Victrex backs customer commitments with SSIs Optimiza decision support system

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A world leader in high performance materials, Victrex is to deploy an Optimiza decision support system from SSI to help deliver ambitious product supply commitments as it expands its global business. The Optimiza Demand Planning and Inventory Optimisation decision support system will optimise stock, analyse manufacturing requirements and forecast future demand for Victrex business across three world regions.

Lancashire based Victrex grew profits by an impressive 26% in the six months to March 2005, mainly on the back of worldwide sales of its VICTREX PEEK high performance thermoplastic premium product. Potential uses for the polymer material have burgeoned in industrial, aerospace, automotive, electronics, food and medical sectors, because of its exceptional resistance to chemicals, wear, electricity and temperature change.

Crucial to business success for Victrex has been its proven commitment to availability and supply of the products manufactured in its Lancashire plant. The group must ensure production capacity will always exceed customer demand, and customers will get security of supply.

Our customers are buying premium products, and they expect us to meet their demand from stock within a few days, rather than buying and storing more than they need, says Victrex IT Manager, John Cafferty. When we produced only a few product lines and had lower capacity, we were able to achieve that aim without too much detailed analysis. Now we are manufacturing 20 product lines and have doubled capacity, so we need much more control over the variables and pinch points in the supply chain.

We are also planning more products and new product gradings in future. We are expanding our operations in Asia Pacific right now, so we have to factor in new business requirements to make sure we optimise our stock levels and manufacturing planning if we are to keep our customers happy, says John Cafferty.

After discussing detailed requirements, SSI proposed Optimiza Demand Planning and Inventory Optimisation decision support system. A proof-of-concept study convinced the management team, and in June 2005 the group ordered the system, including SSI implementation consultancy, technical and application training and support services.

We were very impressed by SSI from the start of the process, says John Cafferty. They actually listened to what we needed rather than what we thought we wanted. They then changed their proposition entirely and they were right. Their case was very strong both to our users and senior management. The users could understand Optimiza right away. Its very intuitive and simple to use.

We particularly liked the out of the box analysis of Optimiza and how it handles forecasting. Its also important that with the kind of growth were experiencing its scalable to meet our future demands, says John Cafferty.

By the end of 2005, Victrex will have an analysis tool to drive its customer focus and help plan manufacturing, distribution and marketing. Optimiza will gather a range of Victrex data from the plant, the three global regions and from the groups ERP system. It will take sales and supply history and consolidate it with sales, distributor and customer forecasts, and production capability information. Optimiza will be able to model expected future demand and manufacturing requirements. Victrex can ask what if? questions to get recommendations about manufacturing and stockholding levels, and the system can be run when ever required.

SSI Managing Director, Trevor Lewis believes that Victrexs vision will show other manufacturers that Optimiza has potential as an inventory modelling system. Optimiza is widely used in distribution industries, but less so in manufacturing. It would suit any manufacturing company selling from stock and able to choose when to manufacture. Victrex management had great vision to see this potential, says Trevor Lewis.

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