Natural One, a Brazilian company that offers 100% natural real-juice products, needed to reduce its planning process. They reached out for help, implemented Opcenter APS, and reduced their process from three days to just two hours! Here’s how.
In a rush?
- Schedule production to meet demand while managing inventory levels
- Improve performance of the filling line
- Plan production to guarantee the availability of the appropriate product mix
The keys to success
- Use Opcenter Planning to assist in preparing weekly master production schedule
- Identify scenarios that provide the optimal operating result and meet the demand
- Use Opcenter Scheduling for sequencing and scheduling production
- Reduced production planning from three days to two hours with greater reliability
- Improved production and product quality
- Extended planning horizon from 30 days to 12 months
- Reduced stockouts from 13% in 2018 to 2% in 2020
For more information, read on:
Who are Natural One?
Natural One is a Brazilian company that provides a range of unique, 100% natural real-juice products designed to preserve the distinct flavours of each ingredient. The company has worked collaboratively with technology partners from various countries including Germany, the United States, France, Netherlands, Japan, and Sweden, to design and implement a state-of-the-art cold aseptic filling plant that ensures all the essential characteristics of the fruits and vegetables are maintained.
With more than 60 items on offer, Natural One provides two distinct product lines: the refrigerated chain and the shelf-stable chain. The refrigerated chain features ingredients that require refrigeration to maintain optimal freshness, flavour and nutritional value. The shelf-stable chain, on the other hand, comprises fruits and vegetables that are less sensitive and can retain their nutritional characteristics without refrigeration. The products are available in various sizes, ranging from 300ml bottles up to two-litre bottles.
Overall, Natural One’s products are designed to make the lives of planners easier, by offering them a convenient and high-quality option for their beverage needs.
Generating accelerated demand
Natural One’s product quality has generated accelerated demand growth in recent years and has enabled the company to reach international markets. In addition to Brazil, where they can be found at around 40,000 points of sale, its products can also be found in 12 countries, including Chile, Singapore, the Philippines, Colombia and China.
A complex problem
Natural One’s exceptional product quality led to an unexpected surge in demand, posing a significant challenge as the company relied on a single filling line. Despite having a large installed production capacity, the line was operating at only 60% of its potential due to long setup times that caused the line to remain idle for up to 10 hours when switching between packaging types.
While it would have been ideal to maintain production of the same packaging size and only vary the flavours, this approach had limitations that could not keep up with the growing demand. Managing inventory levels, ensuring an adequate shelf life, and avoiding storage capacity issues while meeting seasonal business trends and production scheduling proved to be a complex equation that required a solution.
Unfortunately, the planning and scheduling tools available, limited to spreadsheets, did not provide the necessary conditions for creating and simulating scenarios. Moreover, the operational and business restrictions that needed to be factored in were known only to a few people and were not incorporated into the spreadsheets.
In short, the challenge was clear: how to plan production effectively to guarantee a suitable product mix for the market, reduce setup time by exchanging packaging, and avoid stockouts. Overcoming these obstacles would take a serious intervention, and that they couldn’t rely solely on spreadsheets anymore.
Seeking a comprehensive solution
To overcome the challenges faced by the supply chain director at Natural One, they searched for alternatives in the market to optimise their production capacity and increase productivity. Ultimately, they chose to partner with Opcenter, working with experts in Brazil, to gain a better understanding of their production planning process, operational restrictions, and storage limitations.
After careful consideration, it was clear that a comprehensive solution was needed to include planning and production scheduling. The solution implemented used Opcenter Planning and Opcenter Scheduling, with Opcenter Planning assisting in the creation of a weekly master production schedule that takes into account inventory policies and provides the flexibility to simulate scenarios and identify the optimal operating result that meets demand.
With a planning horizon of 56 weeks, the planning department is now able to create multiple production plans and select the option that minimises loss of sales due to insufficient inventory. Additionally, each scenario created can also evaluate warehouse occupancy to optimise storage capacity.
Opcenter Scheduling, on the other hand, was for sequencing and scheduling production in order to adequately meet the demands for products by better use of production capacity and minimising the total time spent on setups. Once it has been decided which plan that was generated by Opcenter Planning should be adopted for the coming weeks, production volumes are loaded and production orders are generated in Opcenter Scheduling, respecting the batch size and the product’s technical list. This is done automatically and transparently using native integration between the two systems.
In Opcenter Scheduling, production is scheduled using a rule that aims to minimise setup and improve productivity and the utilisation level of the filling line. The algorithm seeks to group packages and flavours according to a preferred sequence, which is defined by the user. It can be easily parameterised to generate alternative production scenarios to make comparisons and improve decision-making.
In addition, to avoid production stops at peak production, using Opcenter Scheduling enables Natural One to better define planned stops, making production as stable as possible.
Consolidating production planning
The results obtained by Natural One with Opcenter APS are reflected in the words of Jéssica Nogueira, who is head of production planning and scheduling at Natural One:
“Just after implementing Opcenter APS the first improvement we identified was the time needed for short-term production planning went from two days to three hours with greater reliability.”
In addition to operational agility, Natural One was able to create alternative scenarios for discussions in order to improve company results. It also extended the planning horizon from 30 days to up to 12 months. With this medium-term vision, it was possible to accurately predict raw material planning based on production capacity, as previously it was carried out by sales volume only.
In 2018, the stockout key performance indicator (KPI) was reduced to 13% while in 2019, with the tool in use, it was reduced to 6%. It went down to 2% in 2020, generating higher revenue for the company with less quantity of stock. Better combinations of flavours based on rules created by Opcenter APS are resulting in better productivity and product quality.
Do you need your production planning revamped? Get in touch today.