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case study

Responding to production changes 50 percent faster by streamlining production processes and scheduling

Novak M uses Opcenter to increase production response time, material preparation and ordering speeds

Responding to production changes 50 percent faster by streamlining production processes and scheduling

Novak M

Novak M is a Slovenian family-owned and globally oriented company, providing engineered medical equipment to professionals and patients for high-quality treatment. Since 1979, every team member strives to combine industry expertise with innovative technology.
Komenda, Slovenia
Opcenter, Opcenter APS
Industry Sector:
Medical devices & pharmaceuticals


I was a bit of a sceptic and didn’t want to let go of my spreadsheet. However, today I cannot imagine working without Opcenter Scheduling.
Sandra Hribar, Production Planner
Novak M

Supporting medical professionals and patient experiences

Novak M is a Slovenian, family-owned and globally oriented medical equipment manufacturer, developing high-quality medical equipment ranging from examination and treatment tables to therapy chairs and hospital stretchers. Since 1979, they have been combining industry expertise with innovative technology and staying in close contact with end users through distribution networks. The company distinguishes itself by focusing on simple, clean designs using patented solutions to provide full support for medical professionals and create a treatment experience for their patients.

Since Novak has partners in over 15 countries worldwide, doctors, therapists and other medical practitioners can access medical equipment with superior user experiences. Additionally, customers can visit the Novak M showroom in Slovenia to get assistance for choosing top-notch equipment that helps practitioners devote more time to patients.


Deciding to use Opcenter Scheduling with ERP

With the increase in production quantities, Novak M engineers were experiencing frequent changes in production schedules, making work difficult for their production scheduling department. Due to the large amount of data that engineers need to manage over the supply chain, the company realized that using spreadsheets was not powerful enough to handle their production scheduling any longer. “Additionally, when the planner was away, everyone needed to know and follow certain rules,” says Tanja Jereb, the chief procurement officer at Novak M. “The fear of missing a certain work order was always present.” With this system, they were unable to respond to changes quickly and increase productivity. Due to these challenges, the company decided to change the way it approaches production scheduling.

After deciding to find a professional production scheduling tool, the company reached out to their enterprise resource planning (ERP) provider, Saop, for assistance. They recommended using Opcenter™ Scheduling software, which is part of the Siemens Xcelerator business platform of software, hardware and services, and contacting INEA, a Siemens Digital Industries Software partner. To ensure this was the right decision, the company did a reference visit and hired an independent consultant who had the same recommendation. Thanks to these recommendations and its competitive price, the choice was obvious, and the company started preparing for this production scheduling project.


Addressing production obstacles

The first obstacle to address was the quality of the data available in the ERP. The company’s technology department checked the production steps for each product in their extensive portfolio and added or corrected the missing data, for example, process times. For daily work in Opcenter Scheduling, the production scheduling department now uses the improved data available in ERP.

Novak M’s manufacturing production process consists of two phases: The workshop team prepares the semifinished products, and the assembly team makes the final product. One project goal was to create a schedule for each individual worker in these two phases. This leads to the second obstacle: designating workers for each production step. Since most workers were qualified to make various products and work on multiple production resources, the manufacturer worked closely with Saop and INEA to define the list of workers for every production step.


Benefiting from streamlined scheduling

Using Opcenter Scheduling, the company could create a schedule and assign every production operation to a qualified worker on the correct resource depending on their skills and availability. This provides an activity list to every worker in advance so they can prepare accordingly. As a result, workers can prepare the material for their scheduled operations on time, and they can add new orders to the plan 30 percent faster.

By leveraging Opcenter Scheduling, Novak M could respond to changes 50 percent faster. “Production scheduling with Opcenter is resilient to market changes, unexpected events in production and production planner absence,” says Jereb. “Using Opcenter Scheduling, the planner can quickly adjust the production plan when there is a change in a customer’s order, a worker’s availability or a lack of materials.”

Another benefit is that the production scheduling department can easily add urgent orders to the production schedule without the fear of forgetting something or creating errors. Using Opcenter Scheduling, they have the tools to help them quickly check production plan capabilities and resource availabilities. It also enables the planner to efficiently track the state of customer orders. Leveraging Opcenter, manufacturers achieve faster data import and full control over the production plan. Further, the planner has the data and the tools necessary to control everything on the shop floor from the office.

“I was a bit of a sceptic and didn’t want to let go of my spreadsheet. However, today I cannot imagine working without Opcenter Scheduling,” says Sandra Hribar, the production planner at Novak M. “Since integrating Opcenter, I now spend less time on production scheduling, and I was able to take over selling spare parts and helping organize product servicing.”

Novak M workers requested if they could get custom reports based on Opcenter data. With help from INEA, the planner and management team were able to easily get custom reports based on the specific data they need. A final benefit of using Opcenter is that it also helps workers order from subcontractors 40 percent faster and without errors since the company could now schedule work operations and know precisely when they would complete certain tasks.

“Thanks to Novak M’s forward thinking, the company realized it needed a solution and initiated talks about supporting their production scheduling with a specialized solution,” says Tomaž Grabnar, the head of Opcenter APS program at INEA. “Their vision and dedication to constant improvement help them grow as a company and gain a better market position. I’m glad our team got a chance to be a part of their success story.”

Production scheduling with Opcenter is resilient to market changes, unexpected events in production and production planner absence.
Tanja Jereb, Chief Procurement Officer
Novak M