Campbell Soup Company has persuaded JDA Software to develop new functionality in its software to meet the business needs of Campbell's manufacturing plants.
Speaking at the JDA Software user conference in New Orleans, Brian Laubscher, head of master scheduling at Campbell, said its five manufacturing plants were piloting new planning functionality that JDA had developed specifically for the food manufacturer.
The functions take account of the different product "families" Campbell uses to divide up its 750 products.
The firm's plants are capable of manufacturing different products from the same product family without switching off production lines, but the plants have to stop manufacturing whenever they switch from one product family to another.
"Our JDA applications kept telling our manufacturing plants to run more product families in a week than was efficient. The fulfilment application was planning short runs of 10 hours or less, which was not good for the plants," said Laubscher.
The new capabilities developed by JDA for Campbell enable the cost of stopping and starting production lines to be factored into the firm's planning.
JDA portfolio analyst Jim Roadifer said, "We wanted to develop a production plan that minimised changeovers between product families, minimised inventory positions and maximised customer service.
"Unfortunately, these factors are all conflicting priorities, so we needed to give the user a means of balancing them."
Campbell is also using the planning features to prepare for peaks in demand from retailers, and to stockpile products before closing a plant for building work.
Laubscher said, "The new functionality gives us the ability to plan for capital project outages, such as physical improvements to a manufacturing plant. We get to see the costs incurred in making such changes."
Campbell has been running the upgraded versions of JDA Demand and JDA Fulfilment-Constrained Production Planning for the past few months, and said it was already realising substantial benefits.
JDA will make the functionality available to all its users when it launches version 7.4 of the two applications this June.
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