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Logistics Information System (LIS)

Introduction:
A logistics information system is one that facilitates shipping, transportation, and warehousing activities. It aims to ensure customer service by getting adequate quantities of the finished product to the proper place in a cost- and time-efficient manner.

The Logistics Information System (LIS) consists of the following information systems: Order processing system: Order processing is a key element of Order fulfillment. Order processing operations or facilities are commonly called "distribution centers". "Order processing" is the term generally used to describe the process or the work flow associated with the picking, packing and delivery of the packed item(s) to a shipping carrier. The specific "order fulfillment process" or the operational procedures of distribution centers are determined by many factors. Each distribution center has its own unique requirements or priorities. There is no "one size fits all" process that universally provides the most efficient operation. Research and intelligence systems(RIS): It performs scanning and monitoring of the internal and external environment of a firm on a continous basis including the interfirm environment. Environmental scanning should cover the following: Integrating the integrated logistics planning with the overall corporate planning. Managing interfaces with other corporate functions. Providing strategic options for organisation and staffing. Integrating information technologies. Influencing make vs buy decision. Emphasizing productivity and quality in integrated logistics.

Decision support systems: A decision support system (DSS) is a computer-based information system that supports business or organizational decision-making activities. DSSs serve the management, operations, and planning levels of an organization and help to make decisions, which may be rapidly changing and not easily specified in advance.

DSSs include knowledge-based systems. A properly designed DSS is an interactive softwarebased system intended to help decision makers compile useful information from a combination of raw data, documents, personal knowledge, or business models to identify and solve problems and make decisions. Typical information that a decision support application might gather and present are:

inventories of information assets (including legacy and relational data sources, cubes, data warehouses, and data marts), comparative sales figures between one period and the next, projected revenue figures based on product sales assumptions.

Reports and outputs systems: Normal reports are used for planning, operating and controlling integrated logistics. Planning outputs include sales trends, economic forecasts and other information pertaining the market place. Operating reports help in inventory control,transportation scheduling and routing, purchasing and production scheduling. Control reports are used to analyse sxpenses, budgets and performance.

Sales Information System: The Sales Information System is a flexible tool which allows you to collect, consolidate, and utilize data from Sales and Distribution processing. From the mass of data which exists in the SD System, one can filter out only the most important through consolidation. In this way, one gets compact, useful information which meets your particular information needs. It is for you to determine the depth of information you receive. The various levels of this information enable you to recognize market developments and economic trends early on and to take the appropriate action. It is not only possible to collect and consolidate actual data from Sales and Distribution processing, you can also create your own planning data. Comparing actual data and planning data can assist you considerably in your decision making. Purchasing Information System: The Purchasing Information system allows users to search the purchasing system database for purchase order, requisition, vendor, and commodity code information, including requisition tracking information and Department PDF copies of Purchases.

Inventory Controlling: Inventory control is the supervision of supply, storage and accessibility of items in order to ensure an adequate supply without excessive oversupply.It can also be referred as internal control - an accounting procedure or system designed to promote efficiency or assure the implementation of a policy or safeguard assets or avoid fraud and error etc.

Shop Floor Information System: It stores the related activity information used by the shop floor. This information is used by management in decision making. Due to lack of complete planning, it has resulted in numerous islands of automation.

Quality Management Information System: The information systems that belong to LIS have a modular structure, yet have a variety of techniques that you can use to evaluate data. This type of structure also allows the individual information systems to retain their special features. The information systems can be used at a variety of levels in the decision-making process as an instrument for monitoring, controlling and planning your business operations. It is a flexible tool for collecting, aggregating and analyzing data from the respective application.

The information systems allow you to view all information in the operative application from a wide range of perspectives. You can also define the level of detail in which you wish to see the information. Informative key figures help you to permanently monitor key criteria and enable you to take necessary action in good time.

