Årdal Maskinering will not do without ROB-EX for complex production scheduling

“When we get an order, it often consists of 40-50 parts that we must manufacture in different processes, and perhaps the order also has to be sent to one of our many subcontractors to get some kind of special treatment,” says Jørn Arvid Sæther, production manager at Årdal Maskinering. “In the past we used our ERP-system and an Excel spreadsheet to schedule the tasks and this was getting very chaotic.”

Complex manufacturing with short scheduling horizon

“The last three years we have increased sales enormously, and our production has become much more complicated,” Jørn Arvid Sæther cotinues. “With this many different orders, customers, and subcontractors it was impossible to keep track. Not least, because we work with very short delivery times. We rarely plan more than 1-2 months ahead, and in addition, very often we receive rush orders.”

Can see the entire production in one single picture

When Årdal Maskinering’s ERP-provider announced that they no longer would develop the solution’s scheduling module, the company chose to invest in ROB-EX. Jørn Arvid Sæther elaborates: “ROB-EX is developed specifically for production scheduling and is much more suitable than an ERPsystem. Among other things, ROB-EX has given us a significant better overview. We can see the entire sales order in one single picture, and at the same time, we can see all the different production orders that the sales order consists of. Furthermore, we can sort on individual parts of the process and see work load on both operators and machines all the way through production.”

Easier to make room for rush orders

“ROB-EX makes it possible for us to utilise our capacity much better than we could before”, adds Jørn Arvid Sæther. “I can see exactly how large the workload is on each operator and machine, and if we receive a rush order that we need to squeeze in between the other orders I can see what the consequences will be of doing so. Visually, what happens is that the rush order displace all production lines, and I can see where I need to make adjustments to make it all fit together again.”

A highly visual tool

“ROB-EX works really well visually,” Jørn Arvid Sæther continues. “For example, when I schedule a new order I get a red colour marking if my scheduling means that we will exceed the delivery time. We have many orders and customers that run parallel at the same time, and in our industry, we have to fight on delivery times. Therefore, it is important for us to have a tool that tells us what it takes to meet the timetable, both for our subcontractors and us.

ROB-EX reuse data from the ERP-system

ROB-EX is integrated with the company’s ERP-system and the two solutions exchange all necessary data automatically. Jørn Arvid Sæther says: “We have always been satisfied with our ERP-system, and we still are. The only problem was that we could not use it for complex production scheduling, but ROB-EX has solved this problem for us. Once a week, I hold a meeting with sales and production departments where we go through and prioritize all our resources one by one via big screen. Furthermore, our sales people can check the production schedule by using a viewer-feature, but without rights to edit.”

Simple remote support

When Jørn Arvid Sæther has questions regarding the use of ROB-EX, ROX-EX A/S connect via remote support, and they can look at the solution together. “It is very easy,” he says. “We have an assigned contact person that we can get hold of and who is good at helping us out. Not that it is necessary very often, and I think it has been easy to learn how to use the solution. Today, I am completely dependent on ROB-EX. Because of the complicated production that we have today, I could not imagine having to work without ROB-EX!”

About the customer

Årdal Maskinering process all types of metal and mainly supply components for the oil industry. The company has no products of their own, but manufactures to order, which stipulates high demands for production adaptability. Previously, detailed scheduling was performed in the company’s ERP-system in combination with Excel, but increased complexity in the production made it more and more difficult for the company to maintain control and overview. Therefore, they use ROB-EX from ROB-EX A/S for their production scheduling today.