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Avalign Technologies improved planner productivity by approximately 75% using SmartFactory Production Control

Production Control simulation identifies roadblocks and overcomes challenges
SmartFactory Production Control is a capacity planning system for simulating manufacturing and planning operations. By replicating production activities in a simulation environment, the system identifies opportunities for improving work in process (WIP) movement, capacity utilization and throughput —all without disrupting factory operations. Avalign Technologies, one of the largest contract manufacturing organizations dedicated to the global orthopedics industry, solved some key challenges using the SmartFactory Production Control Solution. Among these were improvements in production schedule, on-time deliveries, and utilization of bottleneck work centers.

Production control challenges

Avalign was experiencing challenges inherent to a high capex, made-to-order manufacturer, including customer dissatisfaction, equipment productivity issues, cycle-time increases, line imbalances, and increases in manufacturing costs.

  • Lack of a robust finite and optimal production schedule
  • No comprehensive mid-term and long-term capacity planning
  • Limited “what-if” analysis capabilities to support continuous improvement
  • Long time required to re-plan and re-schedule in coordination with pull-in and push-out requests
  • Non-standard data across multiple sites that requires long data mining processes

Improving KPIs with SmartFactory Production Control Solution

To overcome these challenges, Avalign implemented the SmartFactory Production Control Solution, which enabled Avalign to simulate the factory operations and foresee the roadblocks in the production schedule.

They were also able to integrate output from Production Control Solution with dispatching and scheduling solutions to generate a finite production plan. This allowed them to move from weekly planning, taking two to three days, to scheduling that takes less than one hour daily. This improved planner productivity by approximately 75%, allowing them to focus on multiple what-if scenarios and other planner activities.
This improved planner productivity by approximately 75%, allowing them to focus on multiple what-if scenarios and other planner activities.
Additionally, a high-speed Production Control simulation run with detailed modeling provided quicker and more accurate customer open order updates and a new delivery schedule. This reduced the customer order fulfillment response time from two to three days to a couple of hours with higher accuracy and improved on-time-delivery by approximately 5%.
This reduced the customer order fulfillment response time from two to three days to a couple of hours with higher accuracy and improved on-time-delivery by approximately 5%.
Easy modeling simulation runs enabled scenario-based scheduling that improved machine utilization and line balancing. Avalign’s utilization of bottleneck work centers improved by 5-10 %.
Avalign's utilization of bottleneck work centers improved by 5-10 %.

Detailed reports and graphs helped identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies to optimize the plan before execution. This enabled them to achieve a more efficient work in process management and work order releasing mechanism. Whereas work orders previously were released in a fixed cadence, the process is now more dynamic and as needed with a more balanced WIP level.

They also achieved detailed mid- to long-term capacity planning by implementing Production Control solution, which uses AutoSched®, a robust simulation tool designed for complex planning.

Other significant improvements Avalign realized by using SmartFactory Production Control Solution are shown in figure 1, below.

Figure 1: Table of problems resolved by implementing SmartFactory Production Control Solution
Figure 1: Table of problems resolved by implementing SmartFactory Production Control Solution

A move toward continuous improvement

Using SmartFactory solutions, Avalign was able to leverage a single platform for factory production and planning efficiency. They were able to focus on data integration, availability, and accuracy, as well as on business process change associated with automated solutions and to develop a continuous improvement mindset.

About the Author

Madhu Mamillapalli
Madhu Mamillapalli
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