Global Case Study
Opcenter (Preactor) APS
HENN improves its planning process & productivity with Opcenter APS, formerly Preactor
The history of HENN begins with the founding of a small woodworking shop by Mr. Leopoldo Rudi Henn in 1974. From there it grew into a Furniture manufacturer, and in 1992 they employed 27 people to produce 450 pieces per month. In 1995, a new 2,270 sq. m headquarters was built to meet production of 1800 pieces per month, counting at this time 50 employees.
Currently, HENN is one of the largest furniture manufacturers in Brazil, with more than 890 direct employees, in a constructed area of over 70,000 sq. m, in a modern manufacturing plant. With smart logistics and buffer stock for 30 days of about 400 items ready for immediate delivery, the company is present in all Brazilian states, exporting to 4 continents and gaining more space in the international market.
This development is still possible because HENN has been tracking changes in global consumption and evolving along with them to offer quality products, practical, innovative, and inspired by global trends.
HENN works with a finished goods inventory that ensures immediate delivery of products to customers. This stock is stored in boxes or packages, where some finished products (SKU) have up to 6 sections. Each box is assembled with a synchronized production so that each component arrives almost simultaneously in the packaging area, with the goal of excluding unnecessary processes.
It often happened that components that made up a box arrived late in the packaging area and this compromised the packing of orders, causing a large amount of in-process inventory.
Canisio Henn is the Industrial Director of HENN. “A piece, no matter how small, if not available at the time of assembly of the box, causes order delay and compromises the delivery.”
The planning team defines only which finished products should be manufactured, i.e., only the planning and not the detailed production scheduling. The scheduling process was managed by shop floor coordinators who decided the sequence and on what resource each production order should be processed. The scheduling performed by the Shop Floor Coordinators, as good as it was, had limited visibility to each sector or resource of their responsibility, which in most cases does not guarantee the desired timing for assembly.
Another important problem was that the sequence of production and minimization of setup time was not fully effective, since the Shop Floor Coordinators did not have the ideal visibility for this. Some alternative resources and bottlenecks were not considered in advance when scheduling.
Thinking about this scenario, HENN realized that they needed a tool to assist in the visibility of the production process for the area of planning, which would be capable of providing the desired synchronization and agility, and improve productivity.
Édio Grassi, the Administration Director at HENN, said, “HENN is recognized as an agile company and is concerned about serving its clients well. We needed a solution that allows us to continue like this. We needed speed and quality, the key factors that led HENN to be among the biggest and best in the country in the furniture segment.”
After identifying the need for a tool that could assist in the management of production, HENN searched the market to find companies that can offer a robust solution, combined with a qualified and recognized service. They chose H2J Innovative Solutions, a reseller of Preactor products and value-added service provider.
H2J delivered a convincing demonstration of the tool and was contracted to carry out the implementation of Preactor 400 APS (now known as Opcenter APS Ultimate) and provide consultancy to assist in the reorganization of the planning department.
Early in the project, they evaluated the characteristics of each stage of the production process and production resources, thus determining the software requirements to handle situations related to setup times, relationships and synchronization between different stages of the production process, the use of tools and other constraints, as well as the synchronization between production dates and availability of raw materials.
With the comprehensive survey of the requirements for making changes in the planning process to fit the use of Preactor, various workgroups were created which focused on certain aspects of the project, thus enabling parallel development of activities to suit the new process designed.
While the technological workgroup, led by HENN IT team, took care of settings in the ERP system in order to better fit industrial requirements, the workgroup of Methods and Processes led by HENN Product Engineering and Planning team worked on the adequacy of the new model and updated the records (BoM and BoP) in the ERP system.
All teams were properly instructed and monitored by H2J consultants. This synergy between the parties involved helped the project flow with the speed and quality required and enabled the completion of the project within the agreed deadline in the project schedule.
The new production scheduling process, so far, is working effectively in the machining sector, which involves the processes of cutting, drilling and gluing edge tape.
Even with Preactor working effectively only in the machining sector, HENN has managed reap impressive benefits.
Productivity improved by around 7%, comparing the period from May to December 2012 and May to December 2013. Comparing the period January to February 2013 and the same period from January to February 2014, the improvement in productivity was about 18%. Problems related to delays at the time of packaging components fell almost 90%, and when they occurred, they were not related to production scheduling. This caused an impressive decrease in work-in-progress.
HENN is an innovative company and always concerned about market trends, so every year it releases new product lines. Historically each year when a new line was released, productivity fell, but using Preactor this did not happen and productivity remained stable.
The return of investment on the project itself and some additional efforts done to support the project was less than 6 months.
Canisio Henn gives us an idea of how good it is to count on Preactor. “To give you an idea of the importance and how Preactor is helping us, currently one of our schedulers came from the dairy industry knowing nothing of the production process of a furniture industry and he is doing well. The role of our Shop Floor Coordinators is turning its focus to product quality, the smooth progress of production and the welfare of workers, eliminating the concern for scheduling the factory. The scheduling is all done by the Planning department, with the help of Preactor.”
The next steps are already being taken, and Preactor is starting to be used effectively in the paint department. It has also been considered to use a more effective tool for long term planning, so Preactor GMPS (Opcenter Advanced Planning) is being evaluated.