To meet these challenges, Fraunhofer IPA analyzed the company's customer-to-customer order management process and the technical process chain - from customer inquiry to the production of the desired product. On this basis, the team designed a target image for fast, end-to-end automated order processing and DesignChain, including the CAx process chain, which is now being implemented step by step, paving the way for mass personalization and short delivery times.
The Ceratizit Group develops and manufactures high-precision tools for machining a wide range of materials. It also manufactures products for monitoring the processes in which its tools are used. Ceratizit's customers are increasingly demanding tools tailored to their individual needs at virtually the same price. They also expect shorter and shorter delivery times.
Since these challenges could not be met with the processes and systems in place before the project began, Ceratizit decided to commission the Fraunhofer IPA's Planning Manufacturing Systems and Production Planning and Control working groups to analyze its current processes and develop a digital customer-to-customer process.
To kick off the transformation process, experts from Ceratizit and Fraunhofer IPA jointly conducted a potential analysis in the following areas:
Feature-based configuration of customized products: including customer requirements, order structure, workflows, data structure and tools
Order management: including logistics requirements, functions, processes and production planning and control (PPC) chain (ERP, APS, SCM, ...)
DesignChain (CAx process chain automation): includes technical requirements, product structure, workflows, CAx chain (CAD, CAM, PDM, ...) and production processes
Based on the potential analysis, a target image of a highly efficient, competitive production facility for special tools was developed. This was the basis for the »Ceratizit Customer-to-Customer« vision, which includes product configuration, automated order management and DesignChain.
Ceratizit and Fraunhofer IPA have already implemented a number of measures in the areas of order management, product configuration of special tools and DesignChain. These have resulted in shorter lead times and improved on-time delivery. Further projects are currently being planned to realize the vision of fast, highly automated order processing.
»We need to completely rethink our processes with our customers: With automated customer-to-customer order processing, we can quickly manufacture customized products. Fraunhofer IPA is helping us to do this with a systematic and pragmatic approach.«
Gerhard Bailom, Managing Director Ceratizit Group