Materials Management: Back to Basics

Materials management begins with correctly identifying what materials are involved and in what combinations. For on-time delivery, materials need to be staged where they are actually required, no matter where. Basically, if we need certain materials, we not only have to specify completely what those materials should be, but we must also determine when we need them to be where. We need the right materials at the right place at the right time. Unfortunately, reality shatters this simplistic view. Were it all that simple, we at Intergraph would not be producing software that manages and controls these processes.

The fact is there are few things simple about materials management: How do materials affect how you design, requisition, purchase, and follow-up through expediting, inspection, and logistics? If anything goes wrong with these processes, there could be time-wasting, costly, even dangerous repercussions. Constant comparison must be made between what is required and the real situation at any given time. Of course, that situation is always changing; the targets are moving all around. That’s why materials managers need help in their day-to-day operations to control the millions of items, pieces of data, and changes that occur.

What is needed is a tool that enables you to manage (1) what you need, (2) where your materials are, and (3) what is possible with what is available. That’s why you need an integrated system in place to manage your materials. SmartPlant Materials helps users seamlessly integrate front-end information – model data, materials lists, requisitioning and procurement parts. By applying rules that can be user-defined and logically grouping items together, procurement can go to market to get the best prices possible for the materials needed for construction. Plus, you can also keep track of the quantity requirements coming from your model changes, as well as the quantities that you have already bought, shipped, and received.

Experts predict growing pressure on project schedules and materials deliveries in the years to come. Increased project costs will also require shorter times for return on investment. With concurrent engineering, design changes occur at every phase of the project. This further underscores the need for a proper materials control system. For a full-blown article on this still-developing story, see the current issue of Insight Magazine, pages 26-27. For more information on Intergraph’s related solutions, go to our SmartPlant Materials Management Solution Web page.