Like many global manufacturers, Flexsys is caught in the squeeze of rising costs, falling prices and tough competition from emerging markets like Asia and Eastern Europe.
To maintain customer service levels while keeping costs in line, Flexsys recently changed its planning processes from make-to-stock to make-to-order.
This shift eliminated the high cost of buffer inventory. But without safety stock to fall back on, the pressure was on the companys manufacturing assets to deliver top performance. That objective was hindered by inconsistent maintenance processes across the company. Plants were either using antiquated software to schedule and track maintenance or a combination of manual processes and spreadsheets.
An audit by an external consultant found that asset management at Flexsys was primarily reactive, rather than preventive, which led to poor equipment reliability. Production output was well below the level of efficiency required.
Implementing a single enterprise asset management solution and standardizing processes across all our sites were key to driving critical asset management improvements, says Roger Mason, Operations Manager for Flexsys.
We compared the functionality and reporting capabilities of the leading solutions and decided that QAD EAM was our best option, says Mason. The biggest factor in selecting QAD EAM was the interface to our existing QAD logistics and accounting software. This allowed us to very quickly have QAD EAM up and running at all our sites.
The Flexsys team identified four essential steps to reduce equipment breakdowns and improve plant reliability: 1) Develop a consistent work order process, 2) Define and track key performance indicators (KPIs) for maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) inventory, 3) Implement root cause analysis (RCA) and, 4) Directly involve the production operators by initiating total productive maintenance (TPM).
The QAD EAM work order system provides the structure required for positive control over the maintenance work order process, supporting a global process that helps improve asset care and reduce breakdowns across all facilities. Flexsys relies on the excellent database contained in QAD EAM to help assess asset performance, and flexible reporting allows the company to define and measure KPIs. The system supports RCA and TPM: This means the companys production operators and maintenance technicians can focus most of their efforts on less costly preventive maintenance and very little on reacting to equipment breakdowns.
The individual QAD EAM modules Plant Maintenance, MRO Inventory and MRO Purchasing were thorough enough for us to measure and achieve our required standards, says Mason.
Our plants are more reliable and flexible than they ever have been, says Mason. Flexsys is taking full advantage of making products to customer order, reaping the savings from reducing its inventories of finished products. With consistent, reliable plant performance, Flexsys can provide superior customer service and meet its revenue targets.
Flexsys Rubber Chemicals, Ltd (Flexsys) is a leading global manufacturer and supplier of chemicals for rubber processing and related industries.
The companys products are used by businesses around the world during the mixing, modeling, and curing processes used to make tires, hoses, seals, and other rubber products. Flexsys employs about 1000 people at over 20 sites throughout the world. Formed in 1995, Flexsys is owned by Solutia and has sales of approximately US $500 million.