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Swiftool Precision Engineering implements Capacity Planning and Routing system to support SC 21 and lean practices

Swiftool Precision Engineering has developed a capacity planning and routing system in collaboration with software developers of Xactio, to support lean and SC21 practices. The system is already delivering benefits. Efficiency has increased with promised delivery dates improving from 60% to 90%. Planned integration with the web supply chain portal Xactio will scale up benefit delivery further .

Xactio case studies

Swiftool Precision Engineering (SPE), an engineering solutions company, has recently developed a Capacity Planning and Routing system to support and enable the delivery of SC21 and lean operations. SPE is committed to the principles and culture of SC21 and a key aspect of this is the on-going development and application of lean practices and principles.

Against this background Swiftool identified the need to develop a system that better supported current and projected future capacity planning. The existing planning scheduling system met basic requirements but did not integrate with the MRP systems and resulted in inefficiencies on the shop floor and increased materials costs. Swiftool had previously tried two 'off the shelf' systems but neither of these systems worked in the way that we expected them to. To address these issues and enable more effective application of lean, a new capacity planning solution was required which operated on a 'plan to start' basis to:

  • Enable production capacity to be planned across all areas of the shop floor (Cell and section)
  • Identify the impact of likely future workload on existing capacity

To provide the capability to operate on a different basis, Swiftool has designed their own planning and scheduling system called 'VIPER' and have worked with Xactio's developers to deliver the system which is directly linked into the ERP system and controls the whole business. The modules developed were purpose built around the Swiftool business and its factories to provide a 'horizontal information platform' that:

  • Captured all the data that is produced from shop floor machinery such as resources, job time etc.
  • Identified where materials are, what is happening in real time and where output is due to go to enable improved capacity planning
  • Enabled accurate scheduling of activities so it is clear when production needs to start
  • Enabled objectives to be accurately measured.

"We needed a system that could be easily used at all levels. It needed to visually indicate (real time) not only current but also pending work load per cell or machine. It has an intuitive interface that only shows what you want to see, to speed up analysis for planning and scheduling. Planning is proactively based on delivery date not start date. It includes external issues (sub contract, RFQs etc) that could also affect scheduled delivery dates." Steve White, Production Manager at Swiftool.

The Capacity Report is visually represented and shows current capacity at each area within the shop floor. This shows hours required to complete an operation; hours reserved for the new production anticipated, plus performance data indicating any variation from forecasted capacity usage. The Routings Plan generates a visual task list for a number of key performance areas. This information can be retrieved through the Swiftool MRP System reports and includes sales orders outstanding and works order number retrieval.

"The system was launched in April 2012 and so far has proved a great success. I am encouraged to see that I have already been asked for 6 extra modules to be added such as sales to shop floor so they can plan their work load more effectively. Due to how we designed the first phase of the software the modules are quick and simple to add, this also allows the system to grow with the business." Steve White, Production Manager, Swiftool.

The system is already starting to deliver benefits with efficiency increases and delivery performance also improved. For example, efficiency has increased with promised delivery dates now meeting target in 90% of situations an increase from 60%. More importantly requested delivery dates are more accurate. VIPER is enabling Swiftool to take a more proactive approach to quoting and planning orders.

The next stage of development is to integrate the Capacity reporting and Routings system with the Xactio supply chain web portal. The portal enables high visibility of inventory availability across the supply chain; the measurement of supplier performance through non-conformance reporting (NCR) and a range of other functionality to improve supply chain performance and support lean and SC21.

About Swiftool Precision Engineering

Swiftool Precision Engineering are a specialist precision engineering company with long term agreements in place with customers such as GE Oil & Gas and Rolls Royce Plc, and supplies complex high integrity machined parts to the Nuclear, Armaments, Aerospace and Petro Chemical industries. The company was founded in 1977 and employs over 60 full time staff and specialises in providing a one stop shop including NDT, plating, pressure testing, assembly, and clean room facilities. Swiftool Precision Engineering is committed to the principles and culture of SC21 which include the delivery of increased value to customers through knowledge sharing and collaborative working.