An EMS Perspective on Inventory Management


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Foad Ghalili of Epoch International discusses the inventory management practices the company has in place between its two facilities in Fremont, California, and Dalian, China; and how upgrading to an electronic management system made maintaining a much larger inventory possible.

Barry Matties: We’re looking at inventory management on the EMS side. Foad, please share with us how Epoch manages inventory. It must be interesting because you have multiple locations. Is it computerized, manual, or a combination?

Foad Ghalili: Sure. Let me give you just the overall view of what we do. We use the Oracle E-Business Suite, which we purchased in 2008. All our ERP and MRP systems are done through that, and we generate a unique ID code for every item that we purchase everywhere, both in Fremont and in China. Every item comes with a barcode, which is identified there. And many of our material suppliers are also putting our barcodes on their label as it comes through. The system catches the barcodes as it comes through; then, it goes through the IQC system, and we transfer the material to our cabinet through our barcode system.

epoch_cabinet_0820.jpg

The cabinet is linked to our ERP system and controls everything that comes in and out of the cabinets. By the way, we have developed the interface modules in-house for the barcode system and all the software for the cabinet. We have done a lot of in-house software development to feed into the Oracle ERP system. Our feeders are also linked to the Oracle system. We know which component is fed where, so we have a fully integrated system.

In Fremont, we also have a cabinet. Of course, it’s not as sophisticated as what we have in China, but the two inventories are transparent to both facilities. We can look into their system, and they’re able to look at ours. Fremont is not on an Oracle system yet. We plan to move it into Oracle by the end of this year. We’re moving rapidly. We were having the team come here and set up, and then we got clogged up with COVID-19. In the future, both facilities will have visibility to each other’s operation.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the August 2020 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.

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