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Common direction – Solaris and eq system

The production processes in a particular industry often differ only slightly. However, such subtle differences often determine the strength of the competitive advantage. When the organisation has to meet an increasing volume of orders and high customer expectations of timeliness, quality, speed and efficiency of service, the existing tools may prove to be insufficient.

The solution to face this challenge is specialised production planning and scheduling systems. Equally important is a business partner that is able to turn expectations and requirements into a system language.

Source: Solaris BUS & Coach S.A.

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, our company planned mainly on the basis of deadlines notified to our clients and on the conditions imposed by production capacity. Work relying on such variables only no longer satisfied us. The soaring number of orders, the variety of types and accessories of vehicles made by Solaris, requirements from the market to reduce lead times and the need to stabilise the production plan provoked us to look for modern and systemic solutions that not only scheduled production, but also did it smartly and included many aspects important for us and our clients. We wanted to be able to proactively choose and then implement the most optimal scenario out of all possible ones. Since developing production strategies with the use of variable plan optimisation criteria had become our everyday reality, we needed a tool that would help planners to operate more efficiently and that would transform them from planners into strategists.

What made you choose Asprova APS and eq system?

We searched for the optimal solution several months. That is when we intensively studied and compared 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 offering APS class software take very different implementation approaches: some sell almost ready-made plug & play tools; some develop a highly customised system from scratch. The experience we gained during several months made us look for something in between: a tool that, on the one hand, was a ready concept of a “planning machine” and, on the other hand, that allowed us to tailor scheduling functions to the specifics of our production and logistics that we could change in the future. That is why we chose Asprova, an almost ready system, but versatile and flexible enough to visualise the planning of most of our processes in it, along with their particular characteristics.

If you could indicate several features that distinguish Asprova APS and eq system from the competition, what would they be?

It is difficult for me to compare Asprova to other APS systems since we have used our own solutions working in the SAP environment for planning so far. Usually, the market offers ready-made solutions in which the short implementation time is an advantage, but a significant limitation is the shortage of possibilities for the planner’s input into heuristic algorithms. On the other hand, there are systems built upon the customer instructions, demanding a long and arduous process of setting and then implementing requirements. In this case, even if part of the implementation can be “copied” from other projects, this calls for more time and more money too.

We recognised Asprova as the only one most suited to the current needs of Solaris. We see it as a ready system, with extensive and “rehearsed” functionality, a user-friendly interface, which is also not so common. This tool enables you to configure and adapt to almost any process situation, and the ready structure of the program trains and also needs logic as well as a systemic approach to planning.

How do you rate your cooperation with eq system and the progress and final effect of the audit?

In the choice of the system, our previous experience with eq system was not without significance. Starting from the webinar about APS where we started to learn about Asprova and eq system, through the workshops organised for our planners at our company, to the preparation of a pre-implementation analysis, the company proved their competence and experience. When we work with eq system, we value their consultants’ process approach which is particularly important in planning and offers good prospects of project success.

Source: Solaris BUS & Coach S.A.

The project implemented at Solaris BUS & Coach S.A. involves close cooperation between specialists from both companies. This approach favours the very precise adjustment of the system to the specifics of production processes, thus achieving the benefits of the concept. In addition, this sets out conditions for the continuous improvement of production management and the independent development of Asprova APS. At eq system, we assume that the system, regardless of when it was implemented, should match the company, not the other way round.

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