COMPASS helps TAML’s Composites Aerospace Manufacturing Increase Operational Efficiency and Reduce Scheduling Time by 75%

TATA Advanced Materials Limited (TAML), a subsidiary of TATA Industries Limited, is a pioneer and leader in composites manufacturing solutions in India. TAML caters to the aerospace manufacturing industry and various other sectors across the globe. Housing state-of-the-art infrastructure in a 16-acre facility, they employ more than 500 skilled engineers and operators.

CHALLENGE

Composite aerospace parts manufacturing is an extremely complex process that involves deep bills of materials and long lead times, extensive tooling requirements, specialized labour constraints, critical oven batching, as well as material expiration and other time-sensitive considerations. Currently, no out-of-the-box planning and scheduling software accommodates all of these complexities.

The industry is also facing a boom that comes with its own set of challenges; composite parts now comprise up to 50% of an aircraft, and there is an increasing demand for aeroplanes, putting pressure on manufacturers to increase overall capacity. But increasing capacity is no small undertaking when there is capital-intensive, long lead-time equipment involved. So, manufacturers like TAML need to look at how to optimize existing processes, how to become more efficient and get more out of their existing factory to meet current demand.

TAML employs a team of 14 schedulers who were each dedicating approximately 28 hours per week to planning activities, using an Excel model to manually produce a schedule that was often tedious, time consuming and sub-optimal. TAML’s CEO, S. R. Mukherjee, comments, “Last year we grew by 50% in aerospace production. This year we are looking to grow by 40%. The magnitude of our growth and the sheer number of parts we need to produce make it almost impossible to manually keep track of our scheduling and production requirements.”

With increasing demand and aggressive growth targets, TAML realized the need to upgrade from their time-intensive spreadsheet to a more efficient production planning and scheduling system. They required a system that would integrate seamlessly with SAP to deliver accurate and feasible real-time schedule generation capability to optimize operations and utilize resources more efficiently.

SOLUTION

TAML evaluated a number of solutions before selecting COMPASS (Composites Planning and Scheduling System), which could be customized to accurately capture and account for all the complex and critical constraints unique to their business. COMPASS, jointly developed by Stigmergy Solutions and Visual8, capitalized upon Visual8’s planning and scheduling software development skills and Stigmergy’s implementation experience in the composites industry.

COMPASS is a real-time decision support tool embedded with intelligent scheduling logic to take the guesswork out of schedule creation and production planning. COMPASS was seamlessly integrated with TAML’s SAP system to provide the organisation with accurate and feasible real-time schedule generation capability. COMPASS could generate a schedule in a matter of minutes rather than days, making shop floor operations more responsive, allowing critical resources to be utilized more efficiently and freeing up the schedulers’ time for identifying inefficiencies and problem solving.

TAML is the first company in the industry to implement such an advanced system for planning and scheduling. Mukherjee comments, “With the growth in our order volumes, we needed to have complete control of the scheduling in the shop. COMPASS has a very powerful engine that could be custom programmed to handle all of our constraints and configured to our exact business requirements.”

RESULTS

With COMPASS, TAML has the capability to achieve nearly 100% on time delivery, maximize throughput, optimize resource allocation and effectively monitor shop-floor performance. Scheduling time has been reduced by 57% and TAML has new visibility and control over their manufacturing processes. Mukherjee comments, “I now have the real-time data in front of me when I need it. I can see work orders, work in progress, aging of work orders and what needs to be cleared. Overall we have more discipline and accuracy in our on-time confirmation.”

COMPASS has also improved the data accuracy in TAML’s ERP, by identifying data issues and simplifying clean-up. The implementation exercise also helped TAML streamline their processes. Mukherjee comments, “Going over our processes in minute detail with the COMPASS team helped us understand what we were doing well and what we were doing less efficiently, and our routing and BOM have become extremely efficient. The COMPASS team are very dedicated and open, and they are willing to learn as well as teach. I am very positive about the software and our ability to meet future demands.”

Although COMPASS has only recently gone live, early results and expectations are:

Hours Per Person Per Week for Planning & Scheduling
Before implementation: 28
Current status: 7
6-month target: 4

Aging of Work Orders
Before implementation: 1000+ work orders aging over 30 days
Current status: 80% reduction in ageing of work orders
6-month target: 100% reduction in ageing of work orders

Plan vs. Actual
Before implementation: 96%
6-month target: 100%

OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency)
Before implementation: 72%
6-month target: 85%

WIP vs. Demand
Before implementation: 48%
6-month target: 40%

Average Inventory Holding
Before implementation: 85 days
6-month target: 60 days

Mukherjee concludes, “We can now provide more transparency to our customers. There is an issue in the aerospace industry of timely delivery. Going forward, I think our customers will be very pleased.”