IOS Instructions (1.3)

The brite-sparks inventory optimisation application (IOS) provides stand alone and pooled inventory optimisation for individual and group businesses. Collaborative pooling groups can be set-up for geographic regions, specific industry sectors or for a group of related or cooperating businesses, or service organisations.

Some American users of IOS are reporting difficulties with the following error message "ADO cannot find specific Provider". This relates to a Windows component MDAC 2.5/2.6/2.7. The provider in the error message is the Jet 4.0 Database Engine for Microsoft Access. You can update your system to the latest standards by downloading from http://www.microsoft.com/data/download.htm

Getting Started

  1. Download the IOS application and install it on your PC. The wizard will take you through the complete process. Note you will need to uninstall prior versions of IOS before the installation of IOS upgrades. You will also need to have Internet Explorer 5.5 or above installed on your machine with security set to the default supplied settings.


  2. Missing DLL Messages. It is advisable for all users to have the latest version of the Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) on their system. These are available from www.microsoft.com/data. The latest version is 2.7. Alternatively, visit Cnet Catchup to get the needed dll files.


  3. This download version comes complete with a default spare parts database, and a default user identity "so feel free to kick the tyres and take it for a spin". Try out the features under the Spare Parts, Suppliers and Web Services Menu Items. Whilst here try all the pull-down and right click search options to get a good feel for what the program has to offer. Once you are happy driving the program move on to the next section.


  4. In particular, users should familiarise themselves with the IOS Menu and the right click submenu options including; changing values within the Spare Parts Maintenance section of IOS; finding items on the website via a right mouse button click on a part number; plus adding and editing notes in the replacement details notepad. Users should also test the Up/Downloading of pooling information to the brite-sparks site. NB website pooled optimisation routines are run every 30 minutes or so, so you might need to wait for a download calculated on your most recent changes. Pooled values will start to appear in the data set shortly after a download (Check in spare parts, maintenance, view) and save optimised information. N.B be aware that if "n" users are using the system concurrently the optimisation will be based on the latest upload using the default identity "Thisisa.Default".


  5. Quick Start

  6. Register on the site as an Associate Member and confirm your account through the link emailed to you. Go here to register.


  7. Enter your personal details into the systems parameters overwriting the default values present in the panels. Make sure to enter your brite-sparks.com Username and Password.


  8. Enter working restrictions applicable to your business or plant into the relevant panes within the system parameters.


  9. To enable a quick start for inventory pooling we have provided some generic input boxes for the cost of failure, the cost of holding stocks and the service level requirement (confidence level). The application of these generic values can be changed for individual stock items via the spare parts maintenance toolset. The reason for providing a set of generic rules at this stage is to lessen your technical load and quicken your route to savings. Employ some cautious best guesses now, and refine these assessments at a later stage, as your confidence increases and you get more used to the system.


  10. Our best advices is to Pareto your stock holding by cost and then edit the top 20% individually via the maintenance edit toolset, leaving the generic values applied to the remaining 80% of your inventory holding.


  11. Enter ROM (rough order of magnitude) values for the cost of failure__hazard a guess at your daily cost of failure, I know its difficult 1 days downtime is a problem, 10 days and you're out of business! Put something in. The default is £100,000 if you study the mathematics your will note that its not that important a variable).


  12. Next, enter the value for holding stock (this can be the total daily cost of heat, light, power, labour, taxes, stock depreciation and so forth) or enter this as a percentage of the stock cost. In addition, you can enter a confidence level requirement for the processes supported by your inventory.


  13. One area we cannot help you with is the spare part usage rates. How many do you use per year? You should include this data within your imported file. Alternatively, you may need to enter values for each IOS managed item via the spare parts maintenance toolset. (Don't worry too much at this time as we will be covering file imports later in the instructions.)


  14. To configure the online system to recognise your copy of IOS click the configuration option within Web Services. This feature will allow you to enter details of your company or organisation, your plants geographic location plus upgrade your brite-sparks.com membership to full CORPORATE status for the free trial period of 90 days.


Once you have completed the configuration process, an IOS activation code will be emailed to you. Enter this into the IOS activation panel and save the details. IOS will now provide access to all internal and brite-sparks website functions.

Spreading the News

Once you have completed the configuration process, you can create your own Pooling Groups through the websites My Groups option. Next, build membership of your pooling group by persuading other companies and organisations to join in, this can be very profitable for you (See more...). Note each new member will need to register on the brite-sparks site; they then in turn should download, install and configure the IOS software. These users can join your open group directly by logging into the site and searching within My Groups for your group clicking on the join icon will automatically set-up their membership. If you have created a closed user group, they can apply to join by email.

Using the System

Next, import your supplier database and component records into the program (See appendix 1 for file import details). You will need to clear the example database supplied with the application. Open Import Data and clear the existing default database. Next, import your supplier database followed by your inventory database. Concentrate on your low usage and high cost items first, these will provide the biggest savings at the outset. If you know of equivalent parts held by, your pooling partners place these details into IOS via suppliers' equivalent items.

