SNic Solutions is a management and technology consulting firm that combines industrial engineering and manufacturing operations expertise with Siemens technology.
Founded in 2006, SNic Solutions uses Preactor APS from the Siemens PLM Software Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) portfolio of solutions to assist industrial machinery, heavy equipment and automotive industry clients with advanced planning and scheduling (APS). A Siemens partner since 2013, the company also provides discrete and batch manufacturing services for consumer packaging and retail (CPR) clients. SNic Solutions’ consulting knowledge covers the entire operational chain, from demand forecasting, demand planning, and production scheduling and production execution.
Preactor APS has been SNic Solutions’ technology of choice for the better part of a decade. The company has a global team that serves clients in the United States, Canada and Asia with Preactor APS implementations worldwide. With a large percentage of the company’s clients having global manufacturing operations and plants, providing these customers with software as well as implementation and integration services is essential.
“Siemens treats us like an extended family, and that matters to our customers,” says Nikhil Joshi, founder and CEO, SNic Solutions. “Our customers know Siemens is focused on creating world-class products. We combine Siemens products with customer requirements to create the ideal and optimal solution.”
APS plays a significant role in what the operating expense (OPEX) community is calling Lean 4.0, which is a melding of Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing. Lean manufacturing is a systematic method for minimizing waste within a manufacturing system without sacrificing productivity. Companies that have already implemented lean manufacturing are now looking to agile manufacturing, a step in the lean manufacturing process that blends flexibility, interconnection and digitalization to quickly respond to customers’ needs. Today’s primary customer demands are time-to-market, quality, complexity and customization. Those requirements encompass both lean and agile manufacturing, forcing manufacturers to have a strategy that encompasses both.
Lean and agile manufacturing are complimentary, but there must be something to balance them. For example, a simultaneous concern of sales is on-time delivery (regardless of inventory, utilization, capacity, etc.) and manufacturing with operational key performance indicators (KPI) and the optimization of those same elements. This is where lean and agile manufacturing come together.
APS is critical in this process and choosing the right APS makes a significant difference. The main advantage of Preactor APS is its flexibility, which allows it to be a starting point on the digitalization journey. With Preactor APS, SNic Solutions’ clients can seamlessly configure all of their data.
“When you look at the benefits of APS, you usually see increased productivity, efficiency, and mostly operational KPIs,” says Joshi. “When a CEO or COO reads these benefits, they think APS is something to be used by the scheduler, that it is not a strategic tool for them. This is the myth we need to break. APS directly impacts the things that keeps the C-Suite up at night: increased sales revenue, profitability, inventory turns, a reduction in working capital and better capital expenditure estimations. These are highly strategic areas that should influence the C-Suite’s decisions on APS investment.”
Processes differ across industries, but all of SNic Solutions’ clients require a flexible APS platform. Having an APS that is plug-and-play, even with required configuration, is very attractive. Preactor APS offers the ability to scale with functionality through its standard and professional versions. This flexibility is a game-changer for SNic Solutions and its customers.
“We have access to the entire Siemens portfolio so we can take the complete digital experience to the customer,” says Joshi. “We don’t see this anywhere else in the world, and our customers don’t, either. We attribute our success to the partnerships we have created with our clients, our partnership with Siemens and our dedication to operational excellence. We understand how manufacturing works and we bring that knowledge to our customers.”
SNic Solutions is using the experience from many of its Preactor APS implementations to accelerate their customers’ time-to-value. They have SNic Solutions products that are additive to Preactor APS, including templates that are specific for industrial machinery manufacturers so they can get started faster. SNic Solutions also has products built on Siemens PLM Software’s SIMATIC IT Unified Architecture Process Industries, Microsoft Dynamics AX® and the SAP integration platform so they can quickly bring enterprise resource planning (ERP) data into Preactor APS. They also have accelerators for Small and Medium business (SMB).
The success stories for SNic Solutions clients Elmwood Reclaimed Timber and Narayan Powertech reflect the strategic outcomes APS can have on a manufacturing enterprise.
Upon implementation of Preactor APS, Elmwood Reclaimed Timber increased their top-line revenues by 10 percent. At the same time, they improved on-time delivery to their customers and increased production output without increasing their workforce, impacting both customer satisfaction and profitability.
Narayan Powertech’s APS implementation increased sales and strategically positioned them to better compete in the global transformer manufacturing market. Some of the key metrics of that implementation include a 95-percent improvement in on-time deliveries and a reduction of 15 to 20 percent in capacity utilization and inventory turns. These are dramatic improvements that drive both customer satisfaction and profitability.