The production processes taking place in a given industry often differ only in their nuances. However such nuances often determine the strength of the competitive advantage. When the organization has to face a constantly growing number of orders, the high expectations of customers regarding timeliness, the quality, speed and efficiency of service, existing tools may prove to be insufficient.
The solution to meet this challenge are specialized systems for production planning and scheduling. What is also important, is a business partner able to translate expectations and requirements into a “system language”.
Michał Żelichowski (Product Manager, eq system): What prompted you to look for a system supporting production scheduling?
Tomasz Skrzypczak (Head of the Production Preparation Department, Solaris BUS & Coach S.A.): Some time ago, the planning in our company was based mainly on the deadlines declared to our clients and on the conditions resulting from production capacity. Work based only on these variables is no longer satisfactory to us. The dynamically growing number of orders, the variety of types and accessories of vehicles produced by Solaris, market requirements for shortening lead times and the necessity to stabilize the production plan have prompted us to look for modern and systemic solutions that not only schedule production, but also do it intelligently, taking into account many aspects which are important for us and our clients. We wanted to be able to dynamically choose and then implement the most optimal scenario out of all possible scenarios. Because creating production strategies based on variable plan optimization criteria has become our everyday reality, we needed a tool that would help planners operate more efficiently and that would transform them from planners into strategists.
What made you choose Asprova APS and eq system?
– Our search for the optimal solution lasted several months. During this time, we intensively studied and compared the potential partners and solutions available on the market. We knew that we were looking for APS – a tool tailored to our needs determined by high sales dynamics and production development. Companies specializing in APS class software offer very different implementation approaches: some offer almost ready-made “plug & play” tools, some propose the building of a highly individualized system from scratch. Our experience gathered during these several months told us that we should look for something in between – a tool that, on the one hand, is a ready concept of a “planning machine”, and, on the other hand, that allows us to tailor scheduling functions to the specifics of our production and logistics, allowing for their independent changes in the future. That is why we chose Asprova – an almost ready system, but versatile and flexible enough to imagine the planning of most of our processes in it, along with their nuances.
If you could indicate several elements that distinguish the Asprova APS system and eq system from the competition – what would they be?
– It is difficult for me to compare Asprova to other APS systems, because our planning has so far been based on our own solutions working in the SAP environment. Ready-made solutions are usually offered on the market, in which the short implementation time is an advantage, but a significant limitation is the deficit of possibilities for the planner’s input into heuristic algorithms. On the other hand, there are systems built upon the customer’s request, requiring a long and arduous process of determining requirements and then implementing them. In this case, even if part of the implementation can be “copied” from other projects, this requires more time and is also more expensive.
We recognized the Asprova system as the one most suited to the current needs of Solaris. We perceive it as a ready system, with extensive and “rehearsed” functionality with a user-friendly interface, which is also not so common. This tool allows you to configure and adapt to almost any process situation, and thanks to the ready structure of the program it teaches and also requires logic and a systemic approach to planning.
How do you assess your cooperation with eq system and the course and final effect of the audit?
– In the choice of the system, our previous experience in cooperation with eq system was not without significance. Starting from the webinar about APS, which for us was the beginning of practical learning about Asprova and eq system, through the workshops organized for our planners at our company, to the preparation of pre-implementation analysis, the company showed professionalism and experience. When working with eq system, we also value the process approach of consultants, which is particularly important in the area of planning and is the prognosis of the project’s success.
The project carried out at Solaris BUS & Coach S.A. involves close cooperation between specialists from both companies. This approach allows for the very precise adjustment of the system to the specifics of production processes, thus achieving the benefits assumed in the concept. It also creates conditions for the continuous improvement of production management and the independent development of the Asprova APS system. In eq system, we assume that the system, regardless of when it was implemented, should fit the company, not the other way round.