Project: Harmonised Planning of Sales, Purchasing, Supply Chain and Production

After a prolonged period of continuous economic growth, full order books and high utilization of production capacities the European automotive industry is shocked by plummeting sales through the abrupt changes in the global economic climate. This development is a turning point for the whole industry and is characterized by a dramatic drop in customer demand leading to reduced working hours, layoffs and idle factories. In order to meet those challenges, the industry has to perform a paradigm change. Due to the fact that the up- and downsizing of capacity along the value chain is a very protracted and costly process, the flexibility has to be generated by the planning process and the resulting logistics. Furthermore, decisions concerning the increase or decrease of internal and external capacities have to be hedged by sound and resilient planning processes._x000D__x000D_The problem described above is especially challenging for the European automotive industry and other industries with complex products and a high-degree of individualization according to the customers’ needs. For example, Audi offers more than 10 to the power of 20 and BMW even more than 10 to the power of 32 different possibilities, to configure the different components and the resulting complexity is tremendous. This intricate product structure of European car manufacturing, which is highly successful with customers, results in difficult planning problems in production and logistics. _x000D__x000D_However, those problems do not just arise on the short-term level, where they are highly visible. It is equally or even more difficult to predict the behaviour, trends and requirements of the different markets. Based on such market forecasts, decisions with respect to capacity and availability for vehicle production are made, i.e. about contracts to suppliers or mid-term investment into production facilities._x000D__x000D_Planning for vehicle production is done with a “cascading” planning horizon, ranging from long-term (multiple years) and mid-term planning (month to years) on one end to short-term planning (weeks to months) to sequencing (shifts to days) on the other end. The problem of cascading planning is that the different planning documents are badly or not aligned and often long-term plans do not reflect the restrictions of subsequent levels. Moreover, the plans are only updated at certain discrete periods, which is especially troublesome at the interface between mid-term planning (e.g. quarterly planning) and short-term planning (e.g. daily) often requiring expensive troubleshooting, if a plan can not be realized with the available production capacity. _x000D__x000D_The goal of this project is to develop a planning platform that harmonises the distribution, supply-network and production planning to continuously update sales forecasts, part requirements and production plans, in order to detect inconsistencies, potential for improvement and necessary action at an early stage. Such a platform would enable the planner, i.e. after a change in the sales forecast, to recognize if the forecast can be met by the available production capacity or if extra capacity has to be built up or certain orders need to be outsourced. Such a system would indicate problems (e.g. missing material, personnel or capacities) that currently occur in a late planning step, in the upstream planning stages. Early problem detection allows for quick responses of the planning personnel, for example to order missing materials or taking into account updated delivery dates for scheduling and capacity assignment._x000D__x000D_The project idea presented in this proposal has been an ongoing point of discussion in Manufacturing Engineering, over the last decades. However, it has not been solved satisfactorily, especially not down to a level, where the mid- and long-term plans are compared to the actual bill of material of the products to be built. The described environment of Just in Sequence production in the automotive industry, with built-to-order manufacturing of products of highest complexity is a perfect test-bed for such a system. In order to tackle this challenging problem a complementary project consortium was formed. It consists of the flexis AG and Fraunhofer Austria (FhA). _x000D__x000D_flexis is a provider of standard software for automotive and supply industry focussed on sequencing, sequence-oriented collaboration, programme planning, demand-capacity-planning and -management and real-time supply chain monitoring. References of successful installations for companies include Daimler, Audi, VW, MAN, Honda or DAF._x000D__x000D_FhA’s Division for Production and Logistics Management is specialised in research and development of production and logistics systems. FhA has numerous contacts particularly to new OEMs’ sites in Central and Eastern Europe. The same applies to tier1 and 2 suppliers in those regions, which are in the mid-term also considered a target group for the solution. _x000D_

Acronym HarmoPlan (Reference Number: 5120)
Duration 01/04/2010 - 30/04/2012
Project Topic HarmoPlan is an intergrated planning solution for the harmonisation of sales, purchasing, supply chain and production planning along the planning cascade from long-, mid- to short-term planning, resulting in the realisation of cost savings and value additional potential.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
CO results are first a software prototype and second a standardized process for harmonized long-, mid- and short-term planning.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 3

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
2 flexis AG Coordinator Germany
2 Fraunhofer Austria Research GmbH Partner Austria