abas ERP

Bergmann & Hillebrand

Case Study: Bergmann & Hillebrand:
Industry: Engineered to Order precision perforated plates
Employees: 45
Country: Germany
ERP always current through upgrades
"Using the abas Business Software, Bergmann & Hillebrand, manufacturers of precision perforated plates, could halve their flow times and significantly reduce the number of variants.
"Some years ago we had order flow times of six to seven weeks, today we are at two weeks", explains Klaus Menze. "In an emergency," the production manager of the perforated plate manufacturer Bergmann & Hillebrand continues, "we can also do it in three days." The reduction in order flow time is in a large part due to the ERP/PPC system from ABAS. 
The punched metal sheet specialist usually has an outline contract which roughly regulates the total release quantity of materials over the year, but leaves the exact delivery dates and quantities open until just before the order. In addition, the lot sizes have constantly become smaller in the last few years. "There are no longer figures of 40,000 units per month", regrets CEO Hartmut Hillebrand. "With a good order, we still produce 12,000 items, but an order can also just be for one item. Therefore, there is a frequent change of orders and - linked to this - in the tooling. Klaus Menze: "Proportionally, our set-up times are relatively high." For the 45 company employees the frequent order changes require a high degree of flexibility in production and process control.
Bergmann & Hillebrand got on board in 1987, in the meantime the abas Business Software has been upgraded several times. Currently version 11 of the ERP software from ABAS is in operation. 
Exact documentation
The focal point of the abas Business Software at Bergmann & Hillebrand is production planning, utilization of capacity and warehouse management. All employees, who use the system, have the same access authorization so details of each order can be checked at all times, i.e. which agreements have been entered into and which dead lines have to be kept. "Everyone of us can look at every proposal, even when it was generated by another administrator," explains the production manager, "that is the really convenient point about this ERP system."

If the order is issued, abas Business Software checks whether the capacities are sufficient to meet delivery dates and the necessary material is in stock. Menze: "The question of materials is clarified by the press of a button on the product master files." The system supplies information on whether enough raw materials and purchased parts are available and in which warehouse they can be found. "We can practically carry out an inventory at the press of a button," says business school graduate Hillebrand happily, "we only have to carry out spot checks." After the order date has been finalised, the work orders are printed and the work order documentation as well as the premium and picking tickets are generated. At the start of the week, the production plans and work order documentation are generated. Completed orders are reported back via PDC to the ERP system. Another check for correctness is carried out here before the order is closed. If bottleneck situations occur, such as lack of material or a due date is brought forward, then "our ability to improvise is required." The ERP software works as support in as much as different variants, e.g. a different type of material, can be run through. "Or we can change the specifications", explains Menze, "and then see if operations are speeded up." Bottleneck situations with regard to the machines are dealt with by the master craftsperson on site, who decides which order runs on which machine. "If all the standard capacities are used up, we work an additional shift", says Hartmut Hillebrand, referring to the advantages of a flexible company.

Administration complexity reduced
An important advantage of the abas Business Software is the reduction in variant diversity. "We have 25,000 products in our database alone", says Hartmut Hillebrand, "of which many are variants." For example, 35 different variants of shutter parts were produced for one of our customers. The ERP system combines these component groups in the different orders for the next days The advantage lies in achieving the maximum utilization of the machines and a shorter set up time - also in a reduced administration effort. The system combines for example all components which are to be made from one coil with a specific perforation in the next eight days. Menze: "Five products are in the perforation plan, but they are produced together. That saves enormously on set-up time and on strip stock."

As well as the production plan, abas Business Software also generates a plan for components which are to be coated. "When the work order documentation is written out," says production manage Menze, "a coating preview is immediately transmitted to the enameller. This is a great time advantage." With the push of a button the abas Business Software prints out the parts to be enamelled and informs the enameller, which orders are to be completed in the next few weeks. The enameller does not have to append the scheduling period to the production, but can order the material in advance and enamel the components immediately after they have been delivered.

Linked with production data capture
abas Business Software at the same time bundles parts with identical enamels. "Otherwise, we would have have to pay an ongoing additional charge for small quantities," explains Hillebrand. With production the ERP/PPC system is linked through a PDC (production data capture) solution. Included in the production is all data from the opening of an order, through all processes, to the conclusion of the order. The production manager: "Therefore, we know exactly how long we have been producing, where we stand with an order and what we are manufacturing at the moment. At the same time we record scrap quantity." Furthermore, the PDC data is used in the premium system. Hillebrand: "The actual costing and the quality assurance system are also linked to the PDC and ERP/PPC systems." The QA system is especially necessary for so called safety components. For example, the Baden company produces a safety component for an airbag manufacturer, for which the production process has to be documented step by step. Menze: "For this we need a lot processing module that can reproduce the production of a component from start to finish." The lot number must be the same on all documents, so that in case of an inspection, it can be verified at which point in time, with which material and in which quantity on which machine the component was produced.

The QA system was even further developed by Bergmann & Hillebrand and interchanges data with abas Business Software. "The PPC system learns in this way", explains Klaus Menze, " how high the failure rate is, what must be produced as replacements and whether the component meets specification." These safety components can therefore not a be produced as a part of a variants manufacture. "The system must always be able to ascertain in which lot in which package unit the article concerned is. This cannot happen in variants manufacturing", the production manager explains the problem. In the tool manufacturing department, which alone manufactures all tools for production - Menze: "That is where our know-how is" - a PDC system was installed too. Bergmann & Hillebrand operate about 4700 tools. 2500 of these are active tools, estimates production manager Menze. The PDC system should get a better grasp of the total costs for the tools. "We do not need as much data for this as in production", explains Klaus Menze. CEO Hartmut Hillebrand adds: "When the user utilizes the abas Business Software system well, he has considerable advantages. Such solutions as the link to PDC system, for example, do not have too many companies our size."