Global Case Study

Opcenter (Preactor) APS

FM Logistic

From a local need to a global project

FM Logistic, which was founded in 1962, is a company present in 11 countries with four key business activities:

  • Warehousing (57% of the turnover)
  • Transport (29% of the turnover)
  • Co-packing (11% of the turnover)
  • Supply chain management (3% of the turnover).

In 2012, FM Logistic had 14,000 employees and a turnover of €807m.

The co-packing division was launched in 1987. This is a packaging operation consisting of grouping complementary or identical products at the request of the manufacturers for promotional campaigns. The company has 26 sites which focus on this activity, of which 13 are international.

The three main activities carried out on these sites are:

  • Primary packing (folded carton, jars, bags, blisters etc.)
  • Assembly and sub-assembly of various devices
  • Software upgrades and tampo printing.

These activities are carried out for customers from the following key sectors:

  • Food industry
  • Retail
  • Home & personal care
  • Industrial & electronics
  • Luxury & cosmetics
  • Health


In February 2007, FM Logistic at its Woippy site commenced a consultation to buy a planning and scheduling solution for its co-packing work for customer Hewlett Packard. There were two main objectives:

  • Ensure that every printer passes on the most efficient line;
  • Replace planning in Excel (the users kept the planning data in their heads, and the solution reached its limits to manage the complexity due to 650 references containing up to 20 options depending on the country)

The selected tool, besides dealing with planning, also had to ensure the availability of all the components needed to be able to launch the work orders.

The needs identified internally to be covered by the solution were as follows:

  • A help tool for the planning service: an end to planning in Excel, a standard tool for better training, freeing up planning staff to concentrate on other tasks
  • Reliability and optimization of scheduling
  • Being able to see a graphic representation of the plan and the possibility of what-if analysis
  • Improvement of reactivity to hazards
  • Have relevant and reliable indicators

After a market study, the consultation in 2007 was launched with three software vendors.
Preactor was selected due to several criteria:

  • Its experience and recognition in the field of planning and scheduling
  • Its solidity
  • Its international presence
  • Its availability in over 30 languages
  • Its support and reactivity since the beginning of the collaboration

Following this first successful experience, other co-packing sites have been equipped with Preactor in the meantime:

  • Moulin les Metz in 2008
  • Neuville aux Bois in 2009
  • Fauvernay in 2010

For the last year, the ERP used for co-packing activity has been Cimsup. Preactor has therefore been interfaced with this to collect all the data necessary to carry out planning.

As seen previously, the activity of the various sites is similar: it is about reconditioning of items. Production lines are either automatic or manual depending on the operations to be carried out.

The activity is volatile and very dependent on customer requirements, with short contract terms for as little as six months. A planner for each site manages the relationship between the customer and the production team.

The receipt of orders from customers takes place on Wednesdays. These are very important because they are necessary to establish the work orders and therefore launch planning. The CAPM transforms the orders into work orders which are transmitted to Preactor. The schedule is launched on Thursdays at the latest for the following week.

The work of the teams is made up of 2×7 or 2×8, depending on the case.
Two meetings a day take place between the planner and the teams to update the production plan with relevant details such as the team being behind or ahead of schedule, or any problems that have arisen. At the Fauverney site, the planning includes between 100 and 150 work orders per week, while at the Neuville site approximately 100 work orders are managed weekly.

The main problems managed by Preactor are:

  • Meeting the delivery date (weekly commitment)
  • Preferential lines: on automatic lines Preactor aims to minimize the time taken to change formats, while on manual lines it optimizes the number of operators needed and minimizes the number of handling operations Checking provision of stocks to prevent production breaks. The stocks of packaging are managed by FM Logistic for its customers
  • Management of the teams (work in 2×7 or 2×8)
  • Management of peripheral equipment (label machines, printers etc.)

Various improvements were noticed once Preactor was installed:

  • First of all, a saving on time was noticed. The time spent in the elaboration of planning was clearly decreased. While previously it was a full-time job, now two hours a day are sufficient, which leaves to the planner more time to concentrate on higher value-added operations.
  • The ease of operating Preactor simplifies the work of the users. Before Preactor, new planners had to do an intensive training course on the functioning of the workshop and the various rules to be applied.

“Now everything is much simpler,” declares Dominique Delsalle, project manager. “Everything is modeled and parameterized in Preactor, with just a few clicks to generate the plan. Moreover, the possibility of creating different simulations is the advantage most appreciated by the user sites. Our other sites can be equipped with Preactor if needed.”

  • The other gains are  visibility and the ability to anticipate. The co-packing activity is  very manual. Preactor provides a better forecast of immediate work needs and allows fast reaction to production hazards (stopping for maintenance, product shortage etc.)

“Customer satisfaction is essential and delivery deadlines must be honored,” Mr Delsalle continues. “Previously we were poor at forecasting our workload each week to enable deliveries to be made before the weekend. It was frequently necessary to call in additional teams on Saturday mornings in order to meet delivery deadlines.
Now we have better visibility, we can anticipate a possible delay and get organized accordingly.”

Preactor is now referenced at FM2I (department of IT engineering of the group FM Logistic). Every existing site or every new installation can use Preactor if it needs it. In 2012, the Preactor application was centralized and sites reach it via Citrix. The core model can be duplicated easily and the application can be adapted for use on a large number of sites with minimal customization. In 2013, three new sites were equipped with Preactor (in Europe), then three more in 2014.

Opcenter (Preactor) Advanced Planning
• What to make • When to make it • How much to make • Where to make it • Required materials & resources
Opcenter (Preactor) Advanced Scheduling
• How best to make it • Sequencing • Synchronization • Priorities, constraints, & conflicts • Monitor execution & change
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