Gebhardt Fördertechnik GmbH





Machinery & Construction

Digitalization in production scheduling for plant engineering

For some years now the topics Industry 4.0, Smart Factory, AI etc. have been discussed, but in reality almost all medium and large companies in Germany still plan their production with Excel. Many thought that supplementing their ERP system with an MES system would be the solution for lean production, but many realize that they cannot do without manual planning with Excel.

Production planning is the brain or backbone of a factory, and all the organs of the company are geared towards carrying out their respective activities just-in-time. If the production planning is flawed, expensive wastes are the result.

Most suppliers of planning software have a “fragmented” portfolio of functionally independent applications rather than seamlessly integrated applications. However, what is essential for Industry 4.0 is fully automated APS/SCP software to “orchestrate” horizontal, end-to-end and cross-functional processes. Asprova software is an algorithmic planning system that meets these requirements and gives you more added value.

Initial situation GEBHARDT Company

The ERP system of the GEBHARDT GmbH is SAP. Until the introduction of Asprova APS software 2016, they were forced to plan and control their processes with Excel, i.e. manually. The in-house production depth is very high. With complex manufacturing processes (e.g. laser cutting, punching, bending, turning, milling, welding, pre-/final assembly, electrical assembly, etc.) including external production for galvanising and painting, it is impossible for a human brain (using Excel) to create an optimal sequence planning. The challenges at GEBHARDT company were

  • The planning know-how was almost exclusively in the head of the production manager.
  • The complexity of the planning processes increased continuously as the product portfolio and the number of projects grew.
  • The start date for production orders was determined by experience and corresponded to a push production. Start dates were constantly re-scheduled on demand.
  • The non-synchronous production of the individual components led to long lead times.
  • The high stagnation caused high inventories, especially semi-finished products.

The GEBHARDT GmbH enjoys constant growth. Due to the increase of the planning complexity, caused by the enormously increased order situation, an optimisation of the processes was necessary. The resulting requirements require a considerable increase in effectiveness and efficiency.

Planning challenges

The mapping of the GEBHARDT-specific rules and restrictions was a challenge, e.g.:

  • Multi-level finite capacity scheduling: for all individual processes, main resources and sub-resources must be planned simultaneously and taking finite capacities into account.
  • Automatic selection of alternative resources.
  • Synchronisation of parallel processes and merging processes.
  • Consideration of the availability of raw materials and semi-finished products.
  • Consideration of employee availability: shift calendar and holidays.
  • Outside production.

The most important requirement for planning software is the ability to represent the “reality” of the factory 100%, i.e. all product characteristics, processes, process rules and restrictions as well as planning restrictions are taken into account. Because even if a supposed minor detail cannot be represented, there is no longer any consistent logical consistency, the planning result is not realistic and you end up back with manual planning. So there is no middle way.


Important Asprova APS-System settings/functions for GEBHARDT

A kick-off workshop was held at the beginning of January 2016. This was followed by the creation of the interface to SAP. Go-live already took place at the beginning of July 2016 (incl. write-back of newly scheduled production orders from Asprova in SAP).


Important Asprova APS-System settings/functions for GEBHARDT

  • Skills/capacities and restrictions for all individual production resources (production facilities, jobs and employees).
  • For example, an edge matrix specifies which sheet metal may be produced on which edge bench.
  • Depending on the type of device, certain mounting locations are available. SAP specifies the workstation group, Asprova selects the optimum assembly site.
  • Process times, changeover times and waiting times between processes with individual rules without time-consuming data maintenance.
  • 20 external manufacturers (galvanising, painting, ...): each external manufacturer has a different lead time: Asprova automatically calculates collection and return delivery dates.
  • In the event of an overload of in-house resources, planners can decide after simulation which orders (components) are given to which external production

Consideration of material stocks:

  • Up to 100,000 components can be used for an end product. Asprova plans and takes into account: current stock levels, stock fluctuation and material receipt plan.
  • Asprova dynamically links individual components/parts to individual production orders, enabling a one-piece flow with synchronised sub-components.
  • Asprova schedules the timing (completion and demand) for all semi-finished products.
  • Material availability check based on parts list (material requirements) and stocks / orders / purchase requisition (requirement cover).
  • Remaining requirement quantity in parts list.
  • Posted quantity in current stock.
  • Order with quantity and material receipt date guaranteed by the supplier
  • BANF (purchase requisition) with quantity and desired delivery date.
  • Asprova calculates the earliest possible start date for a process. Depending on when a material is available, an operation can start at the earliest.
  • Consideration of the goods receipt processing time.
  • Missing parts list: if there are no stocks / orders / purchase requisition to cover requirements or if they are too late, they are listed per material number or per order (in a daily or weekly grid) in a pivot table. Asprova specifies the requirement date for these missing parts.

Sequence optimisation in the area of bending and turning:

  • Storage of the changeover time matrix in Asprova
  • Sequence planning is optimised to minimise changeover times, both in terms of time and with regard to alternative lathes and edging machines.

Planning logic and dispatching rules:

  • In Asprova, even complex dispatching rules can be set individually for each production order, resources, customer, ...
  • Sorting in multiple planning loops, different sequence rules (e.g. rework orders first; then priority for delivery dates and then production orders for stock)
  • Production of components, etc. according to the sequence and dates of assembly at the end customer
  • Asprova links the sub-components to the assembly order. The delivery date of the customer order is inherited into all suborders and sequences the mechanical production and assembly (pre- / final / electrical).

Interface to SAP:

  • • Once a day data is imported from SAP into Asprova (differential import): sales orders, planned and production orders, work plans, parts lists, material master data, material stocks, material orders, work progress in production, ...)

Planning run (rough) | Preliminary run

  • Planning is prepared, operations are created and all orders are linked together.
  • PDC and fixed processes are assigned.

Planning application heads and assembly.

  • Dispatching rule determines sorting of operations.
  • Forward with limited capacity if material is available by the delivery date, otherwise plan ahead even earlier.
  • If planned too early, adjust backwards.

Planning of subcomponents, adaptation of the assembly.

  • Subcomponents sorted forward depending on start Job header.
  • Operations in mechanical production again sorted according to characteristics such as sheet metal parameters, CNC programs (within the starting day of previous assignment).
  • • Schedule operations of non-deficit resources (lasers on Trumpf, electrical workshop, external production) again backwards to the start date of the next process/operation/production order; for each start time of the subsequent process the operations are used (1-3 days buffer).

Results of planning with Asprova:

  • Enabling the doubling of turnover within the last 4 years by 100% more output with the same production area as a result of reduced throughput times.
  • Very realistic and feasible sequence planning for each individual resource.
  • Process Synchronization.
  • Consideration of material availability in the planning.
  • Daily planning updates of over 30,000 production orders over a planning horizon of 24 months in advance in approx. 2 minutes.
  • Visualisation of the status of individual orders 24 months in advance through order GANTT diagram, resource GANTT diagram, table for sequence production, capacity utilisation diagram.
  • Reliable statements on the completion of individual customer orders.

Info about GEBHARDT:

The GEBHARDT Fördertechnik GmbH in Sinsheim, Baden-Württemberg is a provider of system solutions for internal logistics. For example, not only goods lifts, container, variable pallet transport systems or robot technology (driverless transport systems) are produced, but also complete storage systems for wholesale companies or car manufacturers, etc. The strength of GEBHARDT is the supply of software, electronics, robots and systems – “everything from one source”.

Visit GEBHARDT Conveyor Technology

KPI (plan evaluation)