Dairy company Privatmolkerei Bechtel has digitised and automated many of its internal goods flows. Plus, the company has improved its planning processes after installing a new ERP system, thereby saving a lot of time. With the automatic utilisation of all data, the level of manual work is minimised, and data gaps are not an issue at all.
Pursuing a coherent optimisation strategy has helped Bechtel to attain a good market position. To keep the ball rolling, the company continually drives its internationalisation and product innovations as well as its digitisation. A glance at their planning reveals the progress they have made. Most dairy companies are faced with complex planning while the software solutions they use can only cover some subareas.
Full integration from sales to procurement planning
Automatic calculations are still wishful thinking in many companies. Excel or other stand-alone solutions thwart their vision of planning at the press of a button. Input errors, incorrect transmissions, faulty communication, or invalid calculations in the data exchange are the biggest obstacles – producing a diffuse image rather than clarity.
This effect is further aggravated by a lack of historical data. In this situation, only experienced specialists with strong intuition are able to obtain rational planning results.
Yet, this is not the case at Privatmolkerei Bechtel, where the staff directly accesses all required data directly in the central ERP system. “In this way, we avoid input errors due to transfers or incorrect calculations in the data exchange, or incomplete data,” says Thomas Karl. The IT manager emphasises the consistency in the implementation of the entire process in the CSB-System, from sales to production planning and to purchasing planning.
Sales planning (long-term planning)
The long-term planning includes the past weeks 1 to 7, the current week, and the forecast weeks 1 to 8 on a product basis. This calculation method for sales planning considers order quantities, sales quantities, campaigns, cleaned-up quantities, statistical forecasts, additions and removals from listings, public holiday plans as well as forecasts.
Production planning is built on these long-term plans and subsequently compared with the actual sales from the previous year and with sales planning. Manual editing is possible at any time.
Production planning (mid-term planning)
The second step of production planning is an evaluation of the stock on hand, the current order, the sales forecast, the target stock, the planned order volumes, and the planned sequence of production on product level (pallets). The production orders are adjusted accordingly taking available capacities into account.
Line planning – GANTT (short-term planning)
In line planning, the production schedules are created automatically, where production orders can be rescheduled using drag & drop. All production orders are displayed, edited if needed (increase/reduce the quantity, split, etc.), and rescheduled orders are dynamically considered in the filling department, in the chronological order. Changeover and cleaning times can be optimised by changing the production sequence.
As a result, the shift supervisor can always keep track of the current actual times. Requirements for procurement are verified immediately.
Big time gains
With the new planning system, Bechtel saves two to three days in planning time every week. “On Wednesday, at the latest, the data for the next week is available,” explains Thomas Karl. The staff uses the time gained for further refinement of the planning in order to approach the optimum level.
Staff, service provider, and software – at Bechtel, this combination ensures automated workflows in planning. Given the higher transparency, bottlenecks can be identified early on, supply capability and adherence to delivery dates has been improved and, ultimately, the costs have been reduced.
Every pallet that is shipped to the customers in time for the sell-by date, and that does not end up as a loss, translates into real money for Bechtel.