STUTTGART, Germany August, 2023 – Steyr Automotive, a partner for contract manufacturing, sets new standards for commercial vehicle manufacturing in Europe with flexible and rapidly expandable production capacities. Renowned companies such as MAN Truck & Bus, Volta Trucks, and Palfinger are customers of Steyr Automotive. Together with flexis AG from Stuttgart, the company built a new IT infrastructure for production planning and optimization within a short time.

Contract production and subcontracting for renowned OEMs.

Since MAN sold the company to investor Siegfried Wolf in 2021, Steyr Automotive GmbH has acted as a successful contract manufacturer for MAN, VOLTA, and Palfinger forklifts. In addition, the company is also a supplier for other OEMs. Steyr produces a wide range of special vehicles, special bodies, special cabs, and parts for truck production. The Austrian company also operates one of the largest painting facilities for truck plastic attachments in Europe. This facility enables the company to meet the highest standards of painting and to provide excellent service to its customers. The wide range of products and services makes Steyr the optimal choice for OEMs who depend on high-quality, customized solutions.

Optimization of production planning with flexis AG

After the spin-off from MAN, Steyr Automotive had to redefine and set up its IT landscape. Flexible production planning, in particular, presented a challenge. Steyr was looking for a software solution that is able to help efficiently and quickly. Therefore, the company turned to the experienced specialists at flexis AG, which provides consulting services for the development and optimization of process flows for all production areas.

Andreas Ehrenfeuchter, Vice President Automotive Truck & Special Vehicles at flexis AG, has many years of experience in materials management, production planning and control, as well as strategic planning of business processes, and was, together with his team, responsible for consulting and implementation. Together with Steyr managers, the required processes for effective planning, control, and optimization of the various production lines were quickly developed and defined.

Implementation of flexis APS solution for efficient planning

The flexis APS solution, a standardized, cloud-based software based on existing modules for order slotting, order scheduling, and order sequencing, proved to be the ideal choice. The software obtains order data from a data hub connected to both the ERP system and the MES system and then creates an optimized production schedule.

The basic process is as follows: The first step of the implementation includes scheduling and optimal grouping of orders. The flexis APS software makes it possible to assign orders according to their deadline and to slot them efficiently to the correct production line lay-up point. The order book gradually fills up, while weekly packages are smoothed to days. The second step is slotting, a classic “manual” planning process in which the planner fixes the day’s packages as soon as they are complete. This ensures that the orders are optimally organized and ready for further processing. The final step, sequencing, allows the daily packages of orders to be created in the correct sequence. This creates sequence derivations and reveals sequence interdependencies. This ensures a smooth flow and an optimized production line.

This production planning is given to the MES for execution. Thanks to this cloud-based and easily configurable software, a fast and efficient planning solution was implemented. The customer can configure various restrictions that are taken into account in the optimization algorithms.

Agile and solution-oriented action quickly leads to success

With the modern cloud-based flexis solution, Steyr Automotive found an efficient and innovative software solution for automated optimization of the planning and sequencing processes. In less than six months, all requirements were successfully implemented, from process consulting to proof of concept up to implementation. Since the go-live in August, Steyr Automotive has been successfully operating the system. The precise and advanced functionality of the software is already having a positive impact on production processes. The flexibility associated with it will secure strategically valuable competitive advantages for Steyr Automotive in the future.