Manufacturing Route consumption in a phantom

One for the manufacturing minds…

We use phantoms as there is much commonality in our product. The idea behind a phantom is that you don’t build it unless a higher level item requires it. Our phantoms are electronic widgets, which pass through various processes and consume stock by backflushing at various operations in the route from different warehouses/locations. The problem we are having is that Master Scheduling is not generating planned transfer orders to move bits to the correct place.

This is because the operation number assigned to phantom components are ignored when planning runs. It only picks up the operation of the phantom BOM itself, so whilst the system will establish there is sufficient stock, it doesn’t recognise the requirement per warehouse and suggest moving them there.

Microsoft have come back and refused to fix this, claiming the following;

“This is not designed to allow you to consume different components of the Phantom item at different points on the route. All the components of the Phantom item need to be issued at the same point, Therefore, the Operation number should only be specified at Phantom Item level. This is why there is a look up on the Operation at Phantom Item level, but not at the component of the phantom level (although you can key into the field, this is because there could be a route against the Phantom).”

I’m not a manufacturing expert, but to me this assumption is seriously flawed. I’d love to hear other expert’s opinion on this


The phantom will have a BOM line and this will in turn have BOM components. If the BOM of the phantom item is constructed to down date components at the operation level this will be the operation related to the item. You are then adding the item and setting it as a BOM and therefore the references now related to a completely different route, so theoretically are incorrect.

Having a phantom BOM consume at different routing operations is not possible when the BOM is used in multiple end products because this will have different routings. Your item may consume component 1 at operation 30, but when used as a phantom in another BOM operation 30 is now irrelevant. In reality the system would need to be redesigned to consume by operation code, not number to give the reference a chance of working.

When using phantoms in the past, for me these have always been consumed at a single point, I have never used phantoms where if I made them independently they would consume material at different operation stages. This does not mean you are wrong, it just means I have not come across the requirement in my previous manufacturing experience and I can see why the system does not handle it.

Part of your issue is the concept of the phantom is something that is never stocked, or theretically made. It is generally used as an engineering tool to save on the configuration of items, placing a phantom in to blow through on the requirements. It could be argued if your phantom has specific consumption requirements then it is not a true phantom, but really this is schemantics.

However the phantom components would be seen, and the warehouse in teh BOM would be picked up- so the suggestion should still be made through a dynamic production line in planning, what I would presume it would get wrong from your requirement is the time based suggestion on the operation value. What it should do is recognise the requirement and suggest a movement to fulfill it.