Editing Individual Items

Menu item Spare Parts, Maintenance, Edit allows you to signal, which components you wish to exclude from pooling, and for the cautious amongst you, you can specify a minimum safety stock holding that you wish to preserve from the pooling optimisation process.

IOS Optimisation Routines

IOS will calculate a local optimised reorder level for each stock item; in some cases, it will signal that a zero stock holding is the most appropriate outcome. (The risk of failure is slight in relation to stock holding costs).

Following this local optimisation, IOS will then upload your stockholdings, stock parameters and service level requirements to the brite-sparks website. (Click on Web Services Upload all Data , note we will make this automatic in a future release). Ever30 minutes Web Server based application programs running at brite-sparks.com will calculate a pooled optimised reorder level based on the duplication of stock holdings within your designated pooling group and transmit results back to your IOS application. Download this pooled Information Web Services Download Pooled data from brite-sparks ( again this will be an automatic feature in a future release of IOS). IOS will recalculate lower reorder levels based on the duplication within the pool.

Optimised "pooled" reorder levels will start to populate the IOS data set for pooled items. This information should be used to update your stock control or computer based maintenance management system (CMM) re-order levels.

As stock changes occur or as additional members join your pooling group tighter stock reorder levels are transmitted to each local IOS module within the pool, reflecting changes in the overall pooled stock holding.

Currently IOS will not calculate a pooled reorder level less than 1, local zero stock holdings need to be agreed amongst members of a pooling group. Agreeing minimum stock holding arrangements i.e. one participant agrees to hold the only spare to service the pool will provide major savings. However, if agreement cannot be reached between pooling group members we maybe able to provide an impartial inventory holding and management service.

IOS Quick Search and other Features

Clicking the right mouse button on any part provides a drop down menu with access to quick views of replacement histories; equivalent items and spare parts search features. The search feature will undertake a lightening scan of brite-sparks databases and signal partner organisations holding these items with contact details.

Problems and Solutions

Cannot communicate via IOS to the brite-sparks website (no search or upload or download). Make sure you have Internet Explorer 5.5 or above installed on your machine with security settings set to default.

Cannot communicate via IOS to the brite-sparks website (no search feature). Uninstall the current IOS application save the download setup.exe file and Install the application from this saved file. Installing directly from WinZip memory can cause problems.

Cannot get a pooled calculation in IOS? First check that you have a pool of items in your pooling group, right click on a known duplicated component within your local spare parts stock records and check that identical components from more than one pooling group member are found on the brite-sparks site. Next, wait 30 minutes and click Web Services Download Pooling Data from brite-sparks. When the download is complete Click on Spare Parts Optimisation…wait for a few minutes as IOS re optimises the stock levels. Items duplicated within the pool will have lower reorder values and contain values in My Groups In Country and Anywhere in the stock record.

IOS Drivers

Currently brite-sparks provides a simple csv interface to IOS for the importation of stock data. If you develop a nice interface for a Stock Control System or CMM ( Computer Maintenance Management Application) let us know, upload it to the driver section of the website and we sell the downloads for you.

If you need further information please contact us at pooling_support@brite-sparks.comwe are waiting here to help.

Appendix 1

Currently we employ a simple CSV interface to import data from your stock control or CMM system. Layouts for CSV Import Files:

Supplier File:

Column 1 SupplierID Integer
Column 2 SupplierCode Char
Column 2 Company Char
Column 4 AddressLine1 Char
Column 5 AddressLine2 Char
Column 6 AddressLine3 Char
Column 7 AddressLine4 Char
Column 8 City Char
Column 9 County Char
Column 10 PostCode Char
Column 11 Country Char
Column 12 Telephone Char
Column 13 Fax Char
Column 14 EmailAddress Char
Column 15 WebSiteAddress Char
Column 16 AverageDeliveryTime Integer
Column 17 StandardDeliveryCharge Float

Part File:

Column 1 StockID Integer
Column 2 PartNumber Char
Column 3 Description Char
Column 4 IntegerDescription Char
Column 5 BarCode Char
Column 6 Active Char (Y or N)
Column 7 ExcludeFromPooling Char (Y or N)
Column 8 SupplierID Integer
Column 9 SupplierCode Char
Column 10 SupplierLeadTime Integer
Column 11 SupplierDeliveryQuantity Integer
Column 12 SupplierUnitCost Float
Column 13 CurrentStockInHouse Integer
Column 14 QuantitytoPool Integer
Column 15 QuantityToReserve Integer
Column 16 CostOfFailure Float
Column 17 CostOfHoldingStock Float
Column 18 ConfidenceLimitRequired Float
Column 19 AverageUsage Integer
Column 20 AverageUsagePeriod Integer

Points to note: