Warehouse Management System

Warehouse Management System

Warehouse Management System

Since we introduced our WMS (Warehouse Management System) a decade ago, it has gone through many revisions and enhancements. So why are we proclaiming our “old” WMS solution as a new product? Because with its latest release, the Blackhawk WMS solution can run completely independent of an ERP.

But why have a Warehouse Management System at all?

First, it provides an easy-to-use tablet-based scanning solution that gives real-time visibility to where every container is at in your plant.

Second, it enables unheard of inventory accuracy. Last year, one of our plant’s reported a 99.97% accurate physical inventory, a 17-million-dollar inventory with a $5,000 variance!

Third, for those plants who are using fixed part locations in their warehousing model, the Blackhawk WMS allows the plant to move to floating part/locations and improves the overall use of warehouse floor space by 20% to 30%. (We had one plant reduce their warehouse requirement from 125,000 sq. feet to 75,000 sq. feet.)

If you are interested in implementing a successful WMS into your plant please give us a call…

Blackhawk Production Andon Board

Blackhawk Production Andon Board

Blackhawk Production Andon Board

We recently had a plant manager state that the “Blackhawk Production ANDON board” was the best piece of software that he ever purchased. A truly significant complement considering the range of automation that he has implemented across his three facilities.

The characteristics that make this product so successful is that it provides both the visual aspect of a real-time ANDON board and the exception based electronic notification to the plant management when the schedule is being impacted by production issues. Not a day later, not a shift later, not even an hour later but immediately!

This ANDON display is an example of the information that can be displayed. Management notification is determined by the needs of the plant. For example, some plants want to notify the material’s group when a line is experiencing lost time (downtime) due to material shortage. They also may want the production supervisors’ group to be notified when a line’s production attainment percentage has fallen below 90%. Or an “expedited” text message to plant management when a line has been down for longer than 30 minutes. The opportunities to provide real time notification of production issues are endless.

Also, with the availability of large touch screen displays, we can provide direct user interaction that allows many additional tools such as EWO (Emergency Work Order) generation and issue escalation management to be easily available at the line.

If you like what you see give us a call with any questions or to set up a WebEx demonstration.

Blackhawk is 20 years young!

Blackhawk is 20 years young!

Blackhawk is 20 years young! 

Blackhawk is celebrating its 20th year of successfully serving the automotive parts supplying community. We are a rare breed when it comes to software service providers. A small company who has grown and prospered because we listen to our customers. Agility is our middle name and leading edge is how we provide success. We are a “can do / done that” solutions provider. “Cloud based?” – sure if that is what you would like. A “phone app” interface to see the status of your manufacturing floor – not a problem. Physical inventory disaster – we can help. Automated replenishment – absolutely. 3PL integration with an ANDON schedule/display – certainly. A full build in sequence instrument panel production line with loads of PLC interfacing? Sure – done that many times. What about Ford ILVS sequencing for a dozen lines? Yup. Honda small lot sequencing? Again – many times.

What about – I don’t want to replace my ERP but it looks like I will need to… what can you do to help? Quite a lot as it turns out. The drive to replace an ERP comes from recognized weaknesses in the business behavior (plant culture). By automating and enforcing the proper best business practices, these re-occurring difficulties are replaced by re-occurring successes.

We at Blackhawk have learned a few things over the last 20 years. Give us a call. Let’s talk.

Ease-of-Use software solutions

Ease-of-Use software solutions

Ease-of-Use software solutions

Over the decades that Blackhawk has been serving the manufacturing community, we have provided many plants with solutions where the first sentence spoken in the initial meeting was “all we want is.” It wasn’t that their ERP or MES solution didn’t have something that could have worked, it was that it was just too difficult or time consuming to use. (Hence the continual rise in the plant’s use of spreadsheets!)

This is where we come into the picture. We deliver ease-of-use automation where the real benefit to having us on your team is that you get all the perks of an in-house developed solution with none of the worries about long term support.

One of our most popular solutions is our WMS which was born of an ease-of-use automation request. The plant just wanted to be able to scan the serial number on the container label and then scan the barcoded location that the container was placed. We added a label re-print for unreadable labels and the plant was off and running (and the materials group had the next step in their plan for inventory accuracy). Over time our WMS has evolved to become a state of the art product and it remains very easy to use. What also makes it an easy success is that it runs perfectly well with or without any interaction to the plant’s ERP or MES.

Presently we are designing a couple of Ease-of-Use solutions:

  • Fork lift/crane Inspection audits with email alerts…
  • Dunnage inventory using phone apps…
  • Outside processing inventory using phone apps…

If any of these projects are of interest or if there is some other ease-of-use automation that would make your plant more successful, please give us a call.

New Product Release

New Product Release

New Product Release

Blackhawk is proud to announce that we have our new JIT production scheduler available. This tool enables the plant’s production scheduler to import and edit the customer’s hourly shipping requirements from their EDI based customer orders and then display them as the real-time production schedule to the production line. This display both orders and highlights the production requirements and notifies management when production shortfalls may occur.

