PLASTON AG: Production with a clear view – thanks to QlikView
"By using QlikView, we were able to consolidate MES and ERP data easily for the first time and increase evaluation flexibility. We now have an optimized production control system and thus an effective control instrument at our disposal".
Martin Schegg, Head of Global Operations, PLASTON AG
For more than 50 years PLASTON AG has specialised in the development, manufacture and sale of plastic products. The focus is on the production of industrial cases, e.g. for power tools such as drills. More than four million of these quality cases are produced every year and around 40 tons of plastic granulate are processed every day. The company is considered the world’s leading supplier of plastic packaging solutions. The company’s range of services also includes sophisticated plastic visible parts for equipment and machine housings as well as the assembly of technical assemblies. The service covers the entire value-added cycle from development to production, finishing and logistics.
The company is part of the PLASTON Group, which employs around 450 people at three production sites in Switzerland, the Czech Republic and China as well as a sales office in the USA.
The company’s reporting system should be optimized in order to better meet its own high demands for quality and efficiency of products and processes. “Until now, we only had limited static reporting options available,” says Martin Schegg, Head of Global Operations, PLASTON AG. “In addition, the loading and processing time was too long for our needs.”
PLASTON was looking for a dynamic business intelligence solution with which all analysis and reporting requirements could be mapped. The data was to be based on information from the Manufacturing Execution System (MES) T.I.G. and the Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP) Microsoft Dynamics.
The plastics professionals also attached great importance to user-friendliness and the ability to visualize data graphically to make it easier to understand.
“We have evaluated some BI products in the past. These were partly not representable for us by the necessary investments in database servers. Other cube-based BI systems did not meet our expectations due to the development effort,” explains Carsten Sacher, Head of Information Technology, PLASTON AG.
PLASTON got on the “right track” when it came to the solution via the MES provider. The MES provider provides customers with a BI cockpit based on the QlikView data discovery solution. At first glance, QlikView looked like a solution that could meet PLASTON’s requirements – which was confirmed at second glance, Sacher said. “We also took a closer look at some references and were pretty quickly convinced that QlikView was exactly the tool we needed.
The data discovery platform’s storage-based technology enables the consolidation of relevant data from multiple sources into a single application. Self-service users can examine data in all directions and independently evaluate it. Various visualization functions ensure a clear presentation of the evaluation results.
PLASTON brought the Liechtenstein company ppmc AG on board for the realization of the project. The decisive factor was not only their BI competence: – the IT service provider is a certified QlikView Solution Provider – but also the physical proximity, as the Head of Information Technology emphasizes: “You do a lot online nowadays, but it is simply more pleasant and goal-oriented for us to sit face to face. Our ppmc contact person comes to us and together we work through the respective topics directly.”
Initially, a QlikView Server Small Business Edition was set up and the data from the MES and ERP systems connected. ppmc was also able to score here with its comprehensive technological competence in ERP and MES.
ppmc developed a cockpit that allows users to navigate to different areas for maximum efficiency in terms of licensing costs.
Areas of application and benefits
“Users can jump from a home page to the information relevant to them,” says Sacher. “Non-relevant information is hidden.”
Production can, for example, compare the performance of different machines or time periods or call up evaluations of the individual shifts. Defined reasons for downtime can also be individually evaluated on an ad-hoc basis.
In addition, analyses of the top/flop products are available as well as evaluations of the orders according to criteria such as machine group, articles, tools and customers. Typical key figures such as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), Total Equipment Efficiency (TEE), quality rate and degree of utilization can also be called up.
“We produce products from our comprehensive range of over 1,000 different articles every day in three-shift operation,” says Schegg. “In the past, it was only after the end of the third shift, i.e. after 24 hours, that we could see where problems or breakdowns occurred. Today we can call up information directly and intervene immediately when we see deviations in the normal production process.”
For the sales area, the cockpit offers sales and turnover analyses according to criteria such as customer, articles and product groups – at group level (automated conversion of the respective national currency into Swiss francs) and broken down to the level of the individual branch. In addition, the contribution margin calculation with manufacturing costs and annual comparisons are shown.
The use of QlikView is to be further expanded. The wish list includes applications for purchasing, warehousing, quality management and margins. The data discovery platform is to be made available to users at all company locations.