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Case Study:Inter-Department PlanningCoordination @ Flowlink Systems

Client Overview – Flowlink Systems

Flowlink systems is an Indian company based in Coimbatore, India. They have an annual turnover of INR 900 million (US$22 million) and supplies castes and valves all over South India. Flowlink was a leading manufacturer of castings & valves. But their different departments weren’t able to coordinate their complex production planning efforts.


Flowlink’s Production Workflow

There were essentially three departments involved in production – Foundry, Machine shop and Assembly. The workflow between these teams was linear. Each department waited for the finished good from the previous department.

Production Challenge 1 – Little Coordination Between Teams

To fulfil delivery guarantees, all the departments needed to work together. But the focus had shifted away from customer needs and each department was acting independently For example, the Foundry shop produced without keeping in mind what the machine shop needed. Similarly, the machine shop produced without knowing what the assembly shop needed. Instead of coordination, the “push” concept was applied – each department ended up working on whatever was produced in the last department.

Production Challenge 2 – Most

Production was always WIP mode

Slow planning led to several WIP (work in progress) items between departments. For example, the foundry shop and machine

shop planned their schedules to work on the same order. If foundry shop delivers this item in earlier part of the week, it will lie in WIP as machine shop has planned for this item for a later week. All the un-coordinated planning leads to a lot of wastage between departments

Production Challenge 3 – Constraints

caused order delays

Flowlink had multiple products to balance with multiple departments and multiple processes. All these choices made planning very complex and they were unable to sequence tasks effectively. Due to manufacturing inefficiencies, they were also unable to commit and stick to a delivery date for clients. And when delays happened, they couldn’t predict the exact delay the client would see.

Planvisage’s Solution Overview

To help Flowlink’s production challenges, we implemented the Planvisage Production Planning software.

The main difference with this approach was a Pull-based model. This involved planning production backwards – starting from the orders, tracking the delivery dates and calculating the production schedules for each department.

Solution Data Flow Architecture



Feature 1 – Centralized Planning

By implementing centralized planning, the planning cycles became daily. And so the actual processing time was considerably reduced, by removing unnecessary buffer.

Feature 2 – Inter Department Linkage

The new system started a strong linkage within all departments. Problems in one department were immediately known to other departments & corrective action is taken automatically.

Feature 3 – Reduced Downtime

The better coordination resulted in reducing the resource downtime and improving inventory. So, each department spent less time waiting for the materials.

Feature 4 – Production Execution Tracking

By also monitoring the progress of production, the system forms a closed loop system with planning-execution-planning all handled within one solution Each morning, another plan is run and the capacity is readjusted based on the last day’s production run.

Feature 5 – Maintaining BOM

Flowlink also uses Planvisage graphical user interface to maintain their BOM (bill of materials) Using the drag and drop functionality, the time required for creating a BOM is reduced considerably.

Feature 6 – Problem Visibility

The new system gave visibility to all the problems in the different sub-tasks. And more importantly, it estimated the impact of these problems on the given delivery dates.


Flowlink – Client Testimonial

“Earlier used to spend considerable time in meeting in going over all the customer orders. With Planvisage’s solution, meeting time has reduced as we go over only the delayed or exception orders as pointed out by the solution”

- Mr. Ravi, Marketing Manager, Flowlink


Summary

Flowlink faced a major challenge in coordinating planning between different departments. That problem also manifested in other symptoms like order delays, inability to commit to order dates and inefficiency in the production workflow. By working with Planvisage and implementing its Production Planning software, they have now a very efficient production planning and execution workflow. And as a result of this, they have seen an immediate improvement in delivery and profits



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