Massimo Moliterni – Supply Chain Manager at Schott
To manage the entire supply chain efficiently, companies need to define management methods and implement software solutions that are capable of optimizing logistical and operative processes, streamlining production and minimizing waste. Increasingly, businesses with production sites spread across different countries are faced with the challenge of how to keep processes in check on a global scale. Schott, a leader in the production of high-tech materials for special types of glass, chose GIB to improve their production system and gain a better overview of their stock planning and availability so that they could react quickly in critical situations.
Agrate Brianza, April 12, 2021. Schott is a multinational group with roots in Germany and is active across various sectors, from flat glass for the home appliance market to glass phials for pharmaceutical packaging. Schott Italvetro srl is Schott’s Italian plant for producing flat glass for household appliances and is part of Schott’s Flat Glass Business Unit. In addition to the Italian plant, Schott’s BU-F has another 11 plants across the globe that produce tempered flat glass. The total turnover of Schott AG amounted to 2.2 million euros in 2019–2020.
Improving functionality and services
Before GIB was implemented, schedulers at Schott Italvetro would use an internal Excel file created on an ad hoc basis in order to plan the numerous production lines at the plant. It was a homemade solution, and one which meant that the two schedulers could not complete their daily tasks efficiently nor effectively due to the repetitive copying and pasting of items, manual data entry and the many customizations undertaken by different users. What’s more, it was also difficult for other employees to consult the file in order to keep track of production progress, such as those in Customer Service or the demand planner.
The German parent company’s decision to adopt GIB Planning and Controlling tools across various plants in the BU was made easier and more efficient thanks to development at a pilot site and then on-the-job training organized for all the other plants. This saved time and made implementation quicker as the knowledge and methods adopted at one plant could then be shared. This also made it possible to standardize production scheduling using GIB planning, mid- and long-term scheduling of client orders for demand planning using the GIB Planning Dashboard, and the management of materials and stock using GIB Controlling, for all plants on a global scale.
All plants were able to independently implement and develop these tools as standard, with reports being shared throughout the BU, information and best practices being exchanged among the various plants and updated training sessions shared for the latest releases.
Schott Italvetro implemented two GIB tools in 2017 after having trained and shadowed at the plant in Turkey, where the two systems were already in use. On-site training lasted three days. They then had five days of training at the plant in Italy, supported by the Project Lead from the Czech Republic. Following this, the two schedulers gradually started to use GIB Planning, abandoning the previous Excel file for production line scheduling. After a few weeks of using the tools and making some ad-hoc customizations for conducting scheduling activities (layout, planning set), the schedulers at Schott Italvetro were able to plan their production completely independently. In addition, the demand planner was immediately able to use the GIB Planning Dashboard in order to determine the production load demanded from the machinery and the mid/long-term plan of the plant’s production capacity. All this information was then gathered and used in a corporate report shared with the management team in order to make strategic decisions.
Increased efficiency and transparency thanks to a group-wide uniform standard
Implementing GIB Planning has resulted in quicker and more efficient production line scheduling, without the manual errors caused by copying and pasting in Excel, as well as in production schedules that are visible to and understood by a range of employees in different departments. After around six months of gaining experience and confidence with the tool, the newfound efficiency and improvement in the scheduling process means that it now requires only one scheduler, rather than two as in the past, resulting in substantial savings in that department of the company. GIB Controlling means that excess production can be monitored on a daily basis, making it possible to immediately react to any reductions in the overstock of the finished product.
Furthermore, the monitoring process for obsolete and dead stock has improved considerably. This enables retailers to initiate targeted sales in order to avoid large batches of material being scrapped at the end of the financial year. All in all, the company has been able to improve the visibility and periodic monitoring of all stock across various categories (raw materials, finish product, spare parts, etc.), so as to meet the targets imposed by the parent company on the various types of company inventories.
Massimo Moliterni, Supply Chain Manager at Schott, explains: “Nowadays, when we reminisce with the production schedulers about the old scheduling methods (Excel), they always say that they would never go back in time, given how practical the tools are to use and the benefits that GIB Planning has had on the production line scheduling process.”