News | April 20, 2012

Speedy Delivery: Optimizing Parts Management Keeps Production On Schedule


Fischcon PV, the Dutch-based manufacturer of custom hydraulic packs and firefighting systems used in oil and gas exploration, found that creating a single, transparent process for managing the procurement of authorized components has accelerated order fulfillment and provided numerous customer benefits.

Centralized parts archive
Ordering large components, like motors or pumps, often requires significant lead time. Manufacturing cannot begin until all components are on site. Any significant production delays expose the company to penalties. At the heart of the company’s streamlined procurement strategy is a centralized component database. This database was created two years ago in their mechanical PDM system that is used by their mechanical engineers. All of Fischcon’s electrical engineers work in EPLAN. By installing an interface made by EPLAN, Fischcon has established a bidirectional EPLAN/PDM link so the engineers could access the database. As a result, component management is accessible for all departments.

Linking EPLAN, ERP and PDM saves time and minimizes errors
By using this integrated system to order the correct materials as early as ossible, Fischcon began turning orders around more quickly, with much less risk of design or purchasing errors. “The connection between the ERP, PDM and EPLAN prevents miscommunication and unnecessary paper flows,” says engineering manager Pascal van der Jagt. “We can immediately see if all needed parts are on hand. Ordering the wrong one is almost impossible”. The database contains about 15,000 components. When fulfilling an order, a single bill of materials, covering everything from the smallest bolt to the diesel engine or motor, is compiled rather than separate ones for each engineering discipline. Working off a single BOM list helps purchasing recognize and troubleshoot delays before they become serious.

Active management pays off
The database is actively managed, which is well worth the cost," says van der Jagt. This ensures all component data is accurate, up to date and in standard format. Centralization also made it possible to link component management to revision management. “As soon as a design revision is required, orders can be cancelled automatically and the appropriate substitutes ordered,” says van der Jagt. “The time savings in this respect are huge.”

Streamlining design of P&ID layouts in EPLAN PPE
Just over a year ago, the company began using EPLAN PPE to standardize and accelerate the creation of piping and instrumentation diagrams, which also meant faster customer approvals and component orders. "We can shorten the turnaround time considerably," says van der Jagt “Once the P&ID is approved by the client, it’s just a small step to realizing a full equipment, instrument and piping list. We can order the main components quicker.”

Standardized component management is a ´win-win`situation
Today, Fischcon can generate accurate project quotes sooner and provide customers with documents in a consistent format, whether it’s the P&ID, BOM, equipment, instrumentation and piping list, or the comprehensive documentation that goes with the completed job.

The benefits of centralized component management include significant financial savings for the company. For one of its larger systems, it has reduced time spent fulfilling orders by about 500 hours per unit, a 20% improvement that translates into an annual savings of about €150,000.

About EPLAN Software & Service
EPLAN Software & Service develops engineering solutions, which accelerate the product development process. Interdisciplinary expert systems assure the highest degree of productivity and data integration. The solution provider develops customer-specific and tailor-made PDM and PLM concepts and provides comprehensive services such as customizing, consulting and training. Innovative development competence, a consistently practical approach, and international presence are the resulting success factors. EPLAN is part of Rittal International and thus of the Friedhelm Loh Group with 11,500 employees around the world and forecast sales of 4 billion USD in 2011. EPLAN is therefore synonymous with continuity and investment security. Four offices in North America and our presence in 50 countries support 25,000 customers with 80,000 installations worldwide. The corporate motto - 'Efficient Engineering' - underlines the proficiency of optimized, efficient processes, which keep companies competitive in the long term.