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P
lanning Success story
Preactor helps
Armstrong keep
planning and
scheduling
challenges underfoot
rmstrong Teesside is a print line with over 300 designs to choose from; developments and factory tests also had
A
manufacturing unit of Armstrong each of which can be available in a variety to be taken into account. Longhorn puts her
World Industries, a subsidiary of of colours. With each design involving up to ability to balance all these things down to a
Armstrong Holdings, and is a six sequence-dependent rollers weighing in mixture of “Excel spreadsheets, gut instinct,
global leader in the design and excess of 1.5 tonnes and requiring changeover/ and internal company knowledge,” although
manufacture of floors, ceilings and cabinets. cleaning/setup times of approximately she also admits to, “many times wishing I
When the company needed a production 30 minutes, batching becomes extremely had a crystal ball on my desk”. She added
planning and scheduling system that would important. Following this, one of 17 different that, with no ‘what if?’ capability, the company
better enable it to fulfil its corporate vision coatings can be applied involving up to five couldn’t accurately work out the best response.
of “we deliver on our promises”, it found the sub-processes before the finished product “We literally just had to work out any
perfect fit with Preactor. is QA inspected, cut to length, packed and response and stick to it and then deal
stored in Armstrong’s with the consequences if we got it wrong.”
3.5 million sq metre
warehouse prior
to dispatch. Visibility
Longhorn had already seen a powerful
Fashion demonstration of Preactor in action at a
factor regional manufacturing forum in 2004 and
was very impressed by its graphical planning
Given the scale of board, intuitive use, complete interconnectivity
manufacturing, the
company doesn’t
have space for an
excessive amount

With a move towards enforcing
schedule adherence, performance
of raw materials or
Work in Process
monitoring has dramatically
(WIP). Armstrong
An aerial view of Armstrong Teesside
increased while also providing
cannot compensate by producing an excess
of a certain product because, while the product
previously unavailable areas of
Armstrong produces 18 mil sq metres of itself has a very long life in terms of sales
business intelligence about how
flooring per year on an 80/20 split of Make shelf life, it may only remain in fashion for one
to Stock (MTS) and custom orders, with the year; after which it is generally un-sellable.
best to streamline the flow of
former having lead times as short as five work through the plant.”
days and the latter up to seven weeks. While Planning traditionally meant Armstrong’s
manufacturing only involves three key stages, supply chain manager Jan Longhorn having of all processes and the resulting visibility
there are a sizeable number of sequence- to co-ordinate sales, raw materials, three that this offered. She recalled: “Preactor
dependent permutations, beginning with different production lines, warehousing and offered much greater visibility of the impact
the substrate. This can be in one of three dispatch. In addition, maintenance both of one decision on another, which I could
different sizes, which are then passed to the planned and unplanned, new product already see would be a huge help to us >>
16
MANUFACTURING
&LOGISTICSIT May 2009
www.logisticsit.com
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