Global Case Study
Opcenter (Preactor) APS
Opcenter APS (Preactor) provides precision on-time deliveries for precision engineering company
Artis Matriz is a small company specializing in the design and manufacture of injection mold tools for thermoplastic and thermosetting materials, as well as metal stamping and general precision machining.
Established in 1991 in Campo Largo, Parana (Brazil), they employ 68 highly skilled people and have been recognized both in Brazil and Europe for their high quality products and great service level.
For Artis Matriz, a continuous investment in technology is a key factor in their business. Mr. Murilo Olenik, Industrial Manger, explains, “Our production is 100% engineer or make to order, and our customers are very demanding in terms of quality and delivery. So, technology is the key. We must continually monitor our business process, machines and equipment, production flow, and all the tools that support the company to supply what our customers want. When possible, we really like to exceed our customer expectations. In the end, it always brings us more revenues and profit.”
In 2008, after one of their periodical business process reviews, they identified that the process of planning and scheduling production needed a better tool because the use of spreadsheets required about 3 to 4 days of work and daily re-scheduling was very difficult, resulting in less than desirable customer service levels.
Mr. Olenik commented that as soon as they realized that the planning and scheduling process needed to be improved, they started to search for a tool to take the place of the spreadsheets and reduce the pressure on planning from other departments such as sales, purchasing, production, and finance. “Fortunately, we found Preactor and after a few meeting sessions with MOCARTINS (a Preactor Solution Provider based in Curitiba-Paraná), we became convinced that it was the tool we were looking for.”
Aparecido Martins and Larissa Diniz from MOCARTINS remember well their experience at Artis Matriz. Mr Martins explained, “Since the very first meeting, we realized that the company had done their homework. They knew their strengths and weaknesses. The introduction of a scheduling tool was an opportunity to improve not only the scheduling process itself, but an opportunity for the whole business process.”
Artis Matriz knew what they wanted but they had a limited budget. However, the family of products offered by Preactor meant they could choose which version suited their needs and met their requirements. Working together with Mocartins, Artiz Matriz was convinced that Preactor 200 FCS (Opcenter APS Standard) would fit their needs.
Mr. Martins again, “Preactor 200 FCS (Standard) is the second member of Preactor family of products after Preactor Express, but it has remarkable features and it is fully customizable to meet specific requirements as well as being able to be linked to any other software.”
The implementation process was very quick and easy as explained by Mr. Olenik.
“At the beginning, our first question was if it would be worth linking Preactor with our ERP system. With MOCARTINS assistance, we realized that our ERP system was well set up to provide excellent quotations and control total hours consumed by production, but our bill of process was not set up for detailed scheduling which was what we needed. So, we decided to use Preactor in stand-alone mode, i.e, without integration with other software.”
Once this was decided, the project ran very smoothly. Artiz Matriz loads the basic data (resources, resource groups) from spreadsheets and builds the bill of process for each product directly into Preactor. They started this process with the products that were already in production and also those already sold but not started.
Using this approach, the first production models and scenarios was created in just a few days and helped the planner to adjust priorities to best accommodate due dates.
“After two and a half months of planning and scheduling carried out by Preactor, we could see the benefits of our efforts,” says Mr. Olenik.
Preactor has been helping Artis Matriz with its planning and scheduling since 2008. However, it is important to mention that they have suffered heavily from the international bank crises in 2009 which had a with significant impact on their revenues that year. Mr Olenik again, “Even though our demand was reduced, Preactor was a decisive tool for us because it helped us to make better decisions about shift patterns, priorities, etc. without having to fire people.”
Besides the huge gains in service levels, Artis Matriz also have better resource utilization, reduced lead times, and better internal coordination.
The real power of Preactor came to the forefront in 2011, when demand really grew again.
“We cannot imagine how we could manage scheduling without Preactor. OK, it is possible, but the agility we have today is a key factor because every day we are pressed by our customer for short lead-times and high quality. Now we know in advance where there are possible delays and we can change the total schedule and evaluate the consequences. In extreme cases, we need to tell customers we cannot meet the delivery date, but we do so several days beforehand,” says Mr. Olenik.