Leading Global Chemicals Manufacturer
Client wanted to optimize the blending of different batches of component materials where the resulting blend had to pass a strict set of quality specifications.
Profit Point engaged with the customer to design a tool using Aspen Tech’s Supply Chain ManagementTM suite. The tool uses the built in optimization engine to find the best solution and is also highly flexible in allowing the user to specify certain specific constraint values that must be adhered to.
This would include such things as:
- Using a specific amount of a batch of a component material to consume it up before an expiration date
- Specifying tighter specifications for certain customer requirements
- Choosing different quality specifications to include in the objective function to drive the optimization
A key requirement was to interface this tool directly to the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to allow for automatically downloading data from the ERP system (i.e. current inventory levels and quality analysis results for each batch of each component material) and after the problem is solved, automatically uploading the component material reservations back to the production activities in the ERP system. This automated approach saves both time and ensures accurate data transmission as opposed to relying on manual data entry.
The client has been able to greatly reduce the amount of inventory stored of the component materials which has numerous benefits including:
- Reducing the costs required to store the materials (such as avoiding costs for storing material at an outside warehouse)
- Avoiding scrapping costs due to batches not being blended before the expiration date
- Less inventory keeps the plant much more neat and tidy which contributes to a safer work environment
- Greater rigor in their blending work process ensuring greater data accuracy, higher finished goods quality and better customer service
In addition, while these blends could be calculated, it would take much more time and the results would not be as good. Overall the annual benefits of using this tool for just one plant are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.