In June of 2005, Kohlberg, LLC, purchased Thilmany Papers from International Paper (IP). The acquisition included a pulp mill, two paper mills and a paper converting facility in the Green Bay, WI area.
As part of the sale agreement, IP agreed to let the new company use the existing IP legacy business systems for an interim period. This meant that the new company would have to find replacements for almost every system including the SAP financials, Plant Maintenance, mainframe order entry and scheduling systems, shipping and invoicing. During assessment of integration, Thilmany’s legacy Manufacturing Execution System was selected for replacement as well.
The system replacement was a massive undertaking that in the end would require sophisticated integration and the coordination of over 30 software/consulting companies to replace all business system software for the new company.
Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne was selected as the backbone ERP solution because of its proven track record of successful implementations and strong presence in paper manufacturing in Wisconsin.
In addition to the complex nature of paper machine block scheduling, Thilmany wanted to make sure that it did not just replace the functionality of its old system. Thilmany wanted to use modern technology to address its two biggest problems with the old system: firstly, it was manually intensive and secondly, it did not make scheduling data available to other users.
Preactor was selected as the software solution due to it’s flexibility and installation successes. Suncoast Scheduling Technologies (SST) was selected as the implementation partner for Preactor based on its proven track record of having successfully implemented a number of complex scheduling systems. SST was able to demonstrate how its unique ‘rules-based’ batch scheduling module and its graphical scheduling tools were able to best meet the needs of Thilmany’s schedulers and the overall business.
Although time was critical, SST spent several weeks making sure that the new system addressed the underlying business needs. Before moving ahead everyone had to sign off on the design specifications which were laid out in a non-technical, business-oriented, scheduling white paper. Once everyone had agreed on the design it was clear that the solution would require four new modules.
The first module, the Integration Manager, manages the flow of data to and from JDE. This includes receiving new, changed and deleted work orders from JDE; sending the latest schedule dates for each work order back to JDE; receiving shop floor updates from JDE; and sending orders for trimming and receiving trimmed orders back from JDE.
The Batching Rules Engine allows the schedulers to automate the process of grouping orders into specific blocks based on certain attributes, dates and available capacity.