Taking the guesswork out of production planning
SAS helps premium coil coating company attain transparency in production planning
Forecast potential issues and gain a unified view of production
Euramax uses SAS to prevent production delays
“People are just people, and they can overlook things – especially if they are busy or stressed,” says Peter Wijers, ICT and BI Manager at Euramax. “A machine has no stress.”
Euramax is a premium coil coater in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The company produces pre-coated aluminum and steel for applications for recreational vehicles, architecture, transportation and corporate identity design.
The nature of Euramax’s products means that orders often change. New orders get added or the production schedule changes because, for example, a production material is delivered too late. Employees must consider numerous factors influencing the production process and order planning.
“How orders are scheduled depends entirely on what the customer has ordered,” Wijers says. “Because of the many dependencies, it is impossible to chase everything through the machine one after the other. Materials must pass through the machine more slowly or more quickly, be coated more thickly or thinly, or, for example, go through the machine twice.”
Many Euramax employees have years of experience and a great deal of institutional knowledge. “However, even as an expert, it is almost impossible to foresee all the consequences of a decision,” Wijers says. “For example, if an order that was scheduled for today is re-booked for the day after tomorrow, it is virtually impossible for a person to properly estimate the impact on the other 20 pending orders.”
We can now see in almost real time how much time we lose in a day. If that number increases during the day, we can immediately adjust the production planning of our other orders. Of course, the system will let us know within 15 minutes whether it was the right decision. Peter Wijers ICT and BI Manager Euramax Coated Products BV
Single point of truth
Having the ability to make informed decisions that consider all other factors is important to Euramax’s success. That’s why Euramax added SAS Viya and SAS Data Integration to its existing implementation of SAS Visual Analytics.
“We have tried to program all the necessary knowledge and experience, and to convert all possible factors and dependencies into zeros and ones,” Wijers says. “The SAS Data Integration calculation model now has almost as much knowledge as our employees. The big difference is that the software oversees everything.”
All the necessary data of all current orders now resides in one overview that the entire organization uses. SAS Data Integration retrieves new data from the various systems every 15 minutes, from open orders to work preparation to transport to production planning. SAS immediately calculates whether there is a 'threat' within the order and what influence that threat has on other orders. If a threat is detected by the system, everyone in the organization is notified, and the SAS Visual Analytics report on Viya will indicate in red why a problem exists.
“Employees now work with a SAS Viya Visual Analytics screen with 20 tabs. If someone forgets something or if there is a sudden hitch in the cable, three-quarters of the organization is aware of it quickly,” Wijers explains. “The impact of a change is immediately calculated within the order. In addition, employees can now respond to changes in a timely manner and make informed decisions. If no one gets a report, we are almost certain that everything is running smoothly. Because everyone sees the same overview and has the same information, processes are transparent.”
Less stress, more certainty
The SAS Data Integration software calculates how long each order will take to be fulfilled and thus predicts the weekly schedule. Because the order schedule constantly changes, the overview is recalculated every 15 minutes. “Now the business rules indicate when something is not going well in the process and where the problem is,” Wijers says.
Moreover, Euramax can now predict with greater certainty what it will produce in the coming week and has even more control over its planning. “We can now see in almost real time how much time we lose in a day,” Wijers explains. “If that number increases during the day, we can immediately adjust the production planning of our other orders. Of course, the system will let us know within 15 minutes whether it was the right decision.”
Euramax – Facts & Figures
Always getting smarter
“The next step is to use SAS Visual Analytics on SAS Viya and SAS Data Integration software to get advice on the next best action,“ Wijers says. “The ultimate goal is to have new orders planned automatically because the software analyzes all factors, predicts the impact and calculates the optimal planning. Employees can still 'overrule' the system and indicate why they have reached that decision. In this way, the system will continuously get smarter.“