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Proper scheduling drives more effective way of working

Executive summary

Founded in 2008 as a 3D prototyping company with a focus at the highest level of car sports (F1, WRC rally), Tenco DDM quickly grew into other areas such as product design, industrial applications and MedTech.

This company growth made the previously whiteboard-based scheduling system to reach its limits. Hence the company introduced a visual scheduling software.

Results are:

  • More effective way of working
  • Integration of scheduling and execution

The production scheduling challenge

Initially, scheduling was done on a whiteboard. However, as each and every production order at Tenco DDM is fully unique, this manual approach failed to scale with the company’s growth. Tom Castermans, CEO at Tenco:

“As the team started growing, projects became more complex and lead-times more critical.”

About Tenco DDM

At Tenco DDM we aim to co-create high-end solutions with our customers, by means of 3D printing or CNC machining. We proof that our small business is a perfect fit to ensure a personal and tailor-made service and support in additive manufacturing and innovative finishing techniques.

Major added value is created by continuous investments in state-of-the-art equipment and technologies. Particularly our combined high precision processing and finishing competences are considered an innovative asset.

Production scheduling requirements

Not only projects become more complex, but also new target markets, new types of customers and new machines drove the complexity. In addition to this, Tenco started to outsource and had to add external processes into the scheduling equation. Tom summarizes:

“A true planning software became necessary so we could plan machine occupation, finishing capacities and even lead-times at subcontractors. We wanted to use a ‘Gantt chart-type’ scheduling.”

Learning and using just plan it

Tenco started with a demo of the software, followed by a short trial. This was accompanied by regular coaching of a just plan it scheduling specialist. All in all, it took the company not more than a week to start using the scheduling software productively. Tom remembers:

“Getting used with the powerful capabilities of JPI takes about a week. The test account made it possible for us to push the system to limits … and find out how good it works.”

Nowadays, the scheduling software is used daily by a variety of people. Production planners use it to efficiently schedule, project managers and sales people follow the status of a project and can better communicate with their clients, and machine operators use the operator “app” to provide data from the shop-floor.

“The planner gets more time”, says Tom, “as planning per order now just takes 5 minutes although each part has it’s own unique workflow.”

With just plan it Tenco has a holistic view on what is happening on the shop-floor. The sales team gets more reliable information to communicate with the customer, the production planer saves time (Tom: “it’s really easy and comprehensive”) and the people on the shop-floor “look at the planning and know what to do”.

The overall result according to Tom is:

“With the use of just plan it, we started working in another, more effective way.”