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Sharpening Delivery Promises at Grinding Techniques
March 2007

Grinding TechniquesGrinding Techniques is a leading manufacturer of a wide range of Abrasive products, situated near Johannesburg in South Africa. Grinding Techniques manufactures products for their own brand and under contract for other suppliers. Their products are sold in South Africa and exported around the world.

The manufacturing process requires the mixing of the appropriate raw materials and then pressing the mixture with the required components into the appropriate form, size and thickness. Products can be produced on alternate presses at different process speeds, complicating the planning and scheduling task.

The production order mix at Grinding Techniques contains both make-to-stock and make-to-order orders at any point in time. They faced a problem in that they were having difficulty in providing delivery dates to customers when making-to-order. They realized that they had reached the limits of their manual system and needed an automated mechanism that would enable them to make valid delivery date promises and evaluate the impact of new orders on existing orders, if earlier due dates were promised.

While considering a number of alternatives their attention was drawn to Preactor as a possible solution to their problem.   William Bezuidenhout, a company Director, commented.  “I was immediately struck by the visual nature of Preactor in comparison to other solutions we had considered.”

After presentation to the production management team by Scheduling Solutions, a Preactor Solution Provider based in Johannesburg, it was decided that they would purchase and implement a Preactor 400 APS version of the software. Scheduling Solutions then worked with Grinding Techniques and their ERP solution provider to develop the necessary interfaces between Preactor and the Navision ERP system used by Grinding Techniques.

Grinding TechniquesOnce the interfaces mechanism had been developed it was a quick process to start scheduling the Grinding Technique production orders in March 2006.  By December 2006, Grinding Techniques has noticed a considerable improvement in customer service, improved inter departmental co-ordination and an increase in productivity as a result of being able to combine production runs of similar products to minimize setup downtimes, as a result of the visibility provided by Preactor. All of these benefits have been achieved with considerably less scheduling effort than required by the previous manual methods used.

Chris Mollison, Managing Director of Scheduling Solutions talked about working with William’s company.   “It is a pleasure to work with companies like Grinding Techniques, who are not scared to embrace new technology and it gives us great satisfaction to see how they have used Preactor to achieve significant business benefits.”

And the future?  William Bezuidenhout again.  “We are very satisfied with their current use of Preactor and as a result will be expanding it to include other areas of the business in 2007”.