Case Study: Sumitomo Electric Lightwave Improves Output and Delivery Times

4/28/16 3:00 PM

Sumitomo Electric Lightwave (SEL) manufactures pure glass-silica optical fibers that carry telecommunications signals around the globe. They are an industry leader due to their reputation for high standards in R&D, innovative design engineering, and solid manufacturing that dates back to 1897. SEL's workforce of 300 rigorously manufactures a complex product line of 6,000 different parts, assemblies, and systems.shutterstock_199541387_preview.jpegAPS: The Solution to Bottlenecks

Despite their success, SEL reached out to PlanetTogether to eliminate the manufacturing bottlenecks they were experiencing in production scheduling. Essentially, SEL wanted to optimize their plant efficiency. Director of Manufacturing Operations Gary Bishop's goal was “to deliver on accurate promise dates for customized fiber optic infrastructures, and maximize supply chain resources to meet growing product demand.” SEL needed a high-powered, data-driven scheduling system that could be customized specifically for their needs. The organization launched an intensive evaluation of possible vendors and chose PlanetTogether's Galaxy APS platform for its software functionality and value.

Improvements in Output and On-Time Delivery

A tight focus on desired outcomes and close cooperation between SEL and PlanetTogether resulted in a swift implementation and immediate success. The implementation process involved partnering with Accupointe, a leading specialist in systems integration. PlanetTogether integrated their Galaxy APS platform with Sumitomo's Manufacturing Execution System (MES). The integration quickly proved itself to the Sumitomo planning and scheduling team. With constraints identified, bottlenecks solved, and what-if scenarios allowing continual testing of models, SEL reached an impressive standard of efficiency. Accuracy on promise dates was boosted by eight percent and output increased by sixteen percent.

Enhanced Visibility and Production Control

The PlanetTogether team invested considerable time up-front working with SEL teams to learn the operational profile of each pertinent department. Implementation proceeded rapidly once PT was familiar with SEL's operation. The resulting integrated system offers multiple benefits. A visual display gives SEL a quick snapshot of changeover times and order runs on manufacturing lines. The APS software's drag and drop feature allows SEL managers to manipulate resources in real-time. Multiple schedulers are able to employ the system simultaneously. As a result, communication between teams remains up-to-date and crystal clear.

Bishop notes another important benefit of the Galaxy APS software: “...the ability to integrate preventative maintenance schedules with manufacturing schedules increases our uptime and capacity.” Two-way, real-time communications between plant operations, scheduling, and customer service has resulted in the improvements SEL was looking for.

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Topics: Advanced Planning and Scheduling, PlanetTogether, Case Studies, production planning, Implementation, APS, APS, integration


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