Sustaining Uninterrupted Production With AGW

Article
22 Mar 2024

Ensuring a seamless ERP system migration is crucial for maintaining uninterrupted production in any facility. This case study underlines the importance of seamlessly upgrading the ERP system, especially for products like AGW, and its direct impact on all production processes. The challenges encountered highlight the significance of AGW’s software flexibility and speed in facilitating upgrades without disrupting day-to-day operations.

Why it’s important?

An Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP) is a comprehensive platform that manages various production aspects within a facility. For products like AGW, the ERP system serves as the repository of “master data,” containing information such as sequencing flows, serial numbers for parts and items, supplier and customer codes, scheduled orders, and more.

While the ERP upgrade process doesn’t directly disrupt production, the close integration of our products with production means that any disruptions during migration can significantly affect operations, potentially halting production – a situation we cannot afford.

AGW’s real-time adaptability allows for seamless changes without production interruptions. Throughout the upgrade, the facility remained operational for nearly its entire duration, with just a brief 90-minute pause requested by us to implement system codification changes.

What we did?

#1 Updated Communication Interfaces

Our customers were using older versions of the system, having undergone 6 or 7 migrations. Each migration was a separate project, with every ERP version communicating with Systems Applications and Products (SAP) software independently.

Our main goal was to seamlessly integrate existing communication interfaces into the system while maintaining connectivity across the entire network.

#2 Interface Standardization

Additionally, interface configurations varied depending on the customer’s project; for example, the interfaces at BMW and Volkswagen plants were different.

This presented challenges because the master data for the entire facility remained consistent across projects. So, we standardized the communication protocol between the ERP system and each interface configuration to ensure seamless operations.

#3 Updated Document Structure

After upgrading the SAP software, certain elements underwent visual changes, so we had to make visual adjustments to create standardized document templates. With input from our customer on their preferences, we implemented the required modifications accordingly.

#4 Improved Data Exchange

We initiated a separate project for all data exchange processes, including scrap declaration, scheduling, production reporting etc. Instead of transmitting data for each process separately, we consolidated all information into a few documents. This optimization significantly sped up processing times and support.

We ended up with three main document templates for workstations:

  • Assembly line template;
  • IMM template;
  • Scrap declaration template.

And here’s an overview of the system cleanup process:

 

Before

After

Scrap declaration interfaces

6 different interfaces

1 aggregated interface

Production declarations

4-5 different documents

2 (1 Assembly line template, 1 IMM template)

Total amount of interfaces

More than 20

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Challenges and Complications

Every project comes with its fair share of challenges. For us, the main obstacles were:

  • Adjusting within the existing workflow: Our customer needed to continue fulfilling orders and sticking to production plans. Also, we had to synchronize our schedule with the SAP teams, as they had already set the main project milestones, including cutover.
  • Impact on production stakeholders: The upgrade affected various aspects of production, from shipments and materials storage to logistics, vendors, and customers. With data updates across the system, plant management had to ensure seamless coordination to avoid confusion.
  • Limited Resources: With a smaller development team compared to the SAP support team, and an influx of urgent requests, particularly during ERP migration phases, we often worked around the clock to address critical issues promptly.
  • Facility Issues: In addition to project development and addressing SAP team requests, we also navigated challenges with AGW software support at the facility.
  • Codification Adjustments: The implementation of new codification systems for parts and materials caused disruptions at certain workstations, leading to production halts. We had to react swiftly to resolve these issues and maintain seamless production processes.

How AGW Software Benefits Made a Difference?

The three key features of AGW products—flexibility, scalability, and speed—played a crucial role in this project. The flexibility of the low-code platform enabled us to swiftly create user-friendly documentation templates and streamline multiple processes onto a single, comprehensive screen. Additionally, its speed facilitated smooth execution of upgrades with minimal disruption to plant operations, ensuring uninterrupted production flow.

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