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Total overview yields more than box thinking in modules

Blog written by Manon Roelofsen, SAP Consultant and Marlies Mulhof-De Koning, Senior SAP Consultant at Aiden

Aiden unique in process thinking with SAP PP-PI for manufacturing
The process industry is a complex sport. The delivery of products to the right customer, at the right location, at the agreed time and according to the agreed price requires a tight, accurate production planning. In order for this production planning to run smoothly, the SAP module Production Planning for Proces Industries (PP-PI) is an indispensable tool. In this integrated planning tool, various cogs work together intensively. Also with other important SAP modules. With SAP PP-PI, production companies ensure that they meet their agreements and meet the expectations of customers.
SAP PP-PI is specially designed for companies, where production takes place in batches or batches. Examples are companies active in the chemical, pharmacy, food industry, consumer goods and electronics. The integrated planning tool focuses on various crucial business processes: production, waste disposal and logistics activities. As consultants, Manon Roelofsen and Marlies Mulhof support various companies in the implementation of SAP PP-PI.

Exchanging and monitoring data

Manon-foto-EWM.pngA professional production planning answers a number of related questions: which raw materials do you need, are they in stock or do you buy them, when does the production starts, do the products meet the specifications drawn up, how does logistics work and what does a product cost?’ ‘SAP PP-PI is easy to integrate with the shop floor’, explains Manon. ‘There is a constant exchange of data between the planning tool and the machines. As an operator or technician, you know exactly what stage the production process is at and you can see at a glance how many raw materials have been consumed. This information is crucial for planning and cost calculation.’ According to Marlies, it is also smart to place a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) between the machine and SAP PP-PI planning tool. ‘A MES makes it possible to monitor, control and fine-tune continuous production processes remotely.’

Scan data

For many production companies, it is a time-consuming task to enter or read data manually. Many operators and maintenance technicians are busy running the machines and have to do this job. ‘With a barcode and a scanner, you partially solve this problem,’ Manon continues her story. ‘However, this addition is not watertight. People make mistakes. For example, they scan a barcode twice or they accidentally scan the wrong code.’ According to Marlies, various logical solutions are possible to prevent these errors. ‘For example, you can think of interfaces via Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). With the help of such a PLC, information can be exchanged with other systems.’

Step-by-step change

The transition to integration with PLCs seems like a logical step, but it is also a major operation. Before a PLC can communicate with other systems, valuable time passes. In continuous production processes, downtime has financial consequences. ‘That’s why it’s wise to use a maintenance or cleaning service for this,’ Manon said. ‘Furthermore, it is crucial that operators and shift managers receive short training in this other way of working. The natural resistance becomes a lot smaller when you explain what this new method brings to the company.

Boomerang effect

Production and planning are the linchpin of manufacturing. However, production planning is not isolated. The interconnectedness with other business components such as purchasing, quality management, finance, sales and logistics is great. ‘In order to exploit the added value of SAP PP-PI in its entirety, it is important to oversee the total’, Manon summarizes a second added value of INSynQ. ‘Many consultants think in modules or business disciplines, we think in processes. If you turn the button in one discipline, it has consequences for another discipline. For example, if you reorganize the logistics process, you will get that change back as a boomerang in one of the other business processes.’Marlies-foto-EWM.png

A look to the future

The combination of innovation and manufacturing will take off in the coming years. ‘Companies are expected to use more and more sensors and program robots to make production processes more efficient’, Marlies finally looks ahead. ‘It’s our experience that many companies are not yet ready for these large-scale, innovative applications.’ Manon agrees with her fellow consultant. ‘We advise you to make changes step by step. This takes more time, but companies remain in control. The switch to SAP PP-PI and its links is a good example of this. As consultants, we like to make this change side by side with companies.’

The power of  Aiden

In this tailor-made guidance lies the power of Aiden. The work and workload are known. That is why it is good to take operators and shift managers step by step in such a change process. “Both are charged on the proceeds,” Marlies explains. ‘For example, by installing sensors at critical points in the production process, they have better information. If they get a signal, they can switch faster and respond to problems.’
Would you like to know more about what Aiden can do for your organization? Call us at tel. 088 060 5111 or contact us via our contact page.