Lisi Aerospace, the worldwide manufacturing firm specialising in fasteners and structural components for aircraft, has improved customer service and reduced inventories using technology from Barloworld Supply Chain Software, the provider of SMART supply chain planning and optimisation software and value-driven services.
Latest research from KPMG reports that manufacturers are operating in an environment of disruptive complexity, where intense competition, pricing pressures and new technologies are forcing them to evaluate business models and growth strategies.
Meeting capacity constraints and price challenges head on, Barloworld Supply Chain Software works with leading international companies in the aerospace and defence industry to integrate best-practice inventory management methodologies using world-class decision support tools.
Lisi Aerospace's service-led project began in 2013, with the objective to achieve a 95% on-time product delivery rate across its international customer base.
To get a better understanding of its customers' requirements, Lisi Aerospace re-organised the structure of its Paris-based customer service team to give them more time to focus on quotations and demand management with the aim of improving the order process. It also sought a best-practice solution to help its team analyse the accuracy of the orders submitted by customers and improve the speed of manufacture.
"Previously, we would incorporate the customer's own forecasts and orders into our ERP with basic checks in Excel, liaising with contractors where appropriate," said Lisi Aerospace demand management director, Laurent Lechopier. "This was not only a long process but also had a high margin for error. Once an order was in the ERP system, it was also difficult to incorporate last minute customer requests and check that the quantities stated matched their actual needs."
In conjunction with its own internal processes, Lisi Aerospace's Paris headquarters incorporated Barloworld's OPTIMIZA software into the process, an integrated tool specifically designed to connect demand and supply planning to provide an optimum view of next orders and replenishment plans. This has now been rolled out across the organisation's European customer base, with full coverage planned across North America, improving Lisi Aerospace's ability to plan ahead and optimise manufacturing across its different sites.
A key part of the project was reducing the time employees spent working on spreadsheets, enabling them to dedicate more resource to analysing the data before it went into the ERP system. In turn, Lisi Aerospace reports that this has improved dialogue and relationship with customers and helped to avoid the cost of creating unnecessary inventory, including the wrong part or volume of inventory being manufactured due to a mistake in the customer file.
"As well as focusing our production capacity on customer real needs, the new system has enabled us to understand customer requirements far in advance of what was previously possible," added Lechopier. "We've also found that customers are eager to work with us to get a more personalised and accurate service, which means we can prepare our own production timescales ahead of time. In future, we expect to reduce inventories substantially with an accurate production planning of customer orders and to achieve our customers' objectives in terms of delivery performance."
Asked to rate their top supply chain challenges, respondents to the 2015 KPMG Global Manufacturing Outlook (GMO) survey confirmed that a lack of flexibility and responsiveness to changes in demand or product mix is their most frequent issue. Here, Barloworld Supply Chain Software's SMART supply chain planning and optimisation software and value-driven services support organisations by improving visibility of forecast data, identifying excess stock and developing internal planning skills and capabilities.