An example of the JIT schedule display:

This product is our latest release into our Ease-of-Use product line. Our goal is to serve our customers with products that are both highly useful and that interact lightly with their present ERP and MES solutions.

Inventory Accuracy over 99.97%

Inventory Accuracy over 99.97%

Inventory Accuracy over 99.97%

Blackhawk is a software solutions company whose focus is in inventory control for repetitive manufacturing plants. There is a success story that occurred recently that clearly displays what inventory control is all about that we wanted to share with you.

Just before the holidays, we made a phone call to one of our largest customers who uses our Warehouse Management Solution.  We were calling to see how their latest physical inventory went.

When we asked, it caused a chuckle. “Management thinks we are doing a great job!” Our customer responded.

“That’s good,” we replied “What were your numbers like?”

Our customer shared this. “Over our three facilities, 16 million dollars in inventory, our variance was 5k.” “Our inventory accuracy was over 99.97%!”

We were certainly impressed and congratulated them on all of their hard work and their management’s effort in this success and asked them what they thought made the difference.

The number one reason for their new found inventory accuracy was the implementation of our Warehouse Management Solution and the fact that we enforce their best practices within the culture of their plant.  In their words, “Blackhawk enforces the process that drives inventory accuracy.”

This is the level of accuracy that your plant could achieve with the use of Blackhawk’s WMS system.  It is the driving force that enables the plant to enforce your inventory management best practices.

Every repetitive manufacturing facility needs the highest level of inventory accuracy to remain competitive in today’s environment.

Taking Advantage of WMS in Sequencing

Taking Advantage of WMS in Sequencing

Taking Advantage of WMS in Sequencing

Not to long ago, one of the plants who use our WMS solution asked me to work with their engineers to develop a way to decrease the number of pick face locations that provided finished good inventory for their sequencing line. They simply did not have the space needed to provide 260+ shelf locations.

Since we were already providing the replenishment solution for their sequenced line pick face, the engineer asked could we simply identify a half dozen low runner locations and “swap” low runner parts into these locations based on the next 90 minutes of the broadcast.

Worked like a charm.

With our “look-ahead” replenishment solution, they reduced their shelving requirements by 40% and we are now in the process of retrofitting every sequencing line in the plant.

If a sequencing line is in your plant or in your future, you may wish to consider making how you replenish your pick face a value add rather then simply a cost.

Why are you still doing physical inventories?

Why are you still doing physical inventories?

Why are we still doing physical inventories after having two years with over a 99% inventory accuracy?” I was asked this question by plant management at one of our largest plants.

I responded, “That is a great question. You have put in place all the steps needed to keep your inventory extremely accurate and the last two physical inventories have proven so. How much does the physical inventory cost? 50k? 100k? I am sure you could use that money elsewhere towards other successes at your plant.”

I don’t know what the plant will decide to do but they have fully integrated the Blackhawk Warehouse Management solution into their three facilities, and they see it as the cornerstone of their inventory success.

How much time, money, and effort would you save if you didn’t have to do physical inventories?

Without the right tools, inventory accuracy is very difficult to obtain. The Blackhawk Warehouse Management solution is built on the scanning of the container serial number and then the location that the container is placed into. Easy to do. Easy to enforce. Easy to get results.

We succeed when your ERP fails!

We succeed when your ERP fails!

In a recent phone conversation, discussing our many methods of electronic replenishment signal generation, we were asked “Why doesn’t my ERP do this?”

The answer is fairly simple.  It is all about the money.   

Many years ago, the major ERP vendors determined that tailoring their solutions to the exact needs of the customers was not as profitable as providing a close fit. Perfectly reasonable from their point of view. Far more money in their pockets with far fewer support issues. 

Good for them – bad for you.

This is the reason that Blackhawk has been around for so many years and continues to grow.  We provide the tools needed to make your ERP a part of your manufacturing success and not just another part of the problem.

 

Do you have areas in your plant where your ERP is failing to do the job that is needed?  Just ask your departments to detail where they use spreadsheets to make their lives easier.

If Blackhawk can be of service in making your ERP serve your needs rather then you working to cover its short falls, please give us a call.

All I want….

All I want….

As a manufacturing software solutions provider, the phrase that we like to hear most from plant management is the phrase “All I want…”This tells us two very important things: First, there is a problem that needs to be fixed. Second, that this specific problem has a solution that has already been identified.This then becomes a joint mission between Blackhawk and plant management to get from where they are now to where they want to go.As a person in plant management, this phrase may be key in your effort to improving your plant’s operation. When you are in the meeting where there seems to be more confusion then progress ask those who are closest to the fire “What do you want?” And then listen for the phrase “All I want is….”Blackhawk is the solution that will get you there!