Material stream

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Material stream
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Material stream is the direction and route of material movement along with the sequence of material distribution in the supply chain. Material stream management is a set of planning, organizational and control activities carried out to ensure that material supply and production processes are carried out in accordance with the adopted criteria of material procurement and production processes. Improvements in the area of production and supply chain make it possible to obtain financial benefits (Christiane Jasch, 2008, pp. 37-48).

Material stream phases

In the logistics of supplies of a company, three basic material stream phases can be distinguished (Mario Schmidt, Carolin Raible, Rene Keil., Michale Gräbe, 2007):

  • supply - i.e. transport – it covers the supply of materials needed for production and all other goods necessary for efficient economic functioning to a company
  • collection and storage – i.e. collection of goods imported by the supplier and their storage in supply warehouses. In addition, this phase concerns all storage and handling activities related to the collection and storage of goods.
  • organization of the material stream – i.e. activities related to the stream of materials from warehouses where they were stored to the production hall, and more precisely to the first production station where the materials will be used.

Consequences and causes of the absence of the synchronization of the material stream

Material stream in the production or supply process can be restricted due to a number of reasons:

  • limited availability of materials and deliveries,
  • lack of financial resources,
  • the absence of a production space or machinery,
  • lack of warehouse space.

Lack of coordination of material stream in a company may result in:

  • delays, waiting and, consequently, working in a hurry to make up for the delays,
  • duplication of work, unnecessary activities, overlapping of responsibilities,
  • confusion, unclear instructions, missing out on information, misunderstandings,
  • lost data, information gaps, poor resources use, missed opportunities,
  • lack of flexibility, routinization, early "freezing" of plans, outdated standards, stagnation (Robert Ayres, Leslie Ayres, 2002, 79-113).

Material stream planning

Material flow planning has to be considered in terms of the supply chain, both internal (distribution, procurement, production) and external (producer, distributor, supplier). Demand for particular production materials depends on the demand for finished products on the market and is therefore related to production and sales plans. Consistency in the material flow planning process concerns the three basic planning stages:

1. Planning level and horizon - it consists in:

2. Phases of material stream in the supply chain – it is production, distribution and supply phase.

3. The area and scope of planning:

  • logistics
  • human resources,
  • repair and overhaul,
  • marketing,
  • finances.

Planning material stream is aimed, on the one hand, at meeting customer requirements and ensuring the competitive position of the company's products on the market, and on the other hand, at ensuring the achievement of the company's objectives in terms of sales revenues and cost levels, as well as using production resources effectively (Robert Ayres, Leslie Ayres, 2002, 79-113).


Author: Sylwia Pasternak