LOCKDOWN ASSESSMENT: How DELMIA Ortems can help to ensure a manufacturer’s business continuity
Interview with Frédéric Gaborieau, Planner at MCPP France, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical Performance Polymers.
“Our teams switched from a three-shift system to a four-shift system (including weekends) to fulfil our clients’ orders. Without the DELMIA Ortems digital planning tool, our crisis management would have been much more complicated.”
From optimizing production methods to responding to incidents in all situations to ensure the production lines never stop, the planner’s role is essential in industry. By choosing the DELMIA Ortems advanced planning solution from Dassault Systèmes, MCPP France – a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical, world leader in the production of thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) and polyvinyl chloride compounds (PVC) – was able to handle the ups and downs of the pandemic and satisfy its newly “reoriented” clients to meet the needs of the global health crisis.
KEONYS brings you an exclusive testimonial from Frédéric Gaborieau, Head of TPE Market Planning at MCPP France.
KEONYS: Tell us about your company’s business.
FG: Mitsubishi Chemical Performance Polymers (MCPP) is a division of Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC). It employs 1,900 staff and its production site in Tiffauges in western France is one of MCPP’s largest. Our business consists of developing and manufacturing plastics for specific purposes, delivered in the form of pellets. Our clients, who come from the automotive (airbag covers, seals, etc.), building (shutters), and consumer goods sectors, then use a variety of processing methods (mainly injection and extrusion) to produce the plastic parts they need for their business.
KEONYS: What is your biggest challenge in terms of planning?
FG: Planning is key to tackling our industrial and sales challenges. It is an essential step in meeting our commitments and it requires considerable experience to factor in all the parameters associated with the specific features of our products and machinery. In addition, unexpected events can occur such as breakdowns, operator absences, and late deliveries of raw materials, which require an immediate review of production schedules. Before we implemented our IT tool, planning could take up to three hours a day. Replacing our old wall planner (with its 900 forms) with the DELMIA Ortems software made the production schedules much more visible while simplifying their organization. This agile, collaborative scheduling and planning solution interfaces with SAP to create a single, reliable schedule to ensure we meet our delivery commitments.
KEONYS: What organizational adjustments did you make during the lockdown?
FG: Our business slowed a little at the beginning of the lockdown, and the factory shut down for two days. In agreement with our Social and Economic Committee, we restarted our production facilities on March 23rd with a few machines and a reduced number of operators, while of course adhering to social distancing guidelines. Many of our employees worked from home and/or part-time. We organized an efficient method of gradually ramping up production and switched from a three-shift system to a four-shift system including weekends.
KEONYS: How did you manage your clients’ orders?
FG: We had to respond urgently to orders for TPE plastics from clients who had repurposed their production lines during the pandemic. Given the health crisis, these were the orders we prioritized. They included new markets for Western Europe and food distributors in France, and there was one client in particular, a motor vehicle equipment manufacturer, that repurposed its production facilities to make surgical masks. Without the DELMIA Ortems digital planning tool, our crisis management would have been much more complicated. Because the software establishes a single inter-departmental planning repository, we were able to achieve significant productivity gains. Planning could be done remotely during the height of the pandemic, which would have been completely impossible with the traditional planning methods we were using before. Our links to our production and sales teams remained intact, and videoconferencing allowed us to collaborate effectively. We are particularly proud to have been able to honor our orders to meet each client’s specific needs in a context of urgency.