KoKa - Tailor-made capacity adjustment
In the age of globalization, manufacturing companies must be capable of operational and strategic flexibility. It is vital to be able to continuously adjust capacity in response to extreme demand fluctuations. At the same time, an eye must be kept on the costs. Small and medium-sized businesses in particular struggle with the cost challenge, as it is also coupled with minimal market power. Until now, capacity planning did not completely take into account the adjustment costs.
Degrees of freedom revealed
This prompted the research project “KoKa” to develop a system to support companies with their decisions on cost-optimized capacity adjustment The starting point was to evaluate data pertaining to companies’ options with respect to adjusting operational capacity, and to parameterize the software based on the findings. Data gathered included adjustment measures such as work schedules, flextime agreements, equipment capacity, storage restrictions, outsourcing and production streamlining as well as the associated costs.
In the course of this analysis, unnoticed or unknown degrees of freedom pertaining to capacity adjustment are revealed. In the next step, demand data is fed into the software. It quickly calculates the least-cost combination of the existing degrees of freedom. The purpose of “KoKa” is to help planners find the best capacity adjustment strategy while considering all incost.
Planners can override the results, and continuous optimization is possible. These functions make this decision support tool unique compared with other existing systems. The prototype of the system, implemented by the project partner Melecs EWS GmbH & Co KG, allowed optimal distribution of the production volumes based on planning periods, resources and factories.
Manufacturing costs were reduced by approx. six percent. When one considers that these account for between 20 and 30 percent of total manufacturing cost, the saving potential is immense. Now, high-wage countries such as Austria can remain front runners in the global marketplace thanks to technical innovation, flexibility and cost-effectiveness.
Other Consortium Partners
- Adaptive GmbH
- Melecs EWS GmbH & Co KG
- University of Vienna - Institute of Industrial Economics
- flexis AG