Global Case Study
Opcenter (Preactor) APS
OPCENTER APS (PREACTOR) COMPLEMENTS MICROSOFT DYNAMICS AX FOR CD AND DVD PRODUCTION IN POLAND
TAKT offers a “start to finish” process in which their products go through premastering, authoring, mastering, replication and packaging. They also have their own printing house, DTP studio, and transportation facilities, so it has no need for subcontractors.
Customers of TAKT include the leading Polish and Central European phonographic producers, software houses, publishers, multimedia content providers, advertising agencies, and motion pictures producers and distributors.
TAKT is a member of International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, The Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry, and other organizations. They participate in the Source Identification Code program and have signed license agreements with Philips, MPEG LA, Toshiba, and DVD FLLC. These partnerships help to ensure that each of their products is secure and legitimate.
Artur Tabol, Planning Specialist and key Preactor user, describes the challenges facing day to day production planning in TAKT:
Implementation of Preactor 400 APS, now known as Opcenter APS Ultimate, was carried out by Prętczyński sp. z o.o, a Polish Partner of Preactor International.
The first phase of the implementation was the development of an interface between Preactor and Microsoft Dynamics AX, the ERP system used by TAKT. Data exchange is based on the ERP system sending information on sales orders to Preactor, and after the schedule is generated, the planned start and end dates are sent back to the ERP.
The data exchange is based on sales orders and not production orders because there is no transfer of product routing from the Microsoft Dynamics AX system. Consequently, the Preactor solution deployed for TAKT must use a product routing or products table held within Preactor’s database to add the process steps required. Each routing is made up of series of operations that are required in the production process which depends on the product specification and includes the process time and the resources group assigned that can carry out the work.
After data is imported from Microsoft Dynamics AX, each order line in the sales order becomes a production order. The planner then assigns a routing to the production order by selecting the operations using a “routing card.” The sequence of selection of those cards will indicate the sequence of operations to be performed. After this process is completed, the combination of production orders, together with its routing, is transferred to Preactor Sequencer for scheduling.
One of the specific modifications implemented in this Preactor solution was the ability to define the routing information for sales orders using a Preactor Viewer license. This can import orders from the Microsoft Dynamics AX system, then the Preactor Viewer User assigns routing to the production orders before passing the data to the planner’s system where the schedule is prepared.
This data exchange between the Viewer and Master system was possible using Preactor’s real-time messaging system with its Preactor Communication Object (PCO) which provides a method for sending and receiving messages between Preactor systems. When the user of the Viewer finishes entering data for a routing for a production order, it sends a message to the planner’s system. This message is displayed in the Planner’s system who can then decide if they want to import the new data. The Viewer also has access to the current schedule as the same messaging system is used to update it from the planner’s system.
Implementation began in April 2009 with the focus on the Packaging division. In the second stage, resources were added for the Press department. The first phase of the implementation was completed in November 2009 and additional modifications were added later.
Artur Tabol describes the results of implementation and benefits achieved by scheduling with Preactor:
“The time needed to plan production orders has been shortened by the introduction of Preactor, compared to previous tools. Planning for all operations now proceeds much more smoothly, although it requires manual intervention in the plan and the corresponding work from the planner. The ability to have a faster distribution of the production plan to all departments, including specific work centers, is a great help.
It took a quite a long time to modify and adapt the Preactor configuration to the needs and particularities of production at TAKT. By working closely with Prętczyński, we succeeded in fitting the Preactor system to our needs, and we added many specific functions.
It should be noted that TAKT delivers a lot of low volume orders that result in additional difficulties in terms of planning. Frequent changes to the data affecting production and planning of orders requires a continuous update of the plan, and for now, the Preactor system helps us to control it.”