Paint manufacturer Lechler S.p.A. is celebrating major improvements to its production process due to a successful project to introduce Preactor scheduling software. Based in Como, Italy, the firm has achieved an impressive 20 per cent reduction in manufacturing lead times over the past year. Other improvements include increased reliability of delivery dates for customers, a reduction in the amount of time staff spend scheduling work, and increased productivity.
Lechler, which employs more than 400 staff across its manufacturing sites in Como and Foligno as well as its subsidiaries in France, Germany, Spain and the UK, undertook a lengthy selection process before deciding to implement Preactor 500 APS software to help with advance planning and scheduling in its plants.
Lechler site manager Luigi Malinverno said: "We felt a need to improve our ability to manage the production process and to reduce the time spent preparing and updating the production schedule, in order to become more reactive and punctual."
Specific needs for the company included the ability to swiftly switch between fulfilling sales orders and manufacturing stock piles for the warehouse. It also needed to work out how to best utilise the capacity of a series of storage containers, while at the same time not producing so much paint it couldn't be stored. In order to implement the software, Malinverno worked with proe2, a local partner of The Preactor Group, worldwide leader in planning and scheduling solutions.
The Preactor family of scheduling products allows companies to schedule production to make optimum use of finite resources to meet manufacturing deadlines. By gradually bringing the software into use, the team was able to constantly improve the data that was fed into the software to make it work in the best way for the firm. It also meant that Preactor could be integrated with Lechler's existing IT solutions including SAP. The resulting bespoke software means it is easy even for staff who aren't skilled in using it to update schedules or add new work orders without any specialist knowledge of the system.
"Preactor has proved to be suitable for typical chemical companies' manufacturing operating processes," said Malinverno. "The problems and constraints of the business can be modelled beyond the pure capacity utilisation of resources."