Here is how APS implementation can improve planning and simulation operations.
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APS (advanced planning and scheduling) is a group of IT systems that are an extension of ERP (enterprise resource planning). It allows performance planning and simulation operations together with optimization. The Preactor APS scheduling system has been implemented, among others, in GEA Technika Cieplna.
Preactor APS software is a specialized IT system for planning and scheduling production. It allows to:
– precisely model the limitations associated with production processes,
– assist planners in making decisions. The implementation of Preactor APS system in GEA Technika Cieplna was undertaken by DSR company.
GEA Technika Cieplna (a company belonging to the international concern GEA Group AG) specializes in the selection, design and production of heat exchangers, mainly based on elliptical hot dip galvanized finned tubes. The Company has a production area of 14,400 sq. m, and an annual production capacity of approx. 8,500 products.
The company’s activity has been supported by the ERP QAD Enterprise Applications system for years, which helps in accounting and finance, warehouse and material management, as well as production and order processing. GEA also uses a barcode system, which, among other things, ensures the precision of data processing in real time, the convenience of reporting and significantly improves the production process.
Already by the end of the last decade, the need to significantly improve efficiency in the area of production planning, which was related, among other things, to its continuous increase, was stressed. For this purpose, the QAD Configurator application, an IT solution comprehensively supporting unit production, was implemented.
In the following years, in the face of tightening market competition, it was decided to place the greatest emphasis on precision and automation of production planning, and thus, on the proper determination of deadlines for the execution of orders.
In connection with this, cooperation with DSR was established, which five years ago became a representative of QAD on the Polish market (DSR, due to its long-term cooperation with the American software manufacturer, has in its offer solutions that are adapted to work with QAD Enterprise Applications systems). The choice fell on the Preactor APS application, which is to support the operation of the MRP system QAD EA by creating a schedule based on the actual production capacity of the company.
The main objective of the Preactor APS implementation project was to reduce manufacturing costs and increase credibility among customers by creating a solution that will allow the preparation of feasible production plans. Based on the schedules, it will be possible to obtain information on a possible project implementation date. The system will also allow determination of the demand for raw materials and semi-finished products as well as the number of employees needed to implement the production schedule. Ultimately, the plan is such that customers through Preactor APS solution can independently “check” the level of advancement of their orders – commented Jacek Nazgowicz, IT Manager at GEA Technika Cieplna.
APS generates a production schedule that takes into account the availability dates of materials and the capacity of each resource. When creating the schedule, the employees’ availability calendars are also taken into account (from the HR management system) with a breakdown of their skills (welding authorization MIG, MAG, TIG).
In the case of material shortages, the system provides information regarding the required delivery dates of the components. The schedule is generated according to the adopted criteria, such as:
– timeliness of the project,
– the priority of the project,
– the workload of the project,
– analysis of predicted loads on particular resources, groups of resources and production areas (departments),
– analysis of the timeliness of individual projects.
The implementation of the Preactor 500 APS system was preceded by a detailed analysis of the customer’s requirements. As in other implementations of this kind, the key is to create a customized model to reflect the production processes taking place in the company.
In the implementation process, a team of representatives of IT, procurement, development, production preparation and production departments worked on the GEA side. An important element of the activities was to create a proper interface between QAD Enterprise Applications systems and Preactor 500 APS, enabling full cooperation between the systems.
As part of the project, a solution was developed to transform the technology stored in QAD Enterprise Applications into the one used by Preactor, aiming at the most accurate representation of the actual production processes. There were also created reports for the purchasing department allowing to compare the demand resulting from MRP calculations with the demand resulting from the schedule generated by the Preactor 500 APS system.
Immediately after training the users, the company started to use the solution. The production scheduling process has been fully automated, which practically eliminates the risk of downtime resulting from a lack of raw materials. What is most important, almost 100% of the production is delivered on time for the customers.
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