De Danske Gaerfabrikker
Food & Beverage, CPG
Proficy Smart Factory - MES Solutions
DDG is a subsidiary in the Lallemand Group. Lallemand Group specialises in yeast production and products for the bacteriological production industries. Worldwide, the group has 4.000 employees distributed in 70 production plants across the globe. De Danske Gaerfabrikker is located in Grenaa, Denmark, and has 100 employees.
Gert Fogh has been the Head of Logistics at DDG for 10 years. Production scheduling had been carried out in Excel spreadsheets up until the implementation of ROB-EX.
The system automatically collects data from the many process tanks and storage tanks. This data is uploaded to ROB-EX. The company has installed about 25 physical view/access “stations” with ROB-EX across the entire factory. There are both process “stations” and operations “stations,” distributed so that all employees are able to log on to the system wherever they are.
Our ROI as regards ROB-EX has been only three months. We used to be under a great deal of strain to keep up, but in only three months we have increased productivity, and are now getting everything done in time, and with ease. We are talking about an increase in capacity of 15-20 %, all due to the introduction of ROB-EX.
Gert Fogh - Head of Logistics, De Danske Gaerfabrikker (DDG)
Gert Fogh continues: “We have increased capacity and improved efficiency significantly by implementing ROB-EX – and we expect to continue to do so. I would like to commend ROB-EX for the way that the system pinpoints the areas in production that have capacity to yield more output. We operate with total transparency, and we are able to see the timeframe for each process – something that we were not able to do before ROB-EX. If a machine breaks down, we are able to get back up and running much sooner than we used to, and we are simply able to increase our production volume, just by introducing ROB-EX.”
ROB-EX Scheduler shows the extra capacity that is already available
“DDG is fully based on process manufacturing. This means that our various production plant factors are interdependent from start to finish.”
Gert Fogh elaborates: “It really makes a huge difference that we are able to view the interdependencies between machines – we are able to spot areas with idle capacity and we are able to get an immediate overview of production conditions. The overview makes it easy to answer inquiries for new orders – we have a full overview, and customers get reliable information about when we are able to produce their order. Prioritisation is much simpler with ROB-EX. ROB-EX generates viewable interdependencies, so that we are able to see the holes in the cheese. We are able to see gaps in capacity that we are not fully utilising – we were not able to do this in our old Excel plans.”
A flexible solution for complex production
With about 200 product recipes, production at DDG is highly complex. ROB-EX includes features that automatically schedule and control the many processes involved in yeast production. Yeast undergoes enormous growth during the production process, from one tiny seeding specimen on a glass medium to 30 tonnes of yeast in a tank. By setting up rules in ROB-EX, the scheduling tools include limitations, possibilities and rules for the various tanks and pipe connections so that the many yeast products do not mix or otherwise affect each other.
“We schedule the entire process in ROB-EX, all the way through to the finished and packaged product, which will be some form of dry yeast or a yeast extract that is ready for shipping. Some of the processes take 4-5 days and others take up to 6 weeks. The long scheduling scope was a deciding factor in the decision to implement ROB-EX. The ROB-EX solution is a 100% match to our plant and our production,” says Gert Fogh.
Viewable scheduling results in reliable delivery times and optimal stock management
DDG has a large number of internal customers, i.e. sister companies, that are highly dependent on DDG’s yeast products. With ROB-EX, Gert Fogh is able to provide customers with reliable delivery dates and is able to make accurate estimates for when raw materials and additives are needed. This creates a much more balanced workday all round.
“If one of our suppliers wishes to deliver ahead of time, we are able to say whether or not this is possible – or if delivery is delayed, we are able to see the consequences of the new situation immediately. We have a much better overview and are able to manage our stocks more efficiently, and we are able to make very accurate estimates of when we need various raw materials, packaging materials, enzymes and other additives for our production.”
Reduction of overall costs through reduced number of faults and errors and reduced down-time on equipment
DDG runs a 24/7 production. This means that operators are often on their own if something goes wrong. Before ROB-EX, operators would simply cease working and do nothing, or they would stop production altogether. They were unable to assess the consequences of the situation and this in turn resulted in mistakes and production faults and desperate late-night calls to Gert Fogh.
“Such situations had enormous consequences, both financially and in relation to capacity. If we produced faulty products, or if we ended up with insufficient storage capacity it was extremely costly for us!”
Today operators have a visual overview of production lines via the Gantt chart in the ROB-EX Scheduler, and they are able to see the precise consequences of any changes that they make in the plan. Operators have access to making adjustments and moving operations in the plan, and this gives them more responsibility and influence as regards the planning of their workday. In turn, this results in much more motivated employees.
We must dare to utilise our operators’ competencies and allocate responsibility for scheduling to them. After all, they are the ones who know and understand the intricacies of the machines the best.
Gert Fogh - Head of Logistics, De Danske Gaerfabrikker
He continues: "Another benefit from allocating scheduling responsibilities to operators concerns our young employees. They enjoy being able to optimise production lines, and they are not shy about running simulations and testing ideas to get the best results. We find that this is a major ‘sales point’ in our recruiting of new employees.”