensures your mill is always running at top efficiency.

2. What is the best way to manage inbound loads of material at the scale?

Using an intelligent scale that not only can look up data about delivery but can also anticipate the delivery streamlines traffic into the yard and minimizes scale time. The faster you can inbound a load and process the materials, the more loads you can receive per lane. Reducing idle times, paperwork and breakdown times reduces safety incidents and costs per load. A scaling solution should be agile enough to know everything about delivery before it shows up. With minimal data collection on the scale, the driver can get weighed and off the scale faster.

3. How can I be sure I’m getting what I paid for?

Quality evaluation is a time-consuming job. Performing this exercise using clipboards and paper means it will require double data entry to make the information useful and increases the error rate. Having a paperless solution that allows single entry of data and one that establishes the workflow and controls around quality ensures you will always get that for which you paid. By auditing suppliers and analyzing frequent offenders from your good suppliers, you can then streamline your quality evaluation process. Verified suppliers go through a spot check, while frequent offenders go through a thorough evaluation. You will quickly determine the value of a good supplier. When your suppliers know you evaluate their loads, quality goes up. With a system to collect this data, you can guarantee you’re paying for the material you received.

4. How can I be sure of what I have in inventory?

A seamlessly integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution doesn’t stop at account and billing information; it includes information from scales, production and quality evaluation. When you know exactly how much you’re bringing in and how much you’re consuming in production runs, you can easily evaluate inventory. To understand the value of your inventory, you must know all the costs involved. An ERP solution should collect all information around the collection of material, including imperceivable costs.

5. How can I make my mill more efficient?

The key is having visibility into your operations and understanding all facets of your mill. Turnaround times at the scale, breakdown times for loads and costs per load, ton or bale are all points of data that can help you analyze your mill for leaks and look for ways to become more efficient. Having a system that collects data at all points of the process, as well as manages workflow provides the data and the means to activate efficiencies.