Preactor and Factory Viewer Get Seal of Approval From Hoerbiger

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APS, MES and ERP prove enabling technologies for Lean Manufacturing

Preactor International

Hoerbiger has seen an increase in productivity of over 20% without increases in human or plant resources.

The Preactor Group, a leading provider of Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) solutions for over 18 years, today announced an impressive range of business performance benefits at the Pompano Beach manufacturing facility of Hoerbiger. In addition to complete, real time visibility and improved strategic and tactical decision making, Hoerbiger has seen an increase in productivity of over 20% without increase in human or plant resources.

From humble origins in 1894 Vienna, Hoerbiger has grown to become a leading player in the fields of compression technology, automation technology and drive technology employing a global workforce of 7,600 and achieving sales of 950 million euro. Paul Mittendorff is Director of Manufacturing Systems at the Pompano Beach site and he outlines why accurate planning and scheduling is so critical to the company. “In school 92% success is considered grade ‘A’ – in our business 99% is considered a Fail. Success therefore requires complete visibility of not just what order is where, but whether each order including all of its sub-components is on schedule or not.”

The company’s approach is all individual components which can be sold separately or used in complete products are Made to Stock while all complete, fully assembled products are Make to Order (MTO) with 75% of orders being fully assembled products. 60-70% of orders come from just a handful of Hoerbiger’s largest customers with the largest customer enjoying a custom In-Sync arrangement which automatically accepts electronic orders with a commitment to fulfilling these in 3 weeks instead of the company’s standard 4-5 week lead time. The company also has a 'Rapid Response' program where it can manufacture and ship most any of its products in 24 to 48 hours direct to any customer’s site.

Prior to investing in Preactor the company was reliant on its Materials Resource Planning (MRP) system for detailed planning and scheduling but the sheer scale of handling an average of 1000 live work orders on the shop at any time, each of which can have up to 10 components requiring 10 operations, made this impossible. Mittendorff recognized the lack of visibility of the plan and the inability to update it could be resolved by a dedicated, powerful yet flexible APS solution running in conjunction with an agile MES system. Working with Florida based Lean Scheduling International (LSI), a leading North American Preactor partner, a highly successful test was carried out in a small production cell which saw the cell’s late list reduced from 30 pages to zero.

This was followed by a year of unsuccessfully investigating a more manual pull approach to Lean Manufacturing. “We moved to a pull system trying to fix 8 hour buckets of ‘work’ across the plant. But 8 hours of saw operation time does not correspond to 8 hours of lathe time or 8 hours of milling time. Not only did we end up with huge bottlenecks and resources standing idle, components were not being made in the right sequence therefore they were not being completed when they were expected and required.”

Armed with the earlier proof that Preactor and Factory Viewer could help deliver the results required, management again tasked Mittendorff with implementing these systems. But this time the implementation would cover all the machining resources of the plant and it would be tied into the company’s new SAP systems. Given his prior positive experience of working with Lean Scheduling International, Mike Liddell and team were once again brought in to help.
In terms of system flow, all orders are now entered in SAP which contains all the relevant product process times and routing information. This is then passed to Preactor which handles the detailed capacity scheduling determining on which machines to most efficiently run each operation and which production sequence achieves the best results. Resulting detailed ‘work-to’ information is then presented to each resource on the factory floor by the Factory Viewer system whereby operators only see the current live jobs they are scheduled to be working on. The operators record via Factory Viewer when set-up time starts, when the actual process starts and when it ends. This information is sent back into SAP as well as Preactor which updates the schedule accordingly. The use of Factory Viewer closes the loop by providing real time data acquisition, order visibility and the feedback to Preactor to allow for schedule changes necessitated by events on the factory floor.

Even looking from a systemic viewpoint, the benefits are clear. Hoerbiger now has complete, real-time visibility of what order is where, and whether the actual schedule is in line with demand. Mittendorff says, “Now, as soon as a problem or any variance occurs, we can see it immediately and take whatever steps are required to ensure that we get the order back on track so all components required to complete any given order become available on time.” He continues, “In addition to information, what Preactor and Factory Viewer also give us are options. We can see very clearly how product mix affects our capacity and we can make short and long term decisions to stretch our capacity in areas that would yield the best results for us to be on time to our customers.”

As a result of better prioritizing and sequencing of jobs on the schedule, Hoerbiger has seen an increase in productivity of over 20% without increases in human or plant resources. The information that Preactor and Factory Viewer generate provides an overall additional layer of Business Intelligence that filters into the rest of the company. “For example, we can look ahead on the schedule and see accurately when we might need to sub-contract work out if we’re potentially going to overload an internal resource.”

And as for the future, Mittendorff is convinced there is much more to come from Preactor and Factory Viewer and the company has short and medium term plans to expand their use into other parts of the plant and also into other Hoerbiger plants. Preactor CEO Mike Novels comments on the successful implementation. “Hoerbiger is a classic example of a manufacturer than has a genuine need to be Lean but can only best achieve this with the right combination of manufacturing IT. In this case the combination of Preactor APS, Factory Viewer MES and SAP ERP now all work seamlessly to enable Hoerbiger to meet not just its current business challenges but also those of the future.”

About Preactor International
Preactor International is a world leader in production planning and scheduling software used by a wide range of businesses. Frequently integrated with ERP, MES and Supply Chain Management solutions, Preactor’s breakthrough technology is used by more than 3500 small, medium and large multinational companies located in 68 countries. Preactor has established partnerships with more than 400 companies located around the world to provide local expertise to support the implementation of the solution for each company. These 1000+ accredited professionals offer a key resource working closely with users to ensure each company’s unique requirements are met. The current trends in manufacturing are towards lowering inventory levels to reduce costs yet still be able to respond to shorter lead times to satisfy customer demand. Preactor offers a family of applications ranging from mid and long term capacity planning to detail scheduling and is translated into 30 languages. Preactor runs on industry standard hardware, operating systems and databases. Preactor International has long been a Microsoft Gold Partner and certifies its products for use on Microsoft platforms and databases. It uses the latest technology to develop its applications and typically offers at least one major release each year. With 20 years of expertise in production planning and scheduling technology, 3500 companies as users, more than 10,000 licenses installed and an extensive partner network offering local expertise and support, Preactor International offers global companies with a proven solution and the global resources for the execution of multinational projects.

About Lean Scheduling International
Lean Scheduling International (LSI) was formed to provide products and services to manufacturers who want to implement APS software solutions to become faster, smarter and leaner. Senior partners Mike Liddell and Dan Hahn have over 30 years dedicated exclusively to helping manufacturers develop and implement APS solutions. With offices in Bradenton Florida and Slovenia and a network of partners in 67 countries, LSI is strategically positioned to address your needs locally or internationally.

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