Tetra Pak improves budgeting capacity and cost optimisation with CADENAS

Intelligent Parts Management, the link between Engineering and Purchase - by Massimo Fucci

In a highly competitive environment such as the market for food machinery and solutions, optimising the cost of manufacturing products has a direct impact on the ability of companies to compete, regardless of their size. One of the areas to focus on is, without doubt, the identification and elimination of hidden costs.
The intelligent and optimised management of parts and components leads to significant savings. Of course, there is a need for commitment and innovation orientation to manage the changes that each change in culture, process, and enabling technology brings to the company. An aspect that is very clear to Tetra Pak given the experimentation carried out in intelligent parts management.

Making food safe and available everywhere while protecting what is good: food, people and the planet is the leitmotif that guides the activities of Tetra Pak, the company that first introduced aseptic technology, which allows commercially sterile food products to be packaged so that they last longer, are distributed longer and stored without the need for refrigeration or preservatives. Remaining at the forefront requires commitment, passion, anticipatory strategic skills, but also effective operations capable of ensuring the economic sustainability of long-term projects.

With this in mind, enabling technologies play a primary role. In particular, the company has recognised parts management as a key element for a better ability to budget and optimise the various costs (design, production, warehouse) that contribute to the total cost of products. Also because - if we count - each poorly used or even unused product/subsystem/component code costs companies an average of EUR 1,500 per year, and the order of magnitude of these codes often exceeds three/four zeros (Source: Observatory Pentaconsulting Srl - Advisor Market tools and technologies for product development).

We talked about this with Peterhenry Proto, Manager MDM & Corporate Standard D&T Engineering Integration at Tetra Pak Packaging Solutions Spa, who recently identified and followed a pilot project. A conversation that allowed us to establish a whole series of considerations that could be useful for those who want to intelligently manage parts and components in the product development and manufacturing process.

It is necessary to start from a cultural historical fact: in the food industry, but not only in the food industry, standardisation of the parts pool is not given particular attention because there is objectively a low serialisation of drawing components. Generally in structured companies there is a standardisation department that is responsible for optimising the assortment. Over time, variants and configurability inevitably grow, almost exponentially increasing the quantity of drawing components. If one adds further factors, such as a substantial reduction in time to market, an increase in the number of designers (in-house and consultants), it is easy to understand how the need to focus on optimising the management of the parts/component pool is a necessary path to remain competitive.

Often the subject is underestimated and remains on the to-do list for some time, also because it is realised early on that a tool (application software) is not enough, but a supplier capable of supporting its use in the company is needed and, not least, some change in processes and people.

In the Tetra Pak case, the company carried out a preliminary evaluation of the actual capabilities of CADENAS' PARTsolutions, in particular the effectiveness of the topology search functionality. The approach was experimental, so the testing of the software was geared towards actually assessing the possible benefits of its implementation. Multidisciplinary involvement was necessary to assess the impact from design to design-to-cost, from negotiation to should-cost analysis. The objectives were essentially twofold: to reduce duplication of similar components at the design stage and to maximise the accuracy of the should cost calculation to support more focused budgeting.

Developing projects, albeit pilot projects of this magnitude, brings with it several critical elements. Firstly, the interconnection of the different databases from which data is drawn due to IT security policies. Secondly, as is often the case in companies, the various 3D models are not homogeneous; in fact, they are affected by the various modalities and rules that have evolved over the years, so that not all models contain the same metadata, with the associated difficulties.

These are all issues that can only be addressed and resolved if a collaborative way of working can be established between the IT department's professionals and the supplier's support technicians (CADENAS).

One of the most important steps is to be able to identify the real benefits of the pilot phase and to hypothesise the impact in a steady state configuration.

The biggest benefits indicated by the pilot project lie in the area of should-cost (quotation) and supplier management engineering. Real-life case studies were generated in the project that showed an important optimisation of negotiations and component assortment, with an expected impact of an interesting cost reduction.

A separate discussion, because it is more complex, concerns the issue of duplication of parts in the design phase.

In a nutshell, if we were to indicate tangible and intangible benefits, our attention should focus on the ability to pass on historical knowledge by replacing it with a technological tool, which leads to the possibility of accessing the optimisation of part by 20-40 percent depending on the complexity of the part. In addition, there is the potential capacity to reduce duplication by about 20 percent.

However, this must be verified on a case-by-case basis after a specific period of use.


Author: Massimo Fucci

You can read the original article here.

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