Global Case Study

Opcenter (Preactor) APS

Technip Flexi France

Planning & Scheduling at Technip Flexi France with Opcenter (Preactor) APS

About the Technip Group :
  • World leader in the fields of engineering and technical projects for the oil and gas for over 50 years. 
  • 23,000 people in 48 countries
  • 110 nationalities and industrial activities on 5 continents
  • 6.5 billion euros of sales in 2009


  • The Subsea market represents 44% of the turnover of Technip. Subsea includes underwater products & supply pipes, as well as underwater flexible and rigid umbilicals and risers (products for connecting subsea equipment to fixed platforms or floating production systems).
  • Five manufacturing plants representing approximately 2,200 people in the production of hoses and umbilicals.
  • Five assembly bases of rigid underwater pipes.
  • A constantly evolving fleet of support vessels.
  • The Offshore market accounts for 9% of sales turnover for the group
  • It develops methods for the manufacture and installation of fixed platforms for shallow waters and floating platforms.
  • This is the most important activity in the group which accounts for 47% of income. It concerns the refining units, hydrogen processing, and settlement of gas and unconventional resources.

TECHNIP has six manufacturing plants. The factories in Le Trait (France), Vitoria (Brazil) and Tanjung Langsat (Malaysia) are specialized in the manufacture of the flexible devices. Those in Newcastle (UK), Channelview (U.S.), and Lobito (Angola) are focused on the production of umbilicals. The resources are mainly based in Europe, but there is also a strong presence in South America and increasingly in Asia.

Product quality is fundamental to TECHNIP. There are huge financial consequences at stake if equipment is unreliable. Their customer’s oil delivery is dependent on TECHNIP’s equipment, both umbilicals and flexibles. Project value can be more than 50m€ in the North Sea, up to more than 1 Billion € in South Africa. The Group has a fleet of 19 ships to deliver and install their equipment. The Asiaflex factory is currently under construction where both flexible and umbilical products will be made.

This plant is located in Le Trait, Normandy and has been involved in the design and manufacture of flexible devices for more than 35 years. It is the ‘Centre of Excellence’ for manufacturing. The group has established a cross-functional organization to respond to any request from customer prospecting to product realization. FLEXI FRANCE figures:

  • 950 people (650 production staff, 110 in R & D, 85 offshore);
  • More than 7000 km of flexible pipe and 15,000 connectors produced since 1974;
  • approximately 52 projects per year;
  • 150 different structures, 450 endings. 

All fabrications are made-to-order, and there is no standard product. A flexible device carries oil and gas and consists of several layers each with a specific function :
1st Layer : A stapled foliage that prevents the hose from closing on itself.
2nd Layer : Thin plastic sealing.
3rd Layer : Layer of steel to withstand the internal pressure.
4th Layer : Cross-ply armor to provide stability over time.
5th Layer : Layer of protection and insulation to maintain temperature.

As each project is unique, the design of the equipment is systematically adapted to customer requirements depending on:

  • The depth at which the flexible device will be installed;
  • The fluid that will be carried;
  • The variation in the temperature of the water; 
  • The installation conditions;
  • The pressure;
  • The corrosive conditions;
  • The diameter which will be necessary to carry the fluid. 

In 2007, to meet its ambitions, the TECHNIP group decided to focus on delivery reliability. They wanted to be able to simulate the expected lead times of projects (which could take between 3 months and 3 years), and then monitor progress to meet customers deadlines.

“Production is at the heart of the global supply chain group. We must be able to announce accurate and reliable deadlines to customers and make simulations for future customers on a period stretching to three years. The equipment must absolutely leave on the promise date as ships that are used to convey them to the platforms are reserved well in advance. The cost of laying-up a ship is very expensive and any delay in production would involve heavy additional costs which we have to avoid” says Bruno BELLET, Director of the factory at Le Trait.


• Manage raw material suppliers.

  • The 30 principle suppliers to TECHNIP  are specifically qualified for each product
  • Purchases of raw materials are made as and when required by demand
  • Any supply risks are indentified in advance
  • Estimates of future demand are regularly sent to the suppliers
  • Estimates of future volumes to suppliers allow negotions to optimize.

• Managing the entire chain of subcontracting (forging, machining, welding, protection). A plan is sent to subcontractors about once per year. Revisions are done every 2 or 3 months. The subcontractor is part of a project and therefore forward visibility is equally important to them to provide an efficient service.

• Machine Utilization

  • The wide range of products and projects means that machine bottlenecks will often move over time depending on product mix.

• Operator Utilization

  • It is necessary to change the number of operators (2-18 staff) and the tasks assigned to them especially for example when specific equipment is needed such as reels to wind and store flexible devices
  • It is necessary to be able to adjust the number of temporary staff easily.
  • The choice of equipment to use during manufacture will also change the operator requirements.

