Case Study : Kodak

During the week of April 5, 1999, a key part of Kodak's world-wide ERP implementation went live in Rochester NY. The project, dubbed S2 internally (and which had at its peak over 80 people working on it), represented the first one that deals directly with manufacturing scheduling and execution. Building 9 of Kodak Park, where the system was implemented, is the world's largest colour paper facility and contains some of the most complex manufacturing done at Kodak, with product being shipped in both roll and sheet form.

Kodak now plans to continue funding the development of the products and roll them out to the rest of Kodak's manufacturing sites.

Commenting on the system, Ms. Judy Bueg, the Kodak project manager said: "Greycon was a true partner with Kodak on making this project a success."

Advanced Planning & Scheduling Ties ERP and MES Together

Kodak, having already committed to SAP's R/3 system, undertook a vendor selection process that started in April 1997. The contract with Greycon was signed in October of the same year. Greycon's role was to provide trim optimisation ("diagramming" in Kodak terminology) and scheduling functionality. The resulting system went live as planned and gives the various business units represented in Building 9 a state-of-the-art integrated system, that starts all the way from demand management and ends in shop-floor instructions and invoicing.

Trim Optimisation Around Quality Imperfections

This custom-written trim optimisation solution is based on the proven concepts of Greycon's DeckleBench solution for the paper industry. It combines a state-of-the-art combinatorial optimisation engine with a sophisticated, but easy-to-use front end. Material is supplied in the form of master rolls, each with its own characteristics. A key requirement for Kodak, due to the very high value of the underlying material, has been the ability to optimise the use of this material.

The system copes with a number of routes, even allowing a single order to have multiple routes: it can determine how best to produce each order. The same system is used for optimising a number of different products.

Multiple solutions can be generated through the use of various optimisation parameters and compared in a number of ways. In addition, the users may completely override any solution.

Scheduling in a Complex Environment

The Kodak solution is based on Greycon's S-Plan®, a finite scheduling system is the basis for sequencing and scheduling. S-Plan® is capable of handling the many-to-many relationship between logical orders and physical entities that is a natural result of a trimming process. Greycon had to extend S-Plan® in only two minor ways:

A custom-written scheduling rule to optimise knife changes through clever sequencing of the wide rolls. The system can recognise, for instance, that the two left-most knives in two adjacent setups need not be moved.

A user-specific time zone to cope with the requirement of a global solution coupled with the fact that the WTS architecture does not allow separate time zones for each user.

Kodak has extensively expanded the list of scheduling users to include shop-floor supervisors who can now investigate the customer service implications of wide roll re-sequencing with a few mouse clicks.

SAP Integration

The system's platform is a single-instance (for the whole of Kodak world-wide) Oracle database running on one of the most powerful multi-processor Sun servers available. The Greycon applications run on a set of Intel Xeon servers under Windows Terminal Server (WTS), front-ended by load balancing software from Citrix. All data is held on the R/3 Oracle database, in the form of R/3 z-tables to provide seamless integration, consistent authorisation and reporting capabilities. The diagramming and scheduling applications initiate R/3 transactions via the SAP ActiveX object layer. User access to the Greycon applications is via WTS clients with communications carried by Kodak's global network.