I-Plan: Integrating the supply chain from paper mill to box plant

Jack Cheesbrough

Supply Chain Consultant * Head of I-Plan Discovery

Jack specialises in driving organisational change through the alignment of business goals, his functional knowledge of I-Plan translates into an advanced analytical approach to supply chain management. Jack’s people orientated approach to software implementation gives him a unique edge when working on business process change, leadership engagement and user training.

An introduction to how I-Plan software can play a key role in transforming end-to-end planning from paper mill to box plant.

Looking for more detail?  Download our paper (no registration required):  I-Plan solution for integrated planning across box plants and paper mills   

The business challenge

Kraft paper and corrugated box manufactures face the complex planning challenge of optimising paper making and box manufacture as an end to end integrated process, minimising total manufacture, inventory and supply chain cost whilst maintaining acceptable service levels for the end box customer.

The challenges derive from the need for the box plants to be responsive to short lead time demands for a massive range of finished products whilst the paper making process is most efficient with longer manufacturing cycle times. The squeeze in the middle of these conflicting requirements is the roll inventory, getting quantities per grade and size at optimal levels to minimise paper machine trim whilst also minimising corrugator trim and of course minimising the number of roll stock sizes and their quantity.

The conventional solution

The successful planning processes in paper manufacture and in corrugated box manufacture have come from vendors with solutions that focus on the needs of each business. This approach however has failed to deal with the roll stock strategy in a satisfactory way resulting in the box producer having to up-size (increasing waste) or up-grade ( increasing cost) whilst the paper producer, using historic roll stock demand as the driver for demand forecasting, continues to replenish the wrong grades and sizes.

The I-Plan Solution

I-Plan from Trading Science provides an end to end planning solution that optimises each stage of the process to minimise total cost. The driver is the end box forecast which is created through a combination of world class statistical forecasting techniques and sophisticated web based collaboration tools enabling the sales team to impart their market knowledge. I-Plan then extrapolates demand for the base papers based on box design data, determines the needed paper roll widths per grade minimising trim waste at corrugator and paper mill winder using paper machine and corrugator physical constraints and finally generates the production plan for all paper machines and the inventory replenishment plan for mill and box plant warehouses. The end result is a coordinated production and inventory plan that that can be passed to the fine planning and production execution systems of the paper mills and box plants across the supply chain.

I-Plan modules utilised – I-Plan Demand, I-Plan Supply, I-Plan Production, I-Plan Inventory

The benefits

  • Fewer instances of the need up-size or up-grade at box plant therefore reduced material cost
  • Reduced combined paper mill and box plant trim waste therefore reduced material cost
  • fewer paper mill last minute plan changes therefore reduced production cost
  • Improved responsiveness to box plant customer demand therefore improved customer service
  • Reduced paper roll inventory in the network therefore reduced inventory cost

Next steps

If you would like more details, please download our paper, I-Plan solution for integrated planning across box plants and paper mills or contact us to discuss your requirements.