How do you manage scheduling while adding products and complexity?

By Lisa Langley

Grupo Tigre is a Brazilian manufacturer of plastic materials for construction sites. They produce approximately 4,500 products and rely on many variables that are complex to manage including alternative molds, labor constraints, limitations with exchange teams (setups), raw material requirements and components. Without the appropriate software, sequencing production is very time-consuming.

They needed to be able to manage a vast amount of products and move away from time-consuming and cost-prohibitive manual order creation so they aligned with NEO, a recognized Smart Expert solution partner specializing in Siemens Digital Industries Software Opcenter™ Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS). The goal was to use Opcenter APS to improve schedules, reduce work in process, optimize setups and provide dynamic materials analysis.

One of NEO’s competitive advantages is their team of technical and consulting experts that include industrial engineers and computing and automation engineers. The combined competencies from these groups enable NEO to go deep in the technical aspects, and as consultants, design better solutions. As a result, the typical outcome is very adherent solution with a good understanding of the issue.

“The solutions we offer are not just plug and play, train the users and it’s over. APS is a very complex subject and fortunately Opcenter is very flexible, giving us the chance to explore its limits and our creativity to deliver good solutions. And the challenge is to make simple something that comes as complicated.”

Marcel Meyer, Managing Director at NEO

Through close and long-term relationships with their customers, NEO helps companies end their addiction to Excel and manual scheduling and evolve to digitalizing processes. Using Opcenter APS, they customize the software to meet the needs of individual customers to optimize production, keeping a relationship long after implementation and training to ensure the best solutions can be updated and delivered as needs grow and change.

Personalizing APS

Grupo Tigre now uses Opcenter APS weekly to schedule production in order to optimize the resources available and to keep up with demand for their pipe and fitting products. To address the complexity of the combinations of machines and molds, NEO developed a personalized scheduling rule to automate and generate more accurate plans. While general advanced planning and scheduling is very complex, Opcenter APS is very flexible and allows NEO’s team of experienced industrial engineers and computing and automation engineers to create and deliver solutions specific to the customer.

The specific algorithm NEO implemented for Grupo Tigre leveraged the power and flexibility of the Opcenter APS to minimize mold changes and balance resources to create a uniform loading of the machines.

Increasing schedule adherence while decreasing inventory

Grupo Tigre’s production orders are now automatically created in SAP® enterprise resource planning (ERP) software while their schedule adherence nearly doubled to 95 percent and inventory reduced by nearly 50 percent. Opcenter APS allows for more transparency to understand what is going on in the manufacturing plants. Supply managers can now see a weekly status report of material shortages, their schedules are more productive, and they have more data available to accommodate better insights and decision-making.

Grupo Tigre continues to rely heavily on NEO and Opcenter APS, with a goal of standardizing the scheduling process throughout all their international facilities and bring the best practices that they find to all the plants.

Read the full case study about NEO’s implementation and results with Grupo Tigre

Marcel Meyer is one of the co-founders of NEO and is an APICS CPIM certified. With an academic background of Industrial Engineering with double-degree on Supply Chain Engineering in France, he has experience on dozens of Opcenter APS implementations and helps companies to digitalize their supply chain processes. NEO is a Siemens Smart Expert partner in Brazil with a specialization in Opcenter APS. As a consultancy company, they have extensive experience in production planning and scheduling.

Contributors: Mollie Gladden and Maggie Korte are market research Co-Ops at Siemens Digital Industries Software studying Marketing at the University of Cincinnati.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at