It’s a tough balance to maintain: Delivery performance, cost efficiency and customer satisfaction. How do you ensure that you can achieve one goal without compromising the others? Smart steel manufacturers have found a simple solution — intelligent, flexible planning.
Smart steel manufacturers realize that the market’s volatile conditions require lightning-fast response in order to sustain growth. At thyssenkrupp Steel Europe (TKSE), the aim is to achieve continuous growth in the flat steel sector. However, like most quests for excellence, a great obstacle stood in their way ― conflicting operational goals, which they often had no choice but to prioritize.
It was never easy to make the call: Was excellent delivery performance so important that production planning efficiency became secondary? Was it worth asking a customer to accept a longer delivery time window for the sake of keeping our costs at bay?
– Wolfgang Meißner, Head of SCM Design, thyssenkrupp Steel Europe (TKSE)
Steel manufacturing is a series of highly complex and precise processes. TKSE needed to take into consideration a large number of factors including resource capacity and current order restrictions, specific delivery times and constraints of different business processes (e.g. make-to-order versus project-based).
To add to the complexity, integrated control elements have to constantly synchronize with customer requirements. Even the most experienced planner would struggle to incorporate all of this manually.
Achieving conflicting goals with optimization
The solution was obvious for TKSE. They invested in an intelligent planning and optimization software uniquely suited to their operations.
Now armed with flexibility and accuracy, TKSE is able to optimize production planning and adapt to new orders and manage disruptions effectively. Not only that, their planning department is able to constantly check against customer requirements to ensure order feasibility.
By making optimal planning decisions, TKSE has been able to achieve all their goals — delivery reliability, cost efficiency and customer satisfaction — without sacrificing one for the other.
There’s more to the story. I encourage you to download our latest eBook, 8 things companies need to do for a successful 2017, and learn more about TKSE’s journey to efficient production planning.
This post was previously published on LinkedIn.