Staying On Schedule
The multiple factors considered in creating production schedules to meet customer service levels, while managing inventory, pointed to the need for a finite capacity scheduling system for one food manufacturer.
Oberto Sausage Company is a family owned business that offers a complete portfolio of meat snacks, refrigerated sausage, and deli products for 89 years. Headquarted in Kent Washington, the more recognized Oberto brand names are Oh Boy! Oberto, Lowrey’s, Pacific Gold, and Smokecraft. Oberto has national distribution in all classes of trade, with distribution by Frito Lay and other distributors, as well as direct sales. Oberto is seeing strong growth in international markets.
Oberto has a large and diverse product base, with over 400 products. The manufacturing process is complex, not only due to product diversity, but meats from different parts of the world must be processed differently for same products. Timely production is important to maintain freshness. The multiple factors considered in creating production schedules to meet the customer service levels while managing inventory pointed to the need for a finite capacity scheduling system.
Oberto uses QAD MFG/Pro and while meeting their administrative and financial requirements, there was not a constrained planning tool useable in Oberto’s repetitive environment. After five years of investigation, Oberto determined that their requirements exceeded the capabilities of QAD ERP.
Eric Kapinos, Director of Forecasting and Planning, led the search for a finite capacity scheduling solution for Oberto. Once the team determined that they needed to look outside the MFG/Pro product, they found Preactor and selected the P400 APS for the following reasons:
- P400 APS offered superior value proposition to alternatives in QAD space due to its rich feature set, least costly, and true finite capacity scheduling
- P400 APS offered superior flexibility because Oberto could evolve the scheduling model as Oberto’s needs change with no change in Preactor code and Oberto could tailor the data used to create schedules
- Preactor has a large install base, specifically in food processing. Specifically in the QAD space, Preactor has over 75 client companies with over 150 systems installed.
- Oberto felt Preactor had the best schedule visualization
- In-depth technical support throughout the Preactor reseller network
- The open architecture of Preactor allowed the end user to deploy the system and thus offers a significant reduction in outside consulting costs
Preactor’s open architecture allowed Eric to tailor an integration specific to the data maintained in MFG/Pro by Oberto. The ERP system was heavily customized to match the Oberto business model, so Oberto felt the effort to adapt existing links between Preactor and MFG/Pro would be greater than creating their own integration.
Quinn & Associates Inc, the North American network partner for Preactor products, sold the P400 APS to Oberto and provided user and technical training to Eric. The Oberto team created their own integration to MFG/Pro and also deployed most of Preactor’s functionality with periodic help from Quinn & Associates.
The integration uses the manufacturing orders and product attributes, such as allergens, from the product database in MFG/Pro. The resident data in Oberto’s instance of MFG/Pro does not support the scheduling goals available in Preactor, so Oberto maintains product and resource definitions in the Preactor database. Oberto conducted a 6 month pilot program before making the decision to go live with Preactor. As of the writing of this case study, Preactor has been in use for 18 months. The immediate benefit was that schedulers were elevated from busy work and data management to “real production scheduling,” says Eric. The real payoff was in the 40% reduction of work-in-progress. “This is a direct result of the bucketless scheduling available in Preactor, a feature not found in alternative solutions,” says Eric.
“It is one thing to go through the list of Preactor’s demonstrated benefits, but it always tremendously gratifying to have an end user reap those benefits and do so by taking advantage of Preactor’s openness to not only deploy Preactor but also build links to an ERP system,” says Greg Quinn, President and CEO of Quinn & Associates.
Oberto has recently upgraded the P400 APS to the P500 APS to take advantage of the Preactor BoM Exploder (PBX) feature. The BoM exploder feature will allow Oberto create a simplified product structure for scheduling purposes that differs from what is used for costing and shop floor transactions. It will also allow the scheduler to change product structures on the fly and use alternate BoM’s without waiting for administrative support or MFG/Pro scheduled jobs to complete.