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May 2012
Air Liquide Medical Systems is a subsidiary of the Air Liquide Group, world leader in supplying gases for industry, health and the environment. For more than 35 years, Air Liquide Medical Systems have been designing, manufactured and marketed a complete and innovative range of medical devices such as respirators used in emergency transport, resuscitation, and  anesthesia,for patients as well as high and low pressure devices for the distribution and the administration of medical gases to the hospitals.

Air Liquide Medical Systems markets its products in more than 90 countries. 

Its production plants are located on 3 sites in France, Italy and India.

Antony's site assembles respirators, anesthestic equipment and devices for medical gases. Two workshops produce two types of equipment: on one hand devices for medical gases, on the other hand respirators and stations of anesthesia. Time cycle are very different according to the department.

Each manages approximately 400 finished products. Components are delivered to every line via a system of automatic trays. Staff may be qualified, general-purpose and authorized on one or several products.

Olivier Domanico is Supply Chain Manager tells us what the logisticis team did before the implementation of Preactor:

"Each day the team did a manual count of the stock status. We had then had an interface between our ERP and a spreadsheet to get the  firm customer orders, but the forecasts were manually entered because this was developed in another system. We then had to made a series of manual checks on components and orders.  We had no tool to display, simply figures in columns ".

The need to be equipped with an APS tool was clear and a project was started to review requirements. The suppliers with  a model with the data comming from the ERP, and Preactor was selected.

"We have selected Preactor for several reasons ", adds Olivier Domanico. "The most important point was the possibility to have a visual, capable tool to provide information to several locations with the main objective to be able to create a  schedule which gave us increased customer service while decreasing stock levels".

Every night the ERP system sends information to the GMPS module, which works in a automatic way and generates proposals of work orders and purchase orders for suppliers.  This data is then passed to the APS which updates the schedule in every opening and goes back up the distances with the previous schedule.

Once a week, Olivier Domanico gathers both Foremen, the Logistic Person in charge and the Person in charge of Sales Administration around Preactor, to bring the last adjustments to the schedule and validate it.

The weekly schedule is then distributed to the operators, but leaves them a certain amount of autonomy in their work.

In the configuration of Preactor, production lines were defined as primary resources, and the operators as secondary resources. To take into account the capabilities and authorizations of the operators, a matrix of skills was created.

Preactor is at the moment the only tool used by the logistic department to place the orders with the suppliers. It is a collaborative, shared and accessible tool by all today to organize at the same time the firm and projected orders, to produce as much as possible.

The tool is settled in production for 4 months.

The first major benefit was to be able to display the schedule in the form of Gantt chart. With more time available the logistic staff were able to interact quickly with workshops, which gave a second undeniable benefit.

With Preactor, the logistics staff also have access to the data and to the calculations of the whole team, which helps when one of them is absent.

The first results show that Preactor allowed to make increase the rate of customer service of about 8 points. The operators also noticed a reduction in breaks in production.

The teams are going to continue to go back up the information to collect more data and measure more exactly the advantages of the Preactor system.

Olivier Domanico again.  " We intend to give to the commercial team access to the schedule in Viewer mode.  The sales force can then follow more easily the progress of their customer orders".

New lines are going to be modelled in Preactor.  "We also asked Preactor for a customization of the GMPS. On certain key components, we wish to have a choice between several suppliers. The GMPS will be able to suggest which one to use based on history and the volume of orders already placed".