Friday, May 18, 2012

Using Organizational Databases

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Using Organizational Databases





Abstract


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In today’s global economy, information drives the decisions that business leaders make. The more information leaders have at their disposal, the better their decisions will be. The mediums that contain the information these decisions are based on, are stored in databases throughout the company. Upper level managers making decisions, as well as production workers checking inventory, can quickly access these databases. We will examine some of the databases within the shipping department at my company, and how that information is used to make decisions concerning its’ day to day operations





Using Organizational Databases


The shipping department at my company actually performs two functions within the organization. As our name implies, we ship basically the entire line of products that goes out the door. This includes everything from finished goods products, CRG’s (customer return goods), RTV’s (return to vendor), to items that personnel within the company send to their customers.


The second function of the shipping department, and just as crucial as shipping itself, is the finished goods inventory for the company. This information is all contained and controlled through our master business system, SAP. The different modules, or databases, within SAP are designed to keep track of our inventory by part number and serial number.


Our department also stores or inventories equipment that is built to stock. This equipment will be reissued to manufacturing at a later date in order to install the right software or hardware to meet specific customer requirements. The shuffling of this equipment requires that the database change this item from a +TL unit that requires modification, back to an in-process unit. Once the modifications requirements are met, these units will be returned to finished goods inventory where they will await an order to ship on.


Finished goods are stored in one of 880 pans that are located at the rear of shipping. This storage facility is serviced by an ASRS (automated put-away and retrieval system). A separate database called AIMS is used to track finished goods inventory in the ASRS by storage location, part number, and serial number.


This is one area with our department that we need to fix. Presently there is no SAP AIMS interface. SAP actually assigns the location that the part will be assigned to, but it cannot “tell” AIMS directly where to store the unit. The crane operator is currently manually doing that function. The operator scans a label attached to the unit assigned by SAP into the AIMS system, which tells the crane what location to pull the pan from. Once the pan is retrieved, the pan location (bar coded on the pan), the part number and the serial (provided by SAP on the put-away label) are all scanned and entered into the AIMS database. The crane then puts the pan away to the correct location.


The finished goods units are then tracked in two different databases, those being SAP and AIMS. Once there is a customer order generated in SAP, it creates a T/O (transfer order) label. This T/O label is then taken to the crane operator who will again scan the T/O label for the storage location, part number and serial number. AIMS software then tells the crane what pan to retrieve so the correct unit is found. Once the T/O label has been confirmed, the AIMS database will show that the unit has been picked and no longer resides in its’ inventory. The database does however track by part number and serial number the date the unit was pulled out of inventory and which delivery it was assigned to.


After the unit is packed, it then processes through another SAP controlled database. Clippership is our “bolt-on” shipping module. This module does interface with SAP. SAP feeds the customer address information into the Clippership database, where, with the box information, such as weight and cube and number of boxes in the order, it will create a waybill which will be attached to the carton for shipment.


The information out of the Clippership database is then feed back to the SAP database. It confirms that there were X amount of boxes that were shipped, and it provides SAP with the waybill number for each box shipped. At the same time, the shipping clerk, who entered the box information into Clippership, will PGI (post goods issued) the order. This is the confirmation in the shipping module that the customer order has been sent.


The shipping module or database then interfaces with the SAP accounting database, which tell them to bill the customer for the unit that was sent. The information kept in the accounting database is also used by shipping and manufacturing to track how we are doing as far as shipping to our sales forecast. This gives us a feel for how much product is going to have to ship on the last week of the month in order to make monthly, quarterly and annual sales projections. Next week is the end of the fiscal year, so it is going to be a very busy week.


There are a couple of things with our system I would like to see improves. The first of course the SAP-AIMS interface. Not only would it save a lot of manual work to receipt and issue orders, but it would also cut down on the chance of error when issuing. Having to run each order in two separate systems is very time consuming, time that could be better spent doing put-away, so it is in a storage location, so the system can release orders for the product. The cost for writing a program for this interface is approximately 100k, so consequently it gets bumped out of the budget every year.


The second thing I would like to see changed is making the figuring, inputting of box information, issuing of waybills, and post goods issuing a one step process. The are machines that will weigh, cube, and put waybills on the box automatically. If it can do that much, there isn’t any reason it could also interface with SAP and put the information in it, as well as to PGI the order.


Databases play a vital role in the everyday functions of the shipping department at my company. It is vital to the growth of the company to know how much inventory we have on hand, and how much product gets shipped out of the door in sales. The highest level of management constantly monitors inventory overhead and shipping sales. These are key metrics that affect the bottom line of any company. The databases containing that information are vital to the prosperity of the company.





References


No references used for this material.








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