Kremenchuk Wheel Plant is a modern high-tech enterprise manufacturing cold-formed steel wheels for buses, cars and trucks as well as agricultural machinery. The enterprise’s products are distributed all over Ukraine and exported to European countries. The productive capacity of the plant exceeds 8 million wheels per year.
Prior to the project by IT-Enterprise, the IT division of the plant unsuccessfully tried to adopt various automation systems. The ACS (automated control system) division managed to automate different business processes: logistics, accounting, human resources management and payroll.
Maintaining the system started to require a lot of effort. Since individual modules were developed at different times and based on different technologies, the data streams had to be combined. Having analyzed the situation, it became clear that such a project would be extremely complex with many subsystems’ software in need of rewriting. It was the moment when the management decided to implement an integrated ERP system.
The enterprise had to select a full corporate information system for mechanical engineering (with multi-product batch production on the existing production lines), which would comprise all the benefits of a single database and integrated automation of all business activities.
The project’s specific feature was that all the groundwork implemented by the plant's ACS division was saved and transferred into the ERP system. Therefore, this unique expertise accumulated over the years could be used further on.
The project was implemented in several phases:
- Product development management (PDM), master production schedule (MPS) and accounting increased the product range by hundreds of times, reduced the order size from 50,000 to 500 and optimized costs;
- Operational production planning and control allowed for quick response to the market demand. Electronic document management was implemented with the intention to go paperless;
- Product lifecycle management (PLM): time-to-market was reduced from 9 months to 4-5 months; end-to-end monitoring of manufacturing and product development was implemented.
PDM and PLM
PDM made it possible to schedule pre-production processes and provide end-to-end control over them at all stages. An integral part of transitioning to electronic technical document management was maintaining an archive of technical documentation. Its introduction was a step towards paperless document management at the enterprise.
Now specialists can open an electronic drawing online, while the IT-Enterprise system provides an up-to-date version of the electronic original containing the latest changes. This allows all workers on the shop floor to have access to up-to-date technical documentation.
Production activity control
With the engineering bill of materials (EBOM) and manufacturing technology established (each EBOM item is aligned with the parts shop-to-shop routing), it is time to plan out production activities.
Kremenchuk Wheel Plant has fully adopted the system of production activity control. The enterprise work is peculiar in the sense that there may be several EBOMs (design compositions) for one type of product since some parts can either be produced by the enterprise or purchased from contractors. The implemented solution takes this detail into account.
The sales department makes a monthly delivery plan containing the shipped products range together with the packaging and loading plan. Once adjustments are made and the delivery plan is approved, the MPS is created. The planner picks an EBOM out of several design options using which the products are to be manufactured. A detailed production plan containing estimation of physical resources needed is made using the MPS. The production plan is also the basis for the inventory control sheet and a daily schedule (MES plan). The schedule serves as the foundation for the shift tasks list. Upon completing the tasks, a shift report is made and based on shift tasks, unit price contracts are drawn up.
An interesting solution implemented at the plant was a parts tracking sheet. Since mass production makes it impossible to keep documentary records on the shop floor, the parts tracking sheet allows keeping workshop records accurate to ensure reliable production accounting on an ongoing basis. As a result, the enterprise’s management can tell exactly how many parts are currently in each workshop.
Key project factors
The enterprise has implemented a modern integrated ERP system covering production management, design engineering and product development management, calculation of planned and actual production costs, inventory control, sales and supply management, accounting and taxes, personnel management and payroll calculation. The solution runs on the Oracle 11g database system.
With the ERP system by IT-Enterprise, the plant has adopted a fundamentally new approach to operational production planning and control. The time-to-market has been reduced from 9 months to 4-5 months. Transitioning to the detailed operational production planning has made it possible to reduce work-in-progress by 10-15%. The synergy of improvements has enhanced the responsiveness of the sales department to customer requests and, as a result, boosted sales.
Parts tracking control has ensured accurate inventory records in the workshops. Together with production planning, this has allowed the enterprise to radically expand the manufactured product range while reducing the number of accounting staff.
Due to the automation of the enterprise's main business processes, production and accounting reports are done significantly faster.