Skip to main content

Material Flow Analysis in Manufacturing Improves Production and Efficiency

Key Takeaways

  • Learn about Material Flow Analysis.

  • Gain a greater understanding of how Material Flow Analysis benefits manufacturing.

  • Learn how Material Flow Analysis affords increased efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and production in the area of manufacturing.

 Using material Flow Analysis to quantify the circular economy

Comparing circular and linear economy

Across various industries, the word analysis is defined as the detailed examination of the elements or structure of something. Of course, the specific industry and the exact parameters of the analysis determine the scale and importance of the examination.

In the manufacturing industry, for instance, every level of analysis is critical, while the need for accuracy in the examination process is emphasized in electronics. One such analysis is in the area of electronics manufacturing, and it is called Material Flow Analysis (MFA).

Material Flow Management (MFM)

MFM, or material flow management, is a methodology for the efficient management of materials. Established as a policy at the UN Earth Summit conference in 1992, MFM is a goal-centric policy tool that promotes the circular economy through the efficient use of energy, materials, and material streams. 

In the field of manufacturing, it is logical to focus on resource management, since resource optimization directly affects the overall health of your business and environment. From a broader perspective, MFM can be regarded as a tool for the implementation and advancement of Material Flow Analysis.

MFM and Vertical Integration

To better understand the importance of MFM in manufacturing, we should analyze the effects of vertical manufacturing. Vertical manufacturing describes the vertical integration of a value chain that a manufacturer assumes to obtain a strategic advantage. Although a manufacturer is typically in the middle of this chain, it can expand its reach and profits via vertical integration within this value chain.

Manufacturers can achieve vertical integration by controlling or owning elements within the value chain that are beyond the primary manufacturing component. They accomplish this by acquiring other entities or by obtaining contractual agreements with these entities to provide services and goods. These contracts for goods and services are a part of the distribution and manufacturing process, and typically at a fixed rate. For example, to maximize supply chain efficiency, a manufacturer may control the primary supplier of raw materials for a given manufacturing process

The Importance of MFM

MFM is becoming increasingly vital as we humans continuously deplete our planetary resources, and companies continually seek means to mitigate the vertical range of manufacturing. From an economic perspective, this, of course, raises the cost of materials. Since the typical manufacturer business model mirrors the characteristics of a series circuit, these increases will negatively affect the entire process.

Therefore, companies must focus on increasing their resource efficiency through a more systematic approach, i.e., MFM and, more specifically, MFA. Historically, a manufacturer's measures to increase cost-effectiveness involves either the manufacturing process or the personnel they employ. However, a manufacturer that only focuses on these two aspects is severely limiting its ability to mitigate their company's overall costs.

This is where a tool like MFA can be invaluable to a manufacturer's overall profitability, longevity, and fiscal health. Furthermore, the need for increased efficiency in non-renewable natural resource management encompasses the environment, the economy, and the inhabitants of our planet as well. Sustainability is not just a buzzword because it has real, far-reaching implications.

Material Flow Analysis and Sustainability

Measures such as MFA promote energy savings as well as the sustainable use of non-renewable natural resources and their material flows. The aims of MFA include improving efficiency, mitigating waste, managing material resources, and providing a leaner manufacturing process while protecting the environment. As such, MFA is a crucial tool in the systematic inspection and improvement of material flows to optimize manufacturing processes and results.

The Benefits of MFA in Manufacturing

MFA offers the following advantages:

  • Streamline material flow

  • Promote sustainability

  • Mitigate operating costs

  • Increase the accuracy of inventories

  • Cost-effective inventory investments

  • Reduce order turnaround time

  • Increase revenue

  • Improve customer service

  • Increase overall profitability

Material Flow Analysis facilitates the examination and mathematically assessment of your manufacturing operation. Through its processes, it identifies any issues in the material flow and informational flow, while also identifying prospects for enhancement. The information you obtain from an MFA affords you the ability to make accurate decisions for the design of a new facility or enhancement of an existing facility.

Material Flow Analysis showing how production, product lifecycle, and recycling are integral

Vector illustration of circular economy

To learn more about integrating Material Flow Analysis into your design and production workflows, visit the Cadence PCB Design and Analysis overview page. For more information on how your company might benefit from utilizing MFA in the manufacturing process, find out What's New in Allegro PCB Design.

And if you're looking to learn more about how Cadence has the solution for you, talk to us and our team of experts.