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Supply chain transparency is the key to continuous improvement at VDM Metals

February 18, 2019

 Supply chain transparency is the key to continuous improvement at VDM Metals

Over the past few years, the German metals producer VDM Metals successfully made the challenging switch from reactive to proactive production planning. This has led to shorter production lead times and a notable improvement in service, along with a marked decrease in required inventory. It’s certainly a remarkable achievement, especially in view of VDM’s very complex production network. “Supply chain transparency has been the key to making the switch, forging the path to continuous improvement,” says Marcell Sehner.


A big step towards proactive production planning

VDM Metals is a global producer of high-performance alloys, including nickel, cobalt, and zirconium alloys. Markets include the chemical process industry, oil and gas, aerospace, electronics, automotive and energy. In Germany, VDM Metals operates one upstream facility in Unna, where the melt shop is located as well as four downstream facilities in Nord Rhein Westfalen producing bars, billets, shapes, sheets, strips, wire and welding consumables. Processes are extremely complex, involving numerous specific production stages, deploying more than 100 different alloys and producing relatively small, highly specific batches. The fact that some production stages are carried out by external partners makes the planning even more complex.


Reshaping the organization

“Production planning, production execution and customer requirements are closely interrelated,” explains Marcell Sehner. “We aim at increasing our delivery performance and reducing our lead times to better fulfill our customers’ expectations. We knew that implementing a new production planning system was essential, but we also identified the need to redesign our organization from a functional to a process-oriented one.”

About VDM Metals

The VDM Metals Group, develops and manufactures nickel, cobalt and zirconium alloys as well as high alloyed special stainless steels.

For over 85 years, the company has been supplying sheet metal, strips, rods, wires and welding consumables to customers in the chemical process industry, plant construction, power generation, oil and gas, electrical engineering and electronics, as well as automotive and aerospace industries. Worldwide, VDM Metals employs more than 1,900 people.

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