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    Order to Ship

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    The Order to Ship (OTS) process in a Hewlett-Packard (HP) factory includes the activities that occur between the receipt of orders from and shipment of products to customers. This document describes our efforts in studying the activities and entities of the OTS process, the model we derived, and the state of our current implementation.

    While information was derived from different sources in the company, the bulk of our information was derived from one HP factory (HPFACT) with respect to one product, HPPROD. Therefore, this document is influenced strongly by activities for that product at that factory.


    PHYSICAL REALITY During the day, orders arrive at the sales office either from customers or sales representatives and are entered into the central order processing system. Internal orders from other HP divisions are also entered into this system by their respective purchasing departments.

    The system breaks down the individual orders into sub-orders, and transmits the consolidated suborders periodically to the supplying divisions where they are available for processing the following morning.

    The orders received by divisions are checked for correctness and configuration consistency by order processing. Each order is given an acknowledgement date, which is received by the sales office or HP division the following morning. This is the normal sequence and timing of events. In urgent cases, telephone communication between the sales office personnel and their counterparts in the order processing department may reduce the time taken to receive a preliminary acknowledgement date.

    We could not identify an order that is typical for all divisions. Within one division, orders may range across several orders of magnitude in dollar value. For orders of complex systems and instruments, there might be many parts and options to the order. For certain products, there might be only one item on the order. DCs receive their stock from the division 10. High volume original equipment manufacturer (OEM) orders, large dealer orders and internal HP orders are shipped directly from the division.

    Orders usually have a required date. Depending on the nature of the product ordered, the customer may specify an earliest acceptable date (EAD) 11, before which the order should not be delivered. The latest acceptable date (LAD) is the latest date of receipt which would not cause inconvenience for the customer. An important issue in customer satisfaction is delivery within an acceptable window, and the quoted lead time needs to reflect this. If the quoted lead time is too long, the customer may take business to a more responsive supplier. Order shipments may be specified as soon as possible (ASAP), so that the products will be shipped as soon as they are produced; if they are already in Finished Goods Inventory (FGI), the order may be filled from stock. In general, orders are filled in a first-in first-out (FIFO) fashion, although exceptions may occur when prioritizing rules are used.

    Orders may be modified or cancelled any time before shipment, and sometimes an order that is shipped could be rejected and returned. In addition, the acknowledgement date may be modified.

    Orders to be filled from distribution centers may be routed through the sales office or through the telemarketing center 12 and can be processed and filled by the distribution center immediately if the required product is available in FGI. The DCs supply dealers and some end customers, but not internal HP divisions.

    MODEL ABSTRACTION Each order that arrives at the SELL-PRODUCTS block includes the customer name, the order date generated by the customer, some combination of DUE-DATE, EAD and LAD, and the number of units of each product ordered. There may be multiple items on a single order. The orders are checked for correctness. The correct orders are exploded into sub-orders and routed to a DC or to a division according to some criteria (e.g. size of order, geographical location of customer), and the incorrect orders are referred back to the originator.

    CURRENT IMPLEMENTATION The number of orders that can be placed by all the external customers collectively each day is a parameter. We can use deterministic values to ensure repeatability of orders received for each simulation run, or stochastic distributions to characterize the system more accurately when the data is available. Order streams may also be specified from a file. Currently we use order inputs from a file. There is a mix of large and small orders depending on the nature of the customer, and the order may be for multiple products.

    Our current model has provisions for specifying earliest acceptable date (EAD), latest acceptable date (LAD) and delivery date. If these are not specified, the EAD and required date are assumed to be the same as the order date (effectively making it ASAP), and the LAD as EAD +5 days. While we have provisions for specifying priorities on orders, we currently give all orders the same priority, and the order fill sequence is determined by the order filling policy of the shipping entity.

    SELL-PRODUCTS direct an order to the appropriate entity according to the supplying entity specified on the order.

    FUTURE IMPLEMENTATION In future we expect to handle more sophisticated and complicated priority schemes, and to modify orders that are already in the system. Also, we expect to allow SELL-PRODUCTS to route the orders to the appropriate entity according to characteristics of the customer.

    Future experiments include varying order volumes and considering seasonal variation. In addition, when customers are characterized individually, the supplying entity may be determined directly by the customer characteristics, rather than arbitrarily allocated by SELL PRODUCTS.

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    Solution Preview

    The term "Order-to-Ship" for the company Hewlett-Packard means everything from the time the order is made to the point it leaves the factory. This paper here describes what we looked at during that process, the way we think it is happening right now, and how we're doing at the changes we're trying to make.

    We did look at many things in the company itself, but most of this stuff comes from following one thing (which we'll call "HPPROD" in the rest of the article) through the process at one factory (which we'll call "HPFACT" from now on). Obviously, this means we have to consider only one thing was looked at.

    Basically, the factory gets orders from people both outside and inside the company. Those orders go into a data system. That system then looks at everything necessary for the orders, and tells the places (suppliers) that could fill the orders.

    Those places look at the info the next morning, say the day they looked at it, and make sure everything in the order makes sense. The company sees when they ...

    Solution Summary

    The purpose and organizations of documents for the order to ship is provided in the solution.