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UAB Vytrolma uses Preactor to expand and improve production
July 2015
UAB Vytrolma, based in Utena, Lithuania, specializes in manufacturing of high quality products from sheet steel for building and construction industry. UAB Vytrolma's products are supplied to Customers in Lithuania and other European Union countries. Products for individual construction can be purchased in many Lithuanian building materials stores and all major building materials trading networks.

Products that are made from sheet steel in UAB Vytrolma’s portfolio include: metal cassettes for facades, galvanized steel profiles for building insulation system, roof safety products and accessories, electrical cabinets and postboxes.

UAB Vytrolma was established in 1994 and over the years was recognized as one of the best working and fastest growing companies in Lithuania by "Business News" newspaper, taking into account small and medium businesses.

Key challenges

One of the key challenges that have an impact on production planning process is the scale of manufacturing operations. UAB Vytrolma needs to plan approximately 4000 work orders per month that would include operations for 40 machines with more than 100 operators that are involved in the manufacturing process.

The manufacturing process in UAB Vytrolma involves many stages of producing details and sub products with multiple operations, in different combinations, to achieve final product in assembly. For example, the process of producing post boxes would include laser cutting, punching, different types of bending, welding, powder coating and final assembly.

The diagram below shows some of the combinations that need to be taken into account when preparing order data and a production plan for post-boxes:




To add to the complexity of planning operations, similar models, or the same models in different colors, may partially consist of the same parts. If at the same time UAB Vytrolma's Customers require similar models, details that are included in both models need to be grouped for greater profitability.

Consequently, it is important for UAB  Vytrolma in its planning process to know the sequence of production for the every detail and sub-products, in order to maximize the utilization  of equipment, minimize waiting time, and produce its products in time according to Customers’ requirements.

Before Preactor, the planning process was dependant on Excel spreadsheets and was carried out by analyzing remaining capacity per product in weekly buckets. But it did not provide enough visibility for order sequencing and for identifying bottlenecks in the production process.

Implementation project

Preactor APS 400 was delivered and implemented as a result of collaborative project between two Preactor partners: Columbus Lithuania and Prętczyński Ltd., Preactor Silver Solution Provider. Implementation was completed in under six months.

One of the key elements of this implementation was the seamless integration between Preactor APS 400 system and Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 ERP system used by UAB Vytrolma. A Preactor configuration with custom Preactor/AX interface was developed by Prętczyński Ltd in order to provide data exchange between both systems. Preactor receives data from Microsoft Dynamics AX concerning resources, alternative resources in resource groups, groups of operators assigned to operations, work orders with routing information, production updates with quantity completed, bill of material, sales orders, stock and purchase orders.

One of additional modifications to the Preactor system included custom APS scheduling rule. First Priority and Due Date for work orders on the final assembly level would be assigned to all work orders on lower levels of Bill of Material that are connected to that final assembly. Then work orders would be scheduled based on Priority, Due Date and preferred sequence that would minimize the setup time.

Additional custom Excel reports were deployed to better distribute production schedule within organization and this included orders data for Finish Goods with due date performance, production plan, information on shortages and pegging between work orders and materials.

At the end of 2014, Microsoft Dynamics AX was upgraded to version 2012 and some additional functions were implemented, such as receiving pegging information directly from Microsoft Dynamics AX system, instead of using standard material control function in Preactor,  so work orders are linked together exactly in the same way as in ERP.

Preactor’s ability to link work orders together is critical in order to plan the production process for final assembly and sub-products accordingly:


 
Benefits achieved

Aleksandr Žickov, Manufacturing Engineer responsible for Production Scheduling in UAB Vytrolma, comments on benefits achieved from the Preactor implementation and new process of planning:

With Preactor we can see weekly utilization for each machine and according to the production plan we can identify the bottlenecks. The bottleneck might be an operation or machine that will limit the capacity of the entire production process.

With this visibility we can plan ahead for our human resources and/or use subcontracting to produce all orders in time.

Since we have started to use Preactor, we expanded our product line with new products and we have more machines. Now it would be impossible to make the production plan just by using Excel spreadsheets.

After 5 months from implementation, the planning accuracy has improved by 25 percent and product manufacturing time has decreased by 30 percent.