"The use of ECLASS was profitable for us in less than seven months! A year after the start of the product we had 43.75% fewer spare parts, 20% less capital investment and 47% fewer suppliers."
AT&S is the European market leader and one of the globally leading manufacturers of high-value printed circuit boards. AT&S industrialises leading-edge technologies for its core business segments Mobile Devices, Automotive, Industrial Electronics, Medical, and Advanced Packaging. In 2013, AT&S took the next logical step in the high-tech strategy by entering the IC substrate business in cooperation with a leading global semiconductor manufacturer. As an international growth enterprise, AT&S has a global presence, with production facilities in Austria (Leoben and Fehring) and plants in India (Nanjangud), China (Shanghai, Chongqing under construction) and Korea (Ansan, near Seoul).
As a company, AT&S Group in the fiscal year 2014/2015 employs approx. 8,100 employees, including about 1,200 in Austria, and has achieved a turnover of 667 million Euros and earnings before interest and taxes of 90.1 million Euros.
AT&S is one of the world's leading producers of high-technology circuit boards. In view of the availability of the production installations the supply of spare parts, as well as the optimization of spare parts management, plays an important role.
In addition to the increase in production a large increase of spare parts in stock was recorded as well with a simultaneous lower turnover. This led to a high capital commitment for inventory. In August 2007, spare parts with a value of about 7 million Euros were present at a frequency of 1.4 turnovers per year. In comparison, the value of production materials was approximately 15 million Euros at an average of 13 turnovers per year. The main cause of this problem were inconsistent names and the different classification of spare parts stocks in the various locations of the company in Europe and Asia. Because of the dificult idenification of exising or missing parts, there was a risk of production stoppages in case the spare parts were not provided in time.
In order to consolidate the spare parts the SPICE (Spare Parts Inventory and Cost Enhancement) project was launched and the internationally active Paradine GmbH commissioned with the implementation. The selection of ECLASS as a classification system was based on the international dissemination, cross-industry applicability, multilingualism (inc. Chinese) and the availability of product descriptions of properies and characteristics. Existing spare parts were classified and evaluated based on the ECLASS properties lists. The feature lists were previously shortened according to the needs of AT&S or extended company-specifically. Suppliers were also included for classification. Ater the classification the identification and clean-up of duplicates was carried out. Unneeded materials were sold, spare parts transferred as necessary to other plants and the spare parts porfolio harmonized.
The classes and feature lists drawn up on the basis of ECLASS form the basis of the new classification in the SAP system.
The classification of spare parts as well as the definition of the required AT&S classes and lists of properies was successfully completed ater only three months. Next, all the appraisals of the spare parts were implemented, duplicates idetnified and the spare parts spectrum consolidated. In addition to the implementaion of the project in the English and German language and due to requirements at the site in Shanghai the Chinese language version was also made available at short noice. 12 months from the end of the first phase the following results have already been achieved:
- 43.75% fewer spare parts
- 20% less capital tied up in spare parts
- 47% fewer suppliers
The successful introduction of ECLASS in the spare parts management at AT&S shows that long-term benefits and cost reductions are possible through consistent and well-structured product master data.
The return on investment for the project was achieved in less than seven months!