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AXIOM: Built Around the Real World Issues of Wire and Cable Manufacturing

The wire and cable industry is unlike any other. Ordinary manufacturing systems designed for standard discrete or continuous process environments simply cannot handle the special requirements of wire and cable manufacturing. AXIOM is different. It has been developed from the ground up to support the fundamental product and process issues that make the wire and cable industry unique. Some of these real world issues are:

Product specification involves considerable data

The specification of products from raw materials through finished goods requires the centralization of material, process, machine, and quality control data. This data must include the attributes and characteristics of each item, such as gauge, number of conductors, jacket, length, and put-up.

Tracking units are containers

Inventory must be tracked at the container level (e.g., reel, gaylord, spool, coil, etc.) since quantities, attributes, and locations can be different for each container produced from a given production order and for the same part number (e.g., two reels produced from the same order may have different lengths). Some form of numbered tags must be produced to uniquely identify each container.

Length management key issue in production planning and control

For most make-to-order cable products, customer-specified lengths must be planned and managed through multiple levels of production. For this reason, the planning system must take into consideration the actual length of inventory as well as length-related factors such as twist loss.

Semi-finished material often flows directly into next stage orders

Semi-finished material such as single insulated wire is often apportioned and immediately routed to multiple next-stage orders in a continuous process (e.g., singles issued to braiding or cabling operations). The material dispatching process must be fast and efficient with minimal transaction requirements in order to keep production moving.

Scheduling is critical to productivity and cost control

All wire and cable manufacturers must effectively utilize their capital equipment in order to achieve throughput and profitability goals. Because of this, scheduling is driven by numerous factors in addition to customer request dates. Production is usually sequenced by product characteristics and attributes (e.g., color, gauge, jacket type, etc.) in order to reduce set-up time, queue time, and scrap (e.g., due to bleed-out, etc.). Many plants must also schedule around their biggest bottleneck (e.g., extruders, cablers, etc.).

Units of measure are variable

A given item may be sold, purchased, or inventoried in multiple units of measure (e.g., feet, pounds or meters), while production is usually done in a different unit of measure (e.g., thousands of feet [MFT], etc.) and scrap is typically recorded in pounds. The various quantities must be easily converted when processing transactions.

Inexact quantities are a way of life

In purchasing, manufacturing, and selling, exact planned order quantities are virtually never realized. Shipment or receipt of a quantity that is slightly more or less than the order quantity is a normal practice. Customers often specify quantity tolerances that are acceptable to them.

Selling prices often fluctuate with commodity prices

The price of copper (or other high value commodities) can change daily. Since copper represents a significant element of cost in many cable constructions, when its price has a significant change, that change must be quickly reflected in the selling price of end products in order to maintain profitability. Actual selling prices may be set based on copper pr ices at either order or shipment time.

Reel management is important to profitability

There are many types and sizes of reels. Selecting the reel that has the least cost while satisfying customer requirements and product specifications can significantly affect profit margins. Many reels are reusable and returnable, therefore managing and tracking who has what reels can save the company significant money over time.

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