The German manufacturing company Winter + Freis replaced their "analog" production planning with an ERP system and realized that a graphical planning board was needed in addition to make their processes more transparent and thus provide more planning security for their employees.
Read in this blog post how the Visual Production Scheduler made this happen.
Complex production processes require efficient planning and transparency
Winter + Freis is a family-run company based in Kipfenberg, Germany, which has been manufacturing transport equipment and containers made of wood and wood-based materials for the German automotive industry as well as for companies in medical technology, aerospace, mechanical engineering and for the German armed forces for 19 years.
The very broad product portfolio and a high volume of orders pose complex challenges for production planning at Winter & Freis. Very special and complex packaging is produced in many different work steps. In addition, most of the orders the company receives have to be completed at very short notice - there is often less than 24 hours between order and delivery. At times, the employees each have to process 20 to 40 orders per day, which requires a high degree of precise planning - what with over forty employees.
Before ERP + NETRONIC: analog planning
Before Winter + Freis implemented the VPS, planning was still "very analog", according to Julian Ostermeier, one of the company's two managing directors. The precise planning required was "an impossibility. For that, I would have had to hire two people just to take care of it all day."
Another disadvantage of "analog" planning was that only a few responsible people in the company knew all the interrelationships in production, which also led to an increased susceptibility to errors, among other things.
Julian Ostermeier recalls:
"Many things were then misjudged, waiting times occurred, deadlines were missed now and then, or the truck had to wait because the goods had not yet been produced."
ERP system alone did not provide a satisfactory solution
Even the introduction of Dynamics NAV (initially without a planning board) did not yet solve the problems satisfactorily, as it resulted in changes or disruptions to the "analog" processes that had been functioning up to that point. The company was therefore looking for a way to expand the functional scope of Dynamics NAV while remaining "in the system".
Requirements for the planning board
Winter + Freis wanted a production planning tool that
- lives within Dynamics NAV and is fully integrated into the system
- is easy and understandable to use and enables fast planning
- nevertheless has an extensive range of functions that already covers most requirements
- allows individual extensions in an uncomplicated way
- saves time for administration/production planning
- provides clearly structured, transparent and reliable schedules for each employee
NETRONIC VPS fits
In the search for a tool that had the aforementioned characteristics, they came across NETRONIC's Visual Production Scheduler in the Navision environment, which was "relatively close to what we really needed, which is relatively rare in today's ERP programs and interface programs," says Julian Ostermeier. In addition, the functional scope of the VPS was convincing, so that Winter + Freis only needed a few individual adjustments, which were implemented quickly and easily by NETRONIC, according to Ostermeier.
Use of the NETRONIC VPS
Planning with the VPS at Winter + Freis now looks like this: every one or two days, depending on the requirements, each employee receives a new work plan in which the work orders to be completed are listed in the respective order. This means that each employee knows exactly what he or she will be working on over the next one or two days, and it no longer happens that the production planner assigns him or her a different job several times a day that needs to be done even more urgently.
Advantages of the VPS
The biggest benefit the VPS brings to the company is the significant time savings that result from the significant reduction in administrative time spent on planning. Where previously 5 to 6 hours a day had to be spent on planning alone and there were still delivery delays and waiting times for the forwarding agents, there are now clearly structured work plans for the employees virtually at the push of a button every 1-2 days.
More effective planning
The entire process becomes more transparent and easier to plan, "especially with regard to completion dates, shipping companies and the like. With large orders, you can also plan several weeks into the future and see what will be done when."
Ostermeier is pleased that he can better schedule his employees, even "when there's less work."
The significant increase in employee satisfaction is another major benefit of the VPS for the company. The clear schedule offers employees continuity and stability for their work, and they gain a certain degree of self-control.
Advantages of the VPS for other companies as well
Ostermeier is convinced that other companies in a similar environment can also benefit from using a graphical planning board:
"The fact that you can design the VPS very individually and adapt it to your own processes means that it offers significant added value to just about all companies."
Good cooperation with NETRONIC
Ostermeier on the use of the VPS and the cooperation with NETRONIC:
"Everything works quite well in practice, too, so we have a very good tool to work with."
- Want to see the VPS in action? Watch our recent introductory webinar.
- Read how to keep material availability in check in production scheduling with NAV
- Download our ebook about visual scheduling for Microsoft Dynamics NAV: