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PROJECT FLOW at LECTRA - Optimizing the Operational Supply Chain
June 2012
THE COMPANY
Lectra is the world leader in integrated technology solutions - software, cutting systems and associated services - dedicated to industrial users of textiles, leather, industrial fabrics and composite materials.

Lectra develops and markets a complete range to automate, streamline and accelerate product design, development, manufacturing and product management of its customers. This offer is specific to each global sectorial market served by Lectra including fashion (clothing, accessories, footwear), automotive (car seats and interiors, airbags), furniture, and other industries such as aerospace, water sports, wind turbines and protective equipment for people.

Lectra has more than 23,000 customers located in over 100 countries. Established in 1973 and based in France, Lectra has a workforce of 1,350 people, and had €206m in revenues in 2011. The company is listed on NYSE Euronext.

Lectra's worldwide headquarters is located in Paris. The Bordeaux-Cestas site carries out production and R & D in a 27,000 sq.m site. Lectra also has 31 subsidiaries around the world.

PRODUCTION
There are 170 people involved in production (purchasing, technical data, assembly, logistics and quality) working in a plant of 4,500 sq.m.  The Industrial Division covers two main activities: systems assembly and sale of spare parts and consumables.

Assembly systems:
Annual production is carried out on 400 cutters, 100 spreaders and 500 plotters. 3500 tons of material is shipped annually to over 100 countries.  The service rate is 100%.

Sale of spare parts and consumables:
A distribution warehouse logistics platform is located in Cestas. 10,000 references are required to maintain the installed base of 6,500 cutting systems and 17,000 plotters. The service rate is 97%.

Lectra does not manufacture parts but carries out the assembly using suppliers all over France. There are 270 suppliers of subassemblies and pre-assemblies, with 50% in a 250 km radius around the plant to obtain better responsiveness.  Manufacturing cycles are very short and consist of two major phases: assembly and final test. For example a cutting solution Vector FX ® assembly takes 3 days and 3 days of testing, while a plotter takes one and a half days for assembly and test. It is an assembly to order operation (ATO) and the average lead time is 3 weeks.

HISTORY
In 2007, the company moved from using QAD’s MFGPRO CAPM to Oracle Production. Several people in the workshop were responsible to coordinate production which was done manually.  There was no real schedule. They realized that the system was insufficient and disconnected from the information system.

In 2008 Cell Production Management (3 people + 1 Leader) was introduced to separate the creation and flow of the workshop.  The goal was to make what the workshop needed, with the creation of subsets of processes to assist the creation of a schedule.  Information (routes & BOM) was received from Oracle but Excel was used to provide a common tool for all production managers.

A great deal of time was spent making the schedule.  There were up to 7 levels of classification (BOM) on the machines, 40 to 60 people in the workshop according to the load, and 2,000 items in production. In addition, there was no uniform tool for handling requests for supplies.  Two different sources of information were used with the desire to have a single tool.  The primary focus was to deliver on time.  In the end, shortening the Supply Chain solved a lot of problems.

THE SCHEDULING PROJECT
Sébastien Barrot, Supply Chain Manager, explains. "It had been decided to implement a scheduling solution for the Cestas site to replace the existing methods of manual scheduling.  The need to take into account a multitude of information such as 6 - 7 levels of BOM, routes, projected supplies, inventory, hardware capabilities, human resources capabilities in the workshop, priorities, etc had made manual scheduling too complicated".

The initial objective of the project was focused on scheduling (manage orders and plan with an automated solution) and CAPM (increase productivity and substitute quantitative work by the qualitative work primarily on the schedule). The goal was to quickly install a production schedule solution taking into account the necessary data and present largely in Oracle and better manage priorities in the workshop.

The project was started in early 2010.  There was a great work needed to model the constraints as the production flow was very complex.   By mid-2010, following a pilot project, Lectra realized that scheduling could not solve their problems alone.  It needed also to solve the problems of materials used, missing materials and better manage material flows and priorities.

The project evolved into the Preactor Flow project; optimizing the Operational Supply Chain and linking together all stakeholders such as suppliers, supplies, manufacturing management, stores, manufacturing, planning and expediting.
Two lines of work were then defined:
  • Establish priorities from a single repository: Preactor
  • Establish productive tools stemming from Preactor to carry more load with less effort.

Lectra has defined various steps necessary to achieve its objectives:
  • Creation of work orders from a list created by Preactor.
  • Automatic detection of missing materials (a "Missing List" file was generated every morning over a schedule horizon of 2-3 months which highlighted shortages).
  • Create a production schedule that pulls information from ERP and constraints of the workshop (a theoretical schedule out every morning, the result updated to Oracle every night).
  • Better management of manufacturing skills through formal support to be able to develop these skills as required.
  • Allow the store to operate independently to supply materials for work orders (who/when/where), and to release this unnecessary burden from manufacturing management.
  • Faster response time to requests for AMCO and uniformly feasibility analysis of MPS (by product lines).
  • Anticipate and respond to problems faster (resource problem, supplies ...).

RESULTS
  • Kanban Management using the scheduling system for manufactured sub-assemblies based on the versatility of operators
  • Help in work orders management both MTO and MTS products - creating a detailed schedule with order priorities.
  • Synchronization of the upstream supply chain: suppliers, purchasers, control, shopping.
  • Optimize the scheduling of operators and not machines taking into account the specific attributes of Lectra resources (location, tools, operator skills). Weekly saving of 25 working hours.
  • List of critical supplies automatically generated within a single medium - 20 hours per week saved for comprehensive support.
  • Automatic archiving of supply issues to get the list of critical suppliers to work with them in depth to streamline the supply chain.
  • Fewer emails through online priorities for all.
Sébastien Barrot concluded. "Our continuous improvement project is still ongoing. We continue to expand our tools to increase efficiency.  We have implemented a simple but complex modeling, documented in detail with the IT Management, for simple control. In the end, the project was longer than expected, it took time ... but finally what a result!”Lectra is the world leader in integrated technology solutions - software, cutting systems and associated services - dedicated to industrial users of textiles, leather, industrial fabrics and composite materials.

® Vector est une marque déposée par Lectra.