• Reel/Bobbin Utilization

  • It is necessary to manage the problem of the availability of reels/bobbins as well as the space available for storage.
  • A reel/bobbin can weigh 300 tons, therefore it is necessary to plan and take into account the handling equipment and movement of each reel.

• Existing constraints

  • Detailed Constraints
    • Inter-machine conflicts
    • Reels are between 8 and 11 meters high. Some areas are not able to accept the reels so processes requiring certain sizes of reel have to be done in specific workshops
    • Machines can be single or multi-process
    • There are single and multi-processes that can be parallel or linear – certain operations are connected, others not.
    • All customer inspectors are present on site. They impose inspection requirements at certain stages of manufacture.
    • Requirements are dependent on whether the project is focused on maintenance or new work
    • Management of production progress and history is important


  • Estimated time for prototypes
    • 10 to 12% of resource activity is dedicated to the realization of prototypes.


  • Manage other resources or other criteria
    • Management of non-conformities on operations (around 50 per week)
    • Managing indexing complexity by operation.
    • Management of diversity; The make-spans are long, re-planning and regrouping of work is necessary.
    • Optimizing launches
    • Tools (important make-ready time, requirements up to 16 hours).
    • Consumable requirements (adhesives, oil, etc.).
  • Manage financial forecasts
    • TECHNIP estimates the progress of its projects in order to reliably & simultaneously announce a projected budget. The simulation will then be combined with financial recovery for the Group to make a forecast of consolidated sales. Planning is therefore a determining factor.


  • Pioneer in the use of the optimization of the logistic chain, Technip had tried another solution a year before. This solution had important limitations and did not take into account the whole of the manufacturing process. It became imperative to improve this solution or change it. “Our tool for long term planning was a house dating from 1985,” declared Jerome DELAHAYE, responsible for planning at FLEXI FRANCE. “It was limited to the manufacture of the flexible devices. It did not manage the activities of the assembly of the ends, test, and packing. In addition, we had another solution which managed short term planning supplied with other technical data.”
  • The technical data was thus present in several tools. “We did not have commonality of data between these tools,” comments Bruno BELLET.
  • The solution did not take into account inventory control. This needed to take into account the information from the ERP to align the work orders with the available stock.
  • The high cost of maintaining existing tools was also a big factor in Technip deciding to look for a new solution. 

An integrated solution was essential. This solution would have to manage the total Supply Chain, short term and long term. It would have to take into account all detailed constraints of the workshops and the complexity of the processes. It must be flexible and reactive. It must be multi-user, allow each user to make simulations, allow filtering of information, compare actual information with planned activities, and be able to adapt to the increasing complexity of the products. The decision to order Preactor was taken in 2007 and it is now operational at Le Trait, in the UK, in Brazil and Malaysia.

This is just part of a complete overhaul of the information systems in Technip including:

  • ERP (during installation)
  • Preactor – Planning and Scheduling
  • CHAMELEON – Quotation configurator for the generation of estimates
  • ENNOV – Quality Management
  • Other applications developed by TECHNIP.

The specifications for the Planning & Scheduling was pushed up voluntarily to measure the solution’s ability to meet the requirements of Technip. Sixty-two criteria have been identified since the solution’s ability to meet business requirements, taking into account all the constraints, simulate, etc. The Preactor project started in December 2007. Preactor has considered 60 of the 62 criteria knowing that the remaining two criteria have been abandoned by TECHNIP meantime. Preactor covers 100% of the needs of TECHNIP, this project has been successful.


  • The functional specification generated was very thorough and detailed including the integration with other Technip applications. The capital requirement and return on investment was based on Technip being able to carry out simulations that enabled reliable delivery dates to be given to potential customers;
  • The project was carried out by all affected teams in the Group, from management to planning as well as production line teams. The Planning is the lifeblood of the Group;
  • One project leader who was also responsible for functional requirements;
  • Good control of the integration of all information systems at FLEXI FRANCE;
  • Excellent interaction between the Pre-sales teams of both Segula and Preactor, who were part of the implementation team,
  • The availability of a proof of concept solution before the final decision was made;
  • The International presence of Preactor;
  • Regular meetings with Preactor International HQ.

Between 2004 and 2009, the sales turnover of TECHNIP was multiplied by 2.5. Machine utilization increased by 170% on a quarterly basis. Purchasing time has been halved. Enrollment increased by almost a third but its provision is now controlled. In 5 years, Technip has increased its turnover threefold and has been able to meet its customer deadlines.

FLEXI FRANCE is now positioned on Fast tracks (orders with short times). The resources are managed in detail (equipment, reels, etc…). The planning department is now able to anticipate problems before they occur. A very strong “planning” culture is now at the center of the organization. Plans are generated in ten seconds where it took several hours previously at a preliminary meeting every morning which allows the teams to concentrate on other tasks. This time advantage allows the planners to now concentrate on the activity “Win It.”

“This project was a true in-house success. The personnel now realize the power of Preactor. We chose to initially implement planning before the ERP which shows our strong planning culture,” stated Bruno BELLET.

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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