Preactor makes light work of skills scheduling challenge for Mode Lighting

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Specialist planning & scheduling software provider Preactor has successfully helped Mode Lighting solve its human resources scheduling difficulties. Staff utilisation levels which were estimated to be 60% are now over 82% which has enabled the company to cope with increases and decreases in demand in a rapidly changing business environment.

Successful business at the labour intensive Mode Lighting relies on effective management of the companys diverse multiplicity of skillsets to make a wide variety of products. As General Manager Ian Hodgson says, Any machine resource is very much an aid to our people not the other way around. This is compounded by different workers working different shift patterns, holidays, and study programs which have to be factored into the production plan.

This proved to be beyond the combined capabilities of the companys Fourth Shift Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and a range of custom Exel spreadsheets so Mode Lighting invested in a Preactor production planning and scheduling solution from Preactor reseller The Planning Board. Adrian Birt of The Planning Board worked with Hodgson to develop a custom matrix of fifteen different calendar permutations for every worker so that Preactor could schedule accurately by human resource - Mode Lightings primary requirement.

Not only has this massively improved the accuracy and flexibility of the companys production planning as well as improving its On Time and In Full levels to over 85%, it has had what Hodgson describes as a profound transformational effect on the company. It has brought stability and realism not just to our planning but to the company as a whole. He continues, in these difficult times of varying demand it is hard to imagine how we could have managed as well as we have without Preactor. Preactor has enabled the business to be more integrated and we can confidently make promises and meet them.

Preactor CEO Mike Novels comments on Mode Lightings success. The role and value of highly skilled workers in modern manufacturing, whether Just in Time or mixed-mode, cannot be over estimated. Having the right components at the right machine resource at the right time isnt good enough if the worker with the required skill level to set up or operate the resource is not available. The majority of planning tools cannot schedule to this degree which is why the flexibility, visibility and control offered by Preactor will become even more essential to such companies as they have to adapt to ever more flexible working practices.

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