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Preactor provides the wind of change in efficiency with Grupo Tornado
March 2013
With more than 30 years in the Argentine market, Grupo Tornado S.A. manufactures and markets components for pneumatic equipment and similar items under the Intor® brand.

Its line of products includes ISO-VDMA standard cylinders, mini cylinders, solenoid valves, manual valves and mechanical air handling equipment (FRL), automatic connectors, quick couplings, pipes and special developments.

The main plant is located in Basavilbaso, in the province of Entre Rios, while the commercial office, technical office and warehouse are in the city of Buenos Aires. Grupo Tornado’s policy has been focused from the beginning on management that insists on continuous quality improvement. The management invests heavily in training and commitment of its staff in the areas of quality, reliability and affordability.

The continuous introduction of new products that offer technological innovation accessible to all is aimed at meeting the needs of SMEs.

THE CHALLENGE
Companies that are under pressure to cut inventory levels to reduce costs, yet still be able to respond to shorter lead times to satisfy customer demand, need a dynamic scheduling tool to make better decisions, especially when unpredictable events happen, such as breakdowns, demand changes, material delays and so on. This was part of the challenge experienced by Grupo Tornado.

To meet that challenge, the company was looking for something that could help it to maximise the use of its 32 resources (working two shifts per day) and minimize delays on production of about 150 intermediate products that feed about 50 final products per month. Each final or intermediate product involves one to six operations.

Mr Osvaldo Brunstein, President of Grupo Tornado, explains their needs:  "We use our own in-house management system with MRP, but we had problems with production scheduling.  We knew we needed software that uses a Gantt chart to help us schedule the operations on the plant floor. We went to FIMAQH 2010, an international trade fair for machine goods, and in a technical magazine review we found Preactor. After a little research on its functionality we knew that we had found what we needed."

THE SOLUTION
Grupo Tornado representatives contacted SIMLog S.A., a Preactor Silver Solution Provider based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to confirm if Preactor could deal with their problems and deliver the results they were expecting. At the same time, although they were excited about the idea of having Preactor, they were also worried whether they could afford it.

"As Grupo Tornado is an SME we knew that we had to deeply understand their needs to offer the right version in terms of features and also something they could afford,” explains Enrique Wojnacki, commercial director of SIMLog S.A.

“As Preactor is a family of products that uses the same core code to provide solutions for small, medium and large companies, it was easy for us to assess their requirements and choose Preactor 200 FCS, the entry level product, to start the project. In the future, they can upgrade the system if additional features are required,” commented Enrique.

In terms of how to deploy the project, SIMLog had to be creative and worked with the customer to find a good strategy that would demand minimum intervention from a SIMLog consultant.

Grupo Tornado staff then attended the Preactor user training provided by SIMLog and after that started to model their own solution based on a configuration supplied by SIMLog to define what they would use and how.

Once they had completed that step SIMLog was invited to validate their model, suggest improvements, and support them to create the integration required between Preactor and their in-house MRP system.

This took about 40 days in total during the months of June and July 2011, but fewer than 10 days were spent with SIMLog consultants.
Mr Gabriel Brunstein, IT Manager for Grupo Tornado and developer of their in-house manufacturing system, comments on the installation of Preactor and the development of their interfaces:
"Our company has a manufacturing system with a very functional production module, but we needed a complementary tool to allow us to schedule the production plant with all the events and setbacks inherent in day-to-day operation, and to optimize the use of our resources. Working with SIMLog, we implemented the necessary interfaces in our system and started using Preactor after only a few days."

Today Grupo Tornado is using Preactor to schedule its plant operation in Basavilbaso.

RESULTS
We asked Mr Ari Brunstein, in charge of Engineering and Development in Grupo Tornado, to tell us about ‘before and after Preactor’:
"Right now in Argentina, the main challenge we have is to use human resources efficiently, since in our cost structure this has a high impact. Shortly after having implemented Preactor, we noticed enhanced productivity and an immediate improvement in meeting delivery commitments."

Mr Osvaldo Brunstein, President of Grupo Tornado, added: "We can see a lot of opportunities once we have achieved the full potential of Preactor. We are continually adjusting the model as it allows us to quickly detect and correct deficiencies in the way we work. We had a very big productivity problem averaging at less than 40% of the available man-hours. In the first month after Preactor implementation, productivity rose to 50%, and the surprise was in the second month, when it jumped to 67%. Our goal now is to reach 80% and I believe that with more experience and adjusting some details we will reach it. With the savings that we are generating in set-up times, visibility of future activity of the plant, and almost instant rescheduling, we hope soon to reap the additional benefits from the next step, Preactor 300 FCS, which will allow us to, among other things, program operations taking into account additional constraints. I can add that the implementation was very simple for us."

Enrique Wojnacki from SIMLog sums up:  "We are proud of this implementation, the first one using this approach, where the customer provides the majority of the resources. We plan to replicate the experience achieved with Grupo Tornado with other companies of a similar size in the fabricated metals and automotive components sectors, as well as other SMEs."