Optimization for production companies

How can you reduce your company’s costs and enlarge the production and selling volume at the same time?

It’s sure that you would feel better if you could make sure that your company uses its production capacity and possibilities at a maximum and that your competitors aren’t better than you, or if you didn’t have to be worried that an unexpected event spoils your plans.

There are several solutions to improve processes at your company. But you must know that improvement is not the same as optimization.

Some are only experimenting in long-run cases based on own experience because they lack any other standing-ground. This way the company must face new challenges and also stress day by day.
Others use Excel spreadsheets and production reports to make decisions.

However, there are those who already know that the previous two ways are very risky since even in a well-operating organization it is difficult to see what the optimal solution is.

In turn finding the optimal solution means advantage at the market since its results are higher profits without higher prices. You need an optimization plan to find the optimal decision. Here our unique professional team can be at use.

What are the advantages of optimization?
Optimization is a possibility to achieve the maximum at all levels of your company. 
With the help of optimization you can achieve a considerable reduction of costs.

Your risks will be minimized. You have to see if the realization plan given by our software contains any risks. If yes, you can still choose our second best plan which also can yield 30-40 % more profit than manual calculations.

Your decision-making will be more flexible.In case of unexpected events you can prepare a new plan with our software in no time.  Before an important decision you won’t have to think over thousands of variants, only the best few plans.

It will enhance the security of your company’s operation. On one hand, you can see well ahead what, when and how much your company produces, transports or sells. This gives security in both the strategic and rolling forecasts of your financial planning. Stress and pressure on employees reduce, so all in all the whole company can be more efficient.

On the other hand, the company’s processes can be traced back, so an incidental lower result can be evaluated afterwards more easily and less stressfully by the managers, which gears a continuous improvement of results.

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Who is our service good for?
Optimization is essential if you have to be successful under frequently changing market circumstances or if you have to handle multiple-stage processes reliably. In case the profit is very sensitive to costs and if the costs are influenced by several factors, it is worth considering the development of a unique software solution even if the yearly income is smaller.  

Is optimization too early for my company?
Many think that it is not worth optimizing until they are 100% certain about their data. Others have experienced that optimization can be helpful in decisions that have to be based on uncertain data. So if you aren’t certain about the volume of the orders (eg. ranging 80-120), how can you decide without optimization? Based on feelings you take the average, but this way the most important quality of the decision – namely the broad range of possible orders – disappears from the decision-making process. With optimization you can find the plan, which gives you maximum profit with maximum certainty considering the possible number of orders.

How quick is the return?
The development and the introduction of a unique optimization solution usually returns in less than a year. It improves the results already in the first year. Although the company’s resources are also needed for the introduction phase, the changing approach to business and the software calculations together bring considerable profit gain.

How reliable is it?
The reliability of optimization depends on three aspects: the data, the implementation and the software with the model it uses. You have to concentrate on these three things during the introduction phase. Refreshing the data and the security of the implementation are in the company’s vital interest independently from the optimization software so we are writing here about the software itself.

AIMMS used by Optasoft is one of the most modern, stable and reliable software at the market. Software based on AIMMS work with a standardized optimization modul developed by a unique professional team. The model used by the software is yet unrefined, but the facts that get revealed during the process are of considerable use for the management, who can now concentrate on a so far unknown central problem. This way the model and the processes can be brought together.

Don’t be afraid of developing a model because only models can help you make good decisions!

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 Is it easy to use?
The optimization software is provided with a user-friendly interface. Also the user can alter this surface. The privilege levels secure that only the assigned workmates can interfere into the  company’s processes. Pivot boards, graphs, lists, built-in Gantt diagrams and composite boards help users with their work.

Is it flexible? We have already discussed the flexibility of the decisions made with our software’s help. However, there is another important question. How easy is it to  modify the implemented software and to adjust the used business model to market changes? Using the AIMMS software, the time of software development and modification is much shorter than the average development time.

The fact that setting the mathematical model is logically independent from data management and user interface design makes it possible that the model can be modified without changing the data links and the user inferface. Besides, the mathematical module works with a tree similar to human thinking, which especially facilitates modifications. The real challenge is – both in implementation and modification phase – creating the planning and optimization model.

Is it compatible with the existing systems?
The implemented software can be easily integrated with AIMMS tools into the company’s software system, and vica versa, the existing modules can be integrated into the new software, too. For example, it can be connected to relational databases according to ODBC standard, and also XMB connection can  be used. Data can be imported and exported to and from Excel. The new software doesn’t mean any extra challenges for the employees or for ITs.

What are the steps of the implementation?
Implementing an optimization system depends on the complexity of the problem and the softwaresystem. The implementation takes about three months. It has five steps.

