Hutchinson is the global leader in elastomeric rubber and thermoplastic solutions for the aerospace, automotive, and industrial markets. In an effort to continuously improve its production processes, the company has deployed an MES (Manufacturing Execution System) solution aiming at increasing production reliability and efficiency at the Amiens site in France and Lodz in Poland.
Stephane Chabaille, ERP Manager at Hutchinson, has offered feedback on the deployment of this solution through an interview.
The Reliability of Production Processes at the Heart of Our Continuous Improvement Approach
“For 4 years, we have been working on a continuous improvement process with a strong desire to make our production processes more reliable for both our customers and our employees.
“Until today, to schedule our production, we planned in infinite capacity using the ERP and distributing WOs in paper versions in the workshop. Then, we collected data regarding the quantities manufactured using barcode terminals. We worked in push production, meaning we could not guarantee reliable deadlines for our customers. Our production monitoring system was far from optimal. As a result, we decided to implement an MES tool in the workshop to improve our production scheduling.”
Switching From Our Whiteboard to a Digital Solution
“We had a very clear idea of what we wanted. Our production planning was to be simplified and converted into charts by a production sequencer. We wanted to develop this process into a digital synchronous sequencer. Therefore, we needed a highly visual solution.
“We had benchmarked 3 or 4 different companies. After careful consideration of the different proposals, we selected 2, including Alpha-3i and IMCO Software who were already referenced within the group. It is their responsiveness that has tipped the scales. The company was the first to answer and present us with a software that met our expectations.”
Our Goal: Placing People at the Heart of Our Approach
“Beyond an MES solution, it is a real visual management approach that we have initiated. The tool visually alerts us regarding the production capacity and facilitates the flow of information within the plant. Thus, issues can be easily identified and solved.
“The tool has three visual levels. At the first level, operators have a clear view of the sequencing of WOs (Work Orders), messages, and irregularities. At the second level,
“workshop managers have an instant view of the current WOs and issues detected. Finally, the last level enables you to compile all the data of each AUP (Autonomous Unit of Production) and have an overall view of production.
“In parallel, we also implemented the CIMAG Attendance software, which facilitates the management of employees’ schedules. Thus, we can schedule production according to the available workforce and plan our activity accordingly.”
Advantages for Our Customers, but not Only
“We have been working on this project for 15 months and the solution is deployed at 90% in the French site and 50% in Poland. However, many benefits can already be seen. We are now working in pull production. We are able to identify issues faster and thus provide the necessary solutions. In addition, we have gained reliability in the eyes of our customers due to greater compliance with OTD (On Time Delivery); their trust in us has increased. Beyond the facts, our image has improved because we have introduced visual management in our workshops, an effort widely welcomed by our customers.
“But that is not all! Internally, the production processes have significantly improved and the workshop has been redesigned so that everyone can access the display screens. In the end, each work day becomes more flexible and convenient.
“Later on, we want to completely eliminate our ERP from the production workshop. To this aim, we will integrate the traceability of our production in our MES tool so that all processes and operations involved in the manufacture are completely managed by the CIMAG Production solution.”
– Stephane Chabaille, ERP Manager at Hutchinson Excellence System