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Royal Sens labels Preactor a success in managing its complex operational requirements across its Supply Chain
May 2012
Royal Sens was founded in 1896 and has its routes in the packaging industry.  It focusses  primarily on the production of paper and synthetic labels, printing, cutting, and punching being the main processes. It has two plants in the Netherlands, in Enschede and the other in Rotterdam, which is also their headquarters. They also have a sales offices in Wittlich,  Germany and in total have around 180 employees.

MISSION & STRATEGY
Royal Sens differentiates itself from its competitors through its marketing strategy which is based upon a pure factory approach and how this is executed consequently. It positions itself as a kind of  integrated subcontractor in which their labels are an integral part of their customers’ core production process. As a result of this approach they can perfectly fit and adapt to their clients’  unique requirements and react to issues unique in this type of production environment.

Visibility in production planning and control are critical to its success and are key-drivers to obtaining a strict and formal process to provide the service that its demanding customers want with short delivery times.  Its competitors focus on other perspectives and this enables Royal Sens to be in the leading quadrant in their market giving them direct access to the top accounts in available to them.

Jan Peter Klijn, the IT Manager at Royal Sens, explains. “Our primary strategy is to deliver the best quality product without compromise.  We do not compete purely on price”.

 

CHOOSING A SOLUTION
Royal Sens has, on basis of their specific requirements  and processes, chosen to build a bespoke ERP system. The package, "Common Sens", is based on Delphi and MS SQL Server technology. Due to an increased demand, shortened lead times and the need for more more flexibility in production planning it became obvious that they needed an automated production planning solution.

Royal Sens realised that the current tools could not cope with the required control and conditions within the planning cycle, so they started to look for a specialised advanced planning system.

A specification was generated based on Royal Sens pre-requisites and to the following more generic requirements:
  1. To provide a plan taking into account the required sequence for example during the print process drying periods between the print and cutting stage and also including colour changes.
  2. To have the capability to connect to their ERP system (passing data to from the scheduling tool), but not fully integrated!
  3. Not fully integrated but connected especially to avoid automatic system changes due to process or priority changes without management intervention.

On top of this, Royal Sens added two very specific and unique requirements:
  1. Inclusion of specific items / steps during the production of different type of labels.
  2. The identification and handling of production steps unique to a one plant, such as for example the printing of plastic film or usage of roll-labels.

The selection process started with several potential suppliers who were able to provide the functionality to fit the above requirements on basis of their solution/packages. The first selection, executed by Royal Sens themselves, with lead to a selection of two suppliers:-
  • Ortec with the Planwise solution and
  • Evologics with Preactor solution.

Both suppliers were asked to give a demo so that Royal Sens could make their final decision based on the outcome and findings. The ultimate choice in favour of Preactor was explained by the Royal Sens organisation on basis of the following:
  1. Preactor with respect to the package/solution part (Product)
    • Preactor without customisation had an almost 100% fit with the Royal Sens requirements. The only customisation required was related to the connection to legacy system.
    • Preactor as a standard solution had proven itself many times and therefore guaranteed the required reliability and continuity.  For instance some of the specific data elements were already pre-built in the package as such did not need to define them or manually enter them into the system.
    • All specific desired and required functionality appeared to be readily available in the standard package.
  2. Preactor with respect to the supplier part (Evologics)
    • The contents and process knowledge of the supplier of Preactor in the Netherlands was so high that this was one of the main arguments to choose this solution.
    • The critical attitude of the supplier with respect to the requirements and the way they were addressed and handled during the demo was very impressive.
    • The excellent process and contents knowledge of the supplier with respect to the specific application and customer requirements was also a key factor in the decision.
IMPLEMENTATION OF PREACTOR AND GO-LIVE
The implementation of the Preactor system took quite some time (including the selection of the package). The most important reasons for this relatively long period of time was twofold:
  1. Royal Sens itself did not have adequate time available through the complete implementation project due to other priorities within the primary operational processes.
  2. The implementation process was split into two steps due to the fact that important  “must have” functionality first needed to be defined. This was predominantly related to specific requirements in the printing and punching of labels. Furthermore it appeared that one of the more complicated funtionalities, related to the management of  capacity of personel, did not need to be implemented in detail until later. Ultimately this was not of the highest priority and was postponed to the second phase. 
At the end of the implementation process the result was a very good functioning system which facilitates the requirements for the future inside the production planning process for a significant part.

One of the crucial pre-requisites for a succesful growth and improvement in the logistics of Royal Sens is achieved and helps the company to be ready for the future.  Preactor has provided a solution to Royal Sens to manage intercompany processes across the plants in Enschede and Rotterdam each of whom have production capacity but sometimes have only one location where specific processes are carried out.  This means that integrated progress control is essential. This complete intercompany process enables - as a consequence of the Preactor functionality - a well managed process working in a flexible way ultimately leading to an improved process in the integrated Supply Chain of Royal Sens.

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WHAT DID PREACTOR BRING TO ROYAL SENS AND WHAT ARE THEIR FUTURE CHALLENGES?
As described above Royal Sens has taken a huge step in the improvement of the quality and the support of the primary production processes by using Preactor. In addition the flexibility within the total planning process has improved and created the capability to look into the future with more confidence and will be able to successfully manage the expected growth and increased customer demand.

The combination of the Royal Sens strategy including the Preactor functionality appear to be a successful winning team!