Orthex moved towards a more robust planning process and got happy planners

John Wikström
Sales & Account Manager Finland

Orthex  Group,  a  leading  manufacturer  of  household  products  in  the  Nordic, operates in a sector where the customers have high demands on short lead times and on-time delivery. When unexpected large orders are common and the company growth  increases Supply Chain complexity, it puts pressure on the production planning process and the planners involved.

The Challenge
For Orthex, unexpected large orders are very common and usually have a short delivery time between 48 hours and a week. Such short lead times require a production flexibility and an ability for quick adaption. To ensure customer satisfaction and product availability, a streamlined production is of most importance.  As Orthex has grown, also the production and factory planning has become more complex and time-consuming.

Prior  to  using  Compass,  Orthex  had  been  using  another  production  planning  application. Since  the  previous  software  was  implemented, the demand for a modern planning application had increased. Orthex now needed more functionality, a higher level of automation and the ability to plan the production for a multisite network on an operational, as well as a tactical level.

To secure sustainable growth, while keeping the same number of employees in the planning and purchasing department, Orthex took the decision to start looking for a more modern planning application. This would bring the ability to plan ahead instead of catching up on orders, and to find a partner and solution to grow together with rather than grow apart from.

Summing up we could say that:

  • Company growth and increasing Supply Chain complexity
  • Previous planning method was not sustainable with the resources at hand
  • A planning system that would not meet the future requirements  

The Journey
Orthex and Optilon have  a  long  relationship  that  has  consisted  of  several  previous application implementations. When Orthex started looking for a new planning application, Optilon  was  a  natural  partner  and  advisor.  This  gave  Optilon  the  opportunity  to demonstrate  the  competitive  advantage  a  modern  planning  tool  as  Compass  could  give. Orthex evaluated other applications as well, but in the end, the decision to choose Optilon and Compass was made based on two main aspects. Partially the fit Compass had to Orthex needs, but also the trust Orthex has towards Optilon from previous projects.

The project consisted of software implementation, training of end users, and validation and refining of the master data. The projects have had a smooth implementation, which  is  mostly  thanks  to  a  successful cooperation between Orthex and Optilon.

“It  is  fantastic  to  work  with  consultants  that are competent and committed to the project. The consultants of Optilon have shown a clear will to ensurethat the project outcome will reach or exceed the expectations. The consultants at Optilon understand how we operate our daily business and they have not been  afraid  to  question weaknesses in our production  planning process”  says  Peter Ottosson, Chief Operations Officer at Orthex Group. 

Peter Ottosson also sees the value in Optilon’s role as a holistic supply chain advisor,

“In my  experience, consultants tend  to focus solely on assuring that the application is properly implemented and that it runs smoothly. They are, for instance, forgetting about keeping  the  end-user  involved  in  the  process so that the  user  understands, why the system is implemented and how it will affect their work. This has not been the case with Optilon. This is important considering the total “switching cost”. It determines how long it will take until the end-users have gained a sufficient level of skill and feel comfortable using the system”.

The Results
Orthex  has identified many positive outcomes from the project. Working in Compass is faster and smoother. It also gives the planner more flexibility and new functionality that makes the planning easier.

“Using  Compass has  given  me  an  increased  sense  of  control,  which  is  important  for  a person in my role. I also feel like I use less time for planning than before. Now I can put more time on analyzing exceptional cases like delayed orders and backlogs” says Therese Dahl, Production Planner, Orthex Group

The planner’s freed up time has also led to a more versatile workday. They can now take part in smaller projects on top of their daily jobs, which has proven to be a real contribution for the planner’s job satisfaction. Before  implementing  Compass,  Orthex  used  an  application  that  was  slower  to  use  and that  was  more  dependent  on  manual  control.  Since  Orthex  receives  many  unexpected large orders, it was next to impossible to plan successfully. The planning process with Compass today is not depending as much on manual control and it is a lot more robust. 

With Compass, Orthex has been able to take a big step towards 100% planning control.

Summing up on results:

  • Faster and smoother planning process
  • Time freed up for exception analysis
  • Increased sense of 100% control
  • Happier production planners with more versatile workdays

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