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The Preactor Group, provider of Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) solutions for over 18 years, has announced major benefits at the Malacky plant of Tower Automotive.
A leading integrated global manufacturer of engineered structural metal components and assemblies primarily serving automotive original equipment manufacturers, the Tower Group had revenues of $1.6 billion in 2009 with Tower Automotive having a turnover of approximately EUR 82 million. A significant part of the company's growth has been the Preactor Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) system first implemented by Preactor and QAD partner Minerva. With representatives in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Minerva recommended Preactor to Tower Automotive Malacky to accompany its new QAD ERP system, also implemented by Minerva. Previously the company had been making its plans manually with the help of Microsoft Excel which had many disadvantages, most significantly it being a highly labour intensive process.
Marian Szabo is Tower Automotive Planning and Purchasing Manager and she explains why this proved to be a very positive decision. "In retrospect, I see the fact that production was launched along with the planning as very positive. It was a great advantage for us in terms of time saved, with the preparation of data for planning and launching of new items being evenly distributed in time."
The company has just upgraded to the latest version of Preactor, version 11, although Preactor has been delivering benefits since it was first implemented. Following the introduction of Preactor, Tower Automotive has significantly reduced overall planning time. Previously the planner used to spend as many as 10 hours per day with the preparation of just one plan; now the complete planning process takes only one hour a day, with the remaining time devoted to other activities associated with the production process. Work in Progress (WIP) has been also reduced along with order fulfilment in the long-term and a further reduction in machinery downtime. One of the most impressive benefits has been the reduction in stock turnover which used to be 25 days and is now only 9 days.
Not only has Preactor's use grown as the company has expanded, Preactor has helped facilitate this growth. For example, the monthly plan began at a volume of SK 200,000 and has risen to about EUR 7 million. However, in spite of this the number of employees has remained unchanged, thanks in part to the production planning efficiencies delivered by Preactor. Marian Szabo is emphatic about what Preactor has brought to the company. "Preactor has grown with the increased production at Tower and without any increase in human resources. I cannot imagine managing the entire planning process without Preactor."
The entire Tower Group has been inspired by the success of Tower Automotive Malacky's planning system, and the vision is to spread Preactor to other plants in Europe if the latest upgrade is successful. As regards the prospects for this year's production, Marian Szabo concludes, "This year we intend to expand production with a new Volkswagen project which is currently under development and its particular components are already being tested. However, with Preactor we are sure that the project increase will not entail any unforeseen situations in production planning."
Mike Novels, Preactor CEO, comments on the long term success achieved by Tower Automotive Malacky.
"A key strength of Preactor is its ability to enable and enhance existing investments in ERP and this is an excellent example of Preactor working in harmony with QAD to deliver sustained, combined benefits. Minerva's deep understanding of its customers as well as both Preactor and QAD have been essential to working hand in hand with Tower Automotive to seamlessly upscale its use of Preactor as the company has grown. We share the company's optimism looking to its future and expanded use of Preactor."