With representation in every continent, Susin Francescutti Metalúrgica S/A is a leading manufacturer of crankshafts and camshafts for the automotive sector. Since its founding in 1954 it has been providing its products to many of the largest truck and car manufacturers around the world.
The requirement for high precision and quality, inherent in camshaft and crankshaft production, drives the company toward excellence. For this reason, Susin Francescutti achieved ISO 9001 certification almost 10 years ago.
The main challenge to the company is to balance finished stock to meet delivery deadlines while reducing leadtime and work-in-process.
However their attempts to use spreadsheets to meet this challenge was found to be inefficient and time consuming. It was impossible for the user to use spreadsheets to manage and analyze priorities. What was required was a tool that could provide improvements in a global view of the production system taking into account that resource optimization must be done using sequence dependent time setup matrices, as well as manage the capacity of furnaces, and splitting production lots to achieve a feasible and optimal schedule. These constraints needed to be considered aligned with the manufacturing strategy of the company.
For this task, Susin Francescutti chose ACCERA Supply Chain Solutions as the provider and Preactor as the technology. The track record of ACCERA in implementing Preactor in other complex manufacturing environments was a key element in their choice.
The implementation mainly involved the Production Planning and IT teams, with input from other staff in Sales, Production and Purchasing areas. To understand all the operational details ACCERA consultants, together with Susin Francescutti, performed a detailed analysis of the manufacturing process and information systems. This led to the input of parameters and operational tests on a Preactor pilot model.
Once this was completed a new flow of information was proposed, beginning with the entry of orders into the EMS Datasul ERP system, which then generates the production orders and product routes to Preactor APS. Inside the APS, customized data processing routines culminate in the generation of a scenario that represents the reality of the production process in Susin Francescutti and provides a mechanism for fast simulation of the different scenarios to be tested by the user.
After generating the best scenario, the work-to-lists are distributed to each of the resources in the plant. Once in production, some strategic resources inside each production line are equipped with data readers dedicated to collecting information about each Production Order. Not all resources are controlled; some can be automatically updated from later operations. This data is then fed back to the Preactor schedule. This highlights any change or deviation from the original schedule plan which can then be adjusted accordingly.
The project took around seventeen weeks to complete with regular follow-ups in subsequent months. A single Preactor 300 FCS was was sufficient to fully meet all the needs of the company.
According to Maher Benetti, Preactor Key User, "Preactor has allowed us to see the factory as a big picture. Before we took the decision analyzing machine to machine, operation by operation, but we were sure that was not the right way, because our work in process was huge. With Preactor, we can increase production and simultaneously reduced the number of machines, manpower and process variability. Better understanding of the process even encouraged important changes in factory layout and lot sizes."
The revision of the ideal lot sizes helped build a smoother flow of production, improving the organization and logistics of the factory. The company estimates a 15% reduction in Work-In-Process. The lead time was also significantly reduced. A product that previously took about 20 days to be produced today can be produced and delivered within 12 days. The delivery due dates was one of the greatest benefits, with improvements of more than 50% in performance.
With Preactor, it was possible to achieve higher production rates with lower manpower; it is estimated a 25% gain in productivity! With the intelligent use of resources and improvements made from the better sequencing and lot sizing Susin Francescutti could make better use of space and turn off old machines. This contributed to a 30% reduction in working space.
The next step is to improve control over the factory floor. The plan is to use the data collection in real time and publish the schedule to the factory through an LCD monitor.