Global Case Study
Opcenter (Preactor) APS
Preactor helps Rudolph Usinados to refine their production management
The Rudolph Usinados S/A was created in 1965 focused on the manufacture of tools for watchmakers. Currently, the company is a reference in the machining industry, providing high quality machined products for various industries, including the automotive and appliances.
With over 8,300 m² built on a plot of over 173,600 m², Rudolph Usinados S/A is headquartered in the city of Timbo / SC (South Brazil). The business group also has other subsidiaries and affiliates: Usitim, Rudolph Fixações and Rudolph Usinados SK (Slovakia).
With annual net operating revenue of R$ 51 mi, Rudolph employs 450 people.
During the last decade, Rudolph improved its Quality, Engineering, Procurement, Logistics, and Production management systems and incorporated new and improved features in their own ERP through partnerships with some software companies. Also in partnership with Robert Bosch, Rudolph implemented successful a Just in Time system (Kanban, FIFO).
The efforts paid off as the company achieved significant results in the performance of deliveries (IFE), greater assertiveness and reliability in production control, and detailed mapping of production workflow, to name a few examples.
In 2012, Rudolph had achieved a high level of efficiency in operations, with a delivery performance close to 92%, but its leaders realized that there was still space to chase in pursuit of operational excellence.
The company wanted to reduce the time response and, at the same time, feel more confident to inform quantities and deliveries dates to their customers. Rudolph leaders concluded that the solution would require a specialized planning and scheduling software with finite capacity feature.
With production mainly against customers’ orders, Rudolph wanted a tool that would allow generation of various production scenarios to make better decisions, but also to generate new scenarios quickly to reschedule production because of unplanned maintenance, lack of employees , changes of priorities, quantities and/or dates, for instance.
To illustrate the scale of production scheduling complexity, Rudolph has more than 800 resources and products have between 5 and 25 operations. Customer orders undergo frequent changes in dates and/or quantities and production re-scheduling is part of the daily routine of the company.
To choose the right software for their needs Rudolph set some minimum requirements, before go to the market to evaluate the options:
- Sequence production minimizing setup times, without compromising delivery dates;
- Plan the need for labor in the short, medium and long term;
- Optimize the purchase of raw materials and supplies;
- React quickly to any unexpected event;
- Create and compare delivery scenarios;
- Plan production contemplating preventive maintenance;
- Control outsourced operations.
The process of implementation of Preactor APS software began in mid-September 2012, with the support of APS3 (Preactor Gold Solution Provider based in Curitiba, Paraná).
Changes in the workforce of Rudolph that was part of the project team, lack of clarity of purpose of the software by some Rudolph people, complexity of items, amount of resources and operational constraints were some of the challenges that both Rudolph as APS3 had to overcome throughout the project.
The Rudolph project team researched and visited some other Preactor users in order to know the lessons learned. They expected to apply those lessons to obtain the expected successes shortly. As a result, the company discovered that details matters and all companies are different in terms of management and software follows it.
Consequently, the company needed to mature over the implementation process and this resulted in a series of rules and very specific parameterizations to have a solution adherent to their needs. Rudolph concluded that there is not only one formula, the system must be modeled and customized for each company and this is one of the great virtues of Preactor.
Preactor went into operation in late February 2013, just one month after the original plan due to the difficulties that arose during the project date. Currently Rudolph sequence in Preactor about 6,500 operations per time.
With the implementation of Preactor, some structural changes were made. Initially, Rudolph PPCP (acronym for Production Planning, Scheduling and Controlling) team consisted of 1 supervisor and 4 schedulers. Currently, the team is 1 supervisor, 3 schedulers and 1 planning analyst. A seemingly subtle change, but it allowed Rudolph to dedicate a professional to focus on and address improvements in planning and detailed scheduling, OEE control, profitability, manufacturing loading and reduction of inventories.
With this change, Rudolph began the process of improving utilization of resources by generating in minutes several scenarios. This led them to improve production and extend assertiveness in decision making, for example, to hire labor, the expansion of some productive areas and reducing other.
After 12 months of Preactor in operation, the results were consolidated:
Performance targets for delivery and shipping were particularly affected, because during the months from February to May 2013, the PPCP had to deal with a shortage of manpower, causing inevitable delays. These delays therefore generated special freight. However, the company separated the result of the second half of 2013 and found that the performance of deliveries was 95.65%, very close to the target of 96%.