The data is evaluated either by means of standard analyses or flexible analyses. Flexible planning, the Early Warning System and the Logistics Information Library are integrated in the information systems. Tools are available in Customizing, which allow you to apply a self-defined structure to your information system and tailor it to meet your own specific requirements.

Logistics automation system: is the application of computer software and/or automated machinery to improve the efficiency of logistics operations. Typically this refers to operations within a warehouse or distribution center, with broader tasks undertaken by supply chain management systems and enterprise resource planning systems. Logistics automation systems can powerfully complement the facilities provided by these higher level computer systems. The focus on an individual node within a wider logistics network allows systems to be highly tailored to the requirements of that node.

Logistics automation systems comprise a variety of hardware and software components:

Fixed machinery o Automated cranes (also called automated storage and retrieval systems): provide the ability to input and store a container of goods for later retrieval. Typically cranes serve a rack of locations, allowing many levels of stock to be stacked vertically, and allowing far high storage densities and better space utilization than alternatives. o Conveyors: automated conveyors allow the input of containers in one area of the warehouse, and either through hard coded rules or data input allow destination selection. The container will later appear at the selected destination. o Sortation, or sorting systems: similar to conveyors but typically have higher capacity and can divert containers more quickly. Typically used to distribute high volumes of small cartons to a large set of locations. o Industrial Robots: four to six axis industrial robots, e.g. palletizing robots, are used for palletizing, depalletizing, packaging, commissioning and order picking. o Typically all of these will automatically identify and track containers based upon barcodes, or increasingly, RFID tags o AS/RS Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems. Vertical Carousels based on the paternoster system or with space optimisation, these can be thought of as large scale vending machines, giving the same easy access to physical objects as we have become accustomed to with respect to data.

Motion check weighers may be used to reject cases or individual products by checking them for underweight conditions and rejecting the item. They are often used in kitting conveyor lines to ensure all pieces belonging in the kit are present. Large wholesalers and retail club stores insist on receiving the exact amount of product in each package as specified.

Mobile technology o Radio data terminals: these are hand held or truck mounted terminals which connect by wireless to logistics automation software and provide instructions to operators moving throughout the warehouse. Many also have in-built bar code scanners to allow identification of containers. Bar codes allow the automatic capture of data without use of the computer keyboard, which is slow and error prone.

Software

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Integration software: this provides overall control of the automation machinery and for instance allows cranes to be connected up to conveyors for seamless stock movements. Operational control software: provides low-level decision making, such as where to store incoming containers, and where to retrieve them when requested. Business Control software: provides higher level functionality, such as identification of incoming deliveries / stock and scheduling order fulfillment, assignment of stock to outgoing trailers.

Total information system: is a complete maintenance planning and control system which is fully integrated with the other Classic Enteprise Management and Financial modules. The system has been developed together with engineers and maintenance staff to meet their needs. Particular attention has been paid to the forecasting of upcoming tasks, workload scheduling, resource planning, resource balancing and the tracking and management of task backlogs. The condition of plant can be monitored and manufacturers' service recommendations used by the system to predict the timing of preventative maintenance to avoid unnecessary downtime and breakdown servicing. Now there is data to support repair or buy decisions, shutdowns can be planned and resources scheduled, maintenance requests can be processed, work orders produced and followed up. Inventory can be reserved and resources ordered in to ensure schedules can be met. Statistics to support KPIs can be produced and the Maintenance group can be managed with the help of professional tools.

The module was originally designed to the specifications determined by a number of mining companies. The knowledge gained from the close association with these mines, has enabled the product to be developed into a maintenance management system which very closely fits the requirements of mining companies. Other industries that have a similar large investment in mobile or fixed plant have also found the module to be just what they are looking for.

Many firms view effective management of logistics and supply chain activities as a prerequisite to the overall cost efficiency of the organization, as a better information system will enable an organization to effectively reduce costs by improving overall productivity of its processes. It is a key to ensuring the firms ability to competitively price their products and services as per the demands of the customers. It also helps ensure that a firm meets the logistics needs of its customers on a timely basis.