The planning software, developed through EUREKA research project PlannerOne, provides an affordable advanced planning and scheduling solution for SMEs in manufacturing sector that will help them respond to market challenges, reduce production costs while improving productivity and customer service.
The commercialisation of PlannerOne has so far been a success. Over 50 customers are already using the technology, with a deal with Microsoft signed. The reason, says René Desvignes, CEO of PlannerOne lead partner ORTEMS, is simple. There is a clear return on investment, and it works. ORTEMS expects a strong increase in demand over the next 12 months, and is forecasting 200 customers by early 2015. The results have so far enabled the company to report an extra €1.5M in revenue while consequently increasing its staff.
FORECAST FOR SUCCESS
“This is about transferring innovation to real people,” says Desvignes. “If you are involved in planning, you face enormous challenges; machines break, raw materials are late, people get sick, order priorities get shifted and new demands are raised. You are constantly trying to be cost competitive and deliver on dates that are accurate.”
Trying to plan a month or even a week ahead on a spreadsheet can be a thankless task; while one might spend a great deal of time putting it together, an equal amount of time can be spend reworking it for every unforeseen market change. Mid-sized-companies operating in today’s economic climate cannot afford to waste time or resources.
OVER 50 CUSTOMERS ARE ALREADY USING THE TECHNOLOGY, WITH A DEAL WITH MICROSOFT SIGNED.
This is something that ORTEMS wanted to change. “We began to wonder: could we deliver advanced planning to the mid-market?” says Desvignes. “So we started to discuss the issue with the German company Asseco Solutions AG, a leader in this market segment, and this was how the PlannerOne project started.”
“The combined expertise of ORTEMS and Asseco Solutions has resulted in the first fully integrated ERP/APS – ed. enterprise resource planning and advance planning and scheduling - solution for mid-sized companies,“ says Holger Nawratil, a board member at Asseco. “If you use PlannerOne, you open up your PC, and your old planning task is already done,” continues Desvignes. “So your job now is to look at the planning and think how you can optimise, according to your needs. Any recalculations and “what if” analyses are completed automatically.”
And unlike a spreadsheet, the tool is graphical; planners are able to visualise the schedule, and drag and drop items where needed. Changes can be adapted in real time. “The difference now is that you are piloting your resources to the strategy of your company,” says Desvignes. Manufacturers can give customers accurate delivery dates that they know will be respected. “With PlannerOne, customers have seen a 15 to 20% improvement in productivity. This is because businesses are now not wasting time; they are able to get on with the job.” For innovators, time is of the essence.