Material flow planning software

Material flow is the most important thing in a production company. Because industry products are created from material within processes. Only when these are sold can the factory cover its costs. That is why it is important to move material quickly and directly between the necessary value-added processes (so called flow of material).

visTABLE® software turns this necessity into a creative planning task with the possibilities of the Digital Factory, leading to vivid and comprehensible results. Its visualization and evaluation functions, e.g. as diagram, guide the user specifically through material flow optimization.

Thus, system designs can be evaluated and optimized with their complex system effects at the same moment from different perspectives, which can significantly improve and optimize the management of raw materials, materials and inventories.

Material flow in the factory of a manufacturing company
Linking material flow and factory layout in visTABLE® software

Unique representation of material flow in the layout

Quickly and easily visualize the logistical relationships in your company. For this purpose, visTABLE® software automatically displays the material flow on the basis of the stored processes in the layout. Even such a graphical representation of the transports as Sankey diagram provides orientation for target-oriented material flow planning in manufacturing and logistics processes without time-consuming material flow simulation.

Flow diagram

Identify bottlenecks with a lot of transport, e.g. on paths in production or at gates to the warehouse, as early as the planning stage. The system offers a graphical material flow analysis for this purpose. A clear visualization as diagram focuses your work in material flow planning and logistics optimization on the essential flows. In this way, logistical goals of the company can be achieved efficiently. The flow of material and inventory becomes a strategic management discipline.

Visualization of material flow in the factory layout with the use of a Sankey diagram
Material flow analysis with evaluation of transport routes

Logistics evaluation

Evaluate your material flow planning quickly and clearly. This is because different scenarios quickly arise in logistics planning, e.g. for the provision of materials, material handling or the arrangement of warehouses. The goal in material flow analysis is then often optimization through comparative use of different systems and processes. The logistics evaluation provides differentiated management key figures for this purpose; an easy-to-understand indicator immediately shows improvements in material flow planning in percentage terms. This function thus supports the creation of benchmarks against industry standards.

Excel interface

Using Excel, you export the results and the data of material flow analysis or import your preliminary material and process data to be diagrammed. Because data on the manufacturing process and information on the material are often distributed in operational systems with different objectives. Material flow planning therefore requires the preparation of diverse supply chain data. visTABLE® software provides practical templates for this, e.g. flow matrix or transport table as a basis for diagrams or flow charts.

Material flow analysis as lever to improve

MFA involves examining the two critical parameters of material quantity (flow intensity) and process path (path length) within manufacturing. Both parameters should be kept to a minimum as far as possible. For the material quantity, the one piece flow is considered the minimum, since less than one piece cannot flow and nothing accumulates within the system if only one piece flows at a time.

The distance between the value-adding process steps depends largely on how much space is taken up by the resources themselves and the necessary transport routes in between (layout planning). Looking at the value stream, this path should be as close to zero as possibly, i.e. direct transfer from station to station. But in most practical cases, such a simple principle can only be implemented in individual production sections. At the system level, comprehensive analysis, planning, optimization and management become necessary work.


"From rough to fine and back again - with visTABLE®touch I can intuitively follow this planning approach. I particularly like the area balance and material flow evaluation."

Roman Kühnlein, Head of Processes and Network Design at Weidmüller

Frequently Asked Questions

The material flow analysis in visTABLE® calculates the transport effort either as costs in euros or in km. For this purpose, the path lengths in the layout are automatically determined and multiplied by the transport intensities from the production process. You can then display the simple path length as well as the transport effort for each type of means of transport and also export it to Excel. Filters allow a clear visualization with graphical feedback directly in the layout. For transport routes, the transport intensities on individual sections are also calculated and evaluated using ABC analysis. The effort indicators are particularly practical. They illustrate improvements in material flow planning in percentage terms. This allows you to quickly quantify potentials, e.g. when optimizing an actual state.

Routings and bills of material from the ERP usually only contain rudimentary information for layout and material flow planning. They usually have to be enriched outside the ERP. visTABLE® has a powerful Excel interface for this purpose. This allows you to remain flexible and to add further information (e.g. for planning new products) from other sources within the company.

It is not possible to determine transport times directly in the software, because further data on material handling must be used for this. Therefore, use a calculation system that already contains the corresponding process modules, e.g. MTM logistics data. If you supply such a calculation with the path lengths from visTABLE® , you will quickly obtain reliable planned time values for the processes in logistics.

This is not necessary at all. visTABLE® always contains all available functions. You do not have to order anything extra or have it activated.

Still unsure? Deepen your knowledge.