The first step is defining the problem. Here the characteristics and the aims of the task will be discussed. At this stage we recommend an intensive consultation called „Start consultation”. In one or two days our colleagues assess the company’s main problems and make suggestions concerning the optimization method and the subsystem that should be optimized. They inform the client about the costs, time and risks.
The second step is about preparing system specs. The main aims, requirements, parameters, variables, limits and goal functions are being discussed at this stage very detailed, but only orally. Input and output data, their sources and appearance will be defined, too. All that lasts about one month. The end product is the system specs document and the pre-software prototype. The first prototype helps the user imagine the final software’s most important functions, input data and output form. The second step takes the biggest advantage of the company’s resources, at later stages only our consultants and software developers work.
The third step is about preparing the system plan. All IT connections and functions of the final software and its place in the company’s processes will be fixed. To prepare the system pland and the second prototype takes 6-8 weeks. The second prototype contains simple optimization algorythms, too. Basic functions and input-output connections can be tried out.
At step four we programme the software. The functions, processes, windows and controllers set in the system plan get their almost final form. The user can test the third prototype, which is capable of all functions and connections. We finalize, test and validate the system afer the user’s remarks. 
Teaching is part of
the fifth step. It enhances the software’s possibly quickest start.

The pyramid diagram below shows the steps and process of the optimization system’s implementation:


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What is the guarantee?

We undertake a guarantee in our products for project interruption.
This means if our clients are not satisfied, they can stop our cooperation without motivation and they don’t have to pay. The finished software can be returned even after delivery. The deadline for a possible return is always the fifteenth day after finishing a module. The return needs to be in writing.
We undertake a 12-month guarantee for a completed system. During this period we mend the system’s deficiencies free of charge.

Our support
We keep updating the delivered software in accordance with the development of the basic software. Part of our support is 20 working hours a year. These can be used for consultancy and even for software modification. Besides, we offer one day field-work for educating, consulting or coaching as you wish.

How much is it?
The fee can be divided into three main parts:
(i) The price of the basic software and other mathematical supporting software if needed,
(ii) the fee of the software development, which depends on the estimated working hours, and
(iii) a yearly fee, which is 15% of the sum of (i) and (ii).
The price of the basic software is 2000-6000 Euro per work stations. The development fee is 18 600 Forints per hour. Implementing a software can last from one month till half a year, and it can depend on the difficulty of the task and on the further complementary needs.

Do you have any questions? Contact us! >>

If you already know, how you would like to optimize, but you have questions, discuss them with our specialist.
If you already know that you would like to reduce your costs and optimize your business’s operation, but you don’t know where to start. If you want to discuss your plans and know in details how an optimization system can be realized in your company, ask for Start consultation >>

Who is it for?
We recommend Start consultation to those, who have decided to optimize; however, they want to review aims, steps, costs and possible risks with the help of an expert before starting a serious project. We suggest that the senior decision-maker, the production manager, the head of logistics, the developer and the information technician take part in the consultation.

What will the outcome be?
After the Start consultation you will be able to differentiate between the usage of the most modern mathematical modelling language and the usual developer software. You will understand the role and operation of a modelling and optimization system within a company. You will receive a written analysis of your company’s costs-reducing possibilities, of the steps of introducing an optimization solution, of possible deadlines and costs. You will be allowed to try AIMMS during operation as part of a case study. What is more, you will get a demo AIMMS licence valid for a few days so that you can test the abilities of this system.

Who keeps it?
You don’t need to start a bigger development project feeling insecurity. You will receive an answer to all your questions from our most experienced colleagues. Only those with an academic degree and a serious project management and consultancy experience can keep a Start consultation. A software developer takes part in the consultation, too, to show on the spot how the optimization software works. In case there are questions or requests about the software, we can show it immediately in practice, too.

The topics are adjusted to the needs and plans of the customer. However, there are certain topics that come up in every consultation:

    1. Software support of ERP systems
    2. Case study similar to the customer’s problem
    3. Looking for logical solutions
    4. Determination and analysis of the optimal solution
    5. Comparison of developed optimization devices
    6. Case study programming in AIMMS
    7. Model development process (business, logic and algebraic models)
    8. Comparison of the logical and optimal solutions, sensitivity analysis, “what if” analyses (supply issues, price changes, the construction of new warehouse)
    9. Discussion of questions and comments

Where does it take place and how much time does it take?
A Start consultation takes place in the office of Optasoft Ltd or if you wish we can go to your site without extra costs. The consultation lasts six hours.

What is the guarantee?
We undertake a guarantee in the Start consultation just as in our other products for project interruption. If you aren’t satisfied with the consultation or the memo about the consultation, you can stop the work.

If you have any questions or if you want further information, contact us. >>

This kind of thinking ought to reach many industrial managers on top and medium levels!
Zsolt Kovács

Production, technical and logistic manager, GLOBUS Konzervipari Zrt.