intelligent Network Technologies intelligent Network Technologies

The Internet Based -
Remotely Operated,
Ship Scheduling and
BULK inventory
optimization system.





RIOS - A Technical Overview

The Schedule
At iNT, we consider a schedule to be a circle wherein each segment is dependent on the sum of the other components in the system. If an event or new demand affects the schedule at one plant, the other plants need to know, understand the system impact and why the adjustment is necessary.

In order to operate effectively, one Master Scheduler operates the RIOS Scheduler. The Master Scheduler uses a systems approach to problem solving and resolution, which is the most cost-effective approach. You will attain not only lower costs but also save time, gain increased productivity, and smooth out manpower requirements through this centralized approach.

Typically most businesses are market driven - the more sales made, the more raw materials are required for manufacturing into finished products. However, various constraints beyond the control of marketing forecasts can also affect the output of any system. In fact, keeping track of all of the possible points of contention can be a daunting task.

The RIOS system uses accurate, historical information you supply to fine tune a smooth running schedule. RIOS's versatility manifests in several ways:

  • If data is limited and forecasts for some, but not all plants, are available, RIOS provides a manual override for any shipment. Alternatively, RIOS can handle a 'best guess' forecast based on the experience of your schedulers.
  • RIOS allows you to define your own constraints for each facility, such as minimum target inventory to guide the Scheduler; flagging areas of need before they become problems.
  • RIOS allows you to plan for inventory shortfalls or plant interruptions while minimizing attendant work for your scheduler.
  • RIOS lets your Master Scheduler delegate some of the work to other Remote Users (or gather data from other computerized sources):
    • Allows transportation partners to add their ships to coincide with a planned shipment window and/ or adjust their ship schedules as circumstances warrant.
    • Include the daily volume of raw material transported from source to dock by inputting projected movements months in advance and then later updating to actual volume moved.
    • Get the latest plant projections directly from the plant operators themselves via electronic Internet transmission. The system can then be revised in consideration of a new more accurate projection.
The Architecture
While a computerized schedule should be open, company security and the use of a firewall should never be compromised. Everyone on the inside using the system should be able to communicate out, but no one from the outside should be allowed in. In order to accommodate these two diverse needs, the RIOS system uses a unique distributed architecture.

The RIOS Scheduler allows for multiple levels of access depending on how your company does business and the parties that you would like to have assist with your schedule. Despite this apparent complexity, the schedule is automated and intuitive. The work required to maintain the schedule is minimal. Operators need only enter:
  • the current daily production figures for the mine or quarry,
  • the beginning monthly inventory at the dock,
  • monthly beginning inventory for each plant, plus last month's usage and plants' operating hours,
  • the latest date/time for a shipment (all of the load/ship/travel/unload/return dates/times are calculated from a single entry),
  • the projected requirements of each plant (from the plant manager or marketing forecasts).

You may determine that the Master Scheduler requires no assistance, or you may delegate one or more Remote Users to maintain their production or inventory figures. The RIOS system fits your business, your way of doing work, your physical layout and your employee capabilities.

The Display
The RIOS system uses a Windows-like display to present graphs, charts and visual aids in a logical configuration.

Current inventory levels and product movements are clearly marked by date.
Graph bars change color when an event such as minimum inventory is detected. You can see 'at a glance' where the optimum date/time for a shipment should be placed.
Shipments are indicated on a time line that shows each unit (in this example the gold squares represent days) along with the carrier identifier. Clicking on this icon brings up the full information about the shipment. The green line represents an 'ok' status for delivery of product. The yellow line represents a low inventory condition at the plant indicating it could be in danger of running out of raw material.

Written entirely in Java, the system is portable to any computer platform that can run the Java engine... and that is almost every business computer type today. RIOS also supports mixed platforms - some employees may work on Unix and/or Linux while others work on Windows 2000 or Windows 98. The methods used by the RIOS system are completely adaptable depending on your needs.
The RIOS display is consistent regardless of the platform. When you see the inventory graph on one system, it is exactly the same as every other computer.

The Bottom Line
The RIOS system has proven to be a key factor in increasing cash flow and reducing workload throughout a business while decreasing costs at many points in the production cycle. Our representative can help you fully appreciate what RIOS can do for your company. You can see a working system, talk with current users who will give you their perspective of RIOS, or ask for an on-site demonstration.