Extend the Value of ERP

Integration with manufacturing operations promises substantial benefits.

By Fred Reever, CISUG, and Frank Kochendoerfer, SAP

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Then, a red indicator for an abnormal situation lights up in the production performance section of workplace, and the demo goes through all the efforts required to deal with the problem. This involves 38 distinct steps and collaboration with operations, maintenance and sales staff and a customer; these are detailed in a sidebar below.

The demo concludes with a discussion of how leaders can follow-up to validate and quantify the value of an integrated/collaborative environment in an organization and define the steps to create an implementation plan. The initial step is to pinpoint short-term opportunities to enhance the performance of the ERP system and to determine, quantify and prioritize specific areas of manufacturing improvement. The process will identify gaps in a company’s process, personnel and systems that need to be addressed, and thus enable developing a roadmap to fill these gaps. The key message is to leverage what an organization has and to start small and grow, but get started.

Improve your Vision
CISUG has developed an interactive presentation of the vision that demonstrates the value of an integrated/collaborative manufacturing environment. This demo serves as the cornerstone for showing the tangible benefits of such a strategy. The reactor scenario is just one of several that were created by the CISUG team as possible demo candidates. The demo is available in a flash-drive version that describes the situation and depicts how an integrated, collaborative team would respond. It also is available online. Contact either of us by e-mail to get access to the demo.

A Real-World Scenario

Here’s how a problem in an emulsion polymerization reactor could play out in an integrated/collaborative environment:

1. Time is 0730 on Thursday, June 15. During turnover from the 12–8 shift, one of the control-room operators notes the current status of each of his four units. Reactors A and B each have about three hours remaining to completion, Reactor D is being discharged to drumming, and Reactor C has just been brought online and catalyst addition had been activated.
2. The oncoming operator accesses his operator workplace, validates the status of each unit, and assesses his key reaction indicators. He notices that the catalyst feed rate for Reactor C is showing erratic behavior. In addition, the online prediction models indicate a worsening future trend.
3. He accesses the history of the catalyst feed rate. At the same time he “pings” the mobile unit of the plant-floor operator to alert him to the potential problem.
4. Reacting to the ping, the plant-floor operator downloads the P&I (piping and instrumentation) schematic for Reactor C on his way to the unit.
5. From the catalyst feed-rate history, the control-room operator notices that the feed rate has been in control but fluctuating with a high frequency and trending downward. The future predictions confirm this assessment.
6. The control-room operator downloads this information to the plant-floor operator, who observes some seal leakage at the catalyst feed pump and high chatter from the pump-discharge pressure gauge.
7. The plant-floor operator isn’t able to stop the seal leakage. He pings the control-room operator to update him on the situation and enters a maintenance order for future repair of the surfactant pump.
8. The repair order is automatically entered into the SAP maintenance system and notification is automatically sent to the plant maintenance manager.
9. The control-room operator continues to observe erratic catalyst feed rates but, although the key reaction parameters are still within specifications, he’s concerned about the catalyst feed pump’s ability to support the next scheduled production batches. Process stability and quality predictions indicate that there’s a higher than normal risk that production won’t meet the committed plan.

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