eKanban Asset Management Integrates RFID, ERP & EDI


 SEEBURGER Inc. today announced SEEBURGER eKanban Asset Management, an end-to-end electronic kanban solution that enables fully automated replenishment of parts inventory based on consumption as well as ERP production planning.
The solution is the first to integrate hands-free RFID-based consumption monitoring, ERP calculation of reorder quantities based on production needs, and EDI/B2B message exchange to trigger both production line and vendor inventory replenishment without manual intervention.

SEEBURGER’s eKanban system was successfully implemented in an automotive production site of a corporate division of the Bosch Group, a global technology supplier based in Germany, where it is the basis of an award-winning small load carrier RFID project that directs appropriate parts to the correct assembly line. The solution is currently being deployed in Asia to improve parts replenishment for a leading U.S.-based electronics company, using RosettaNet as the B2B communications protocol.

Advance in Lean Manufacturing

Eliminating physical kanban cards and the manual data entry of paper kanban systems, SEEBURGER eKanban Asset Management bundles the company’s new eKanban module with its widely used Business Integration Server (BIS) and connects them both to the manufacturer’s RFID equipment as well as ERP and WMS systems. The combined solution provides fully automated goods receiving, automatic inventory updating, real-time visibility of production line consumption, and automated warehouse and vendor replenishment based on ERP-generated pull signals. It:

•    Tracks all stages of a kanban lot from goods received to consumption by collecting RFID data from tags affixed to parts containers as they move through the plant, converting the data into ERP-readable format, and transmitting it to the manufacturer’s ERP system.
•    Automates pull signals based on both real use and ERP production planning as well as forecast, lead time and optimum inventory levels for the specific site, providing real-time demand balancing that is not available from any other eKanban system today.
•    Triggers production line replenishment by automatically sending pull signals to the manufacturer’s warehouse management system, while simultaneously notifying suppliers of replenishment needs where applicable.
•    Matches kanban lot consumption to ordering processes, including blanket PO’s and call-offs, so that suppliers have valid order numbers to fulfill replenishment requests.
•    Automatically signals suppliers via EDI/B2B messaging for immediate lot replacement or visibility of daily/hourly usage against supplier bulk shipments, eliminating the need for suppliers to log into a portal to monitor manufacturers’ pull signals.
•    Integrates with any ERP and warehouse management system through the enterprise application integration capabilities of the SEEBURGER BIS platform.
•    Supports all RFID hardware manufacturers and B2B communication protocols including RosettaNet for high-tech and electronics manufacturers.

Balancing by Production Plan

“eKanban removes a lot of the pain from manual kanban systems, including moving and losing kanban cards. But most eKanban solutions have two critical flaws: they cannot dynamically adjust kanban lot sizing based on the production plan and forecast, and they cannot alert parts suppliers to replenishment needs as part of the normal EDI/B2B data stream,” said Bill Metallo, VP for SEEBURGER.

“The innovation of SEEBURGER eKanban Asset Management is to make both of these things possible,” Metallo said. “Now you can base replenishment requests on actual production needs as well as real parts consumption, automatically calculate accurate production lot size and reorder quantity to ensure optimum inventory levels at all times, and include component vendors in the automated replenishment loop. This is eKanban the way it’s meant to be: LEAN. It is hands-off throughout the process.”

SEEBURGER eKanban Asset Management can be configured for any industry sector and plant setup using SEEBURGER’s built-in business process and workflow design tools. It supports both reusable and one-time-use containers covering all pack configurations, includes SEEBURGER implementation and integration services, and is available immediately.

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