Becoming more agile is possible in complex cement manufacturing when you do more with digital. Give your cement plants a competitive edge in the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA) world by adopting cement production scheduling (CPS) software purpose-built for your industry.

CPS is all about responding to changes. These can be fluctuations in customer demand, dynamic energy prices, unplanned maintenance, problems in production and staffing, management priorities, environmental compliance, anything. It will help your teams better anticipate sudden changes and move swiftly in the right direction, just like birds in a flock.

Marie O’Grady-Hills  LinkedIn
Sales and Global Account Manager for Cement at ABB Process Industries

Towards a more agile way of working

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) together with Process and Production Information Management (PIMS) software have come a long way in recent years to bring visibility into different aspects of cement manufacturing, but are they enough to make your operations truly agile?  The ultimate litmus test is responsiveness to change.  Ask yourself :

  • Why is changing into a more agile company culture necessary for you ?
  • What is the underlying vision, inspiring story to stimulate people to change their behavior?

New digital technologies, such as advanced production planning and scheduling software, can help tune processes, tools, decision making and leadership into a more agile way of working. 

Is your cement production agile or not? The ultimate test is responsiveness to change. Stick to your goals despite the unexpected with ABB’s cement production scheduler.

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Here is what we can learn from birds, when aiming for a more agile way of working:
 Lessons A flock of Birds Agile manufacturing in cement
  How do birds in a flock change direction almost simultaneously and avoid bumping into each other when flying?  How can your teams move towards set goals, adjust production based on real-time data and unexpected changes - in the context of very complex cement processes that have many constraints?  
  • The flock movement is a result of individual decisions / actions / reactions of other birds on them.
  • Tuning processes, tools, decision making and leadership into a more agile way of working  depends on several key systems reacting to individual decisions / events / actions from each other.
Trust Each bird feels at home with its flock. Each team is specialized in its own area and has trusted digitals tools to do their job - e.g. planners use an advanced production planning and scheduling software, other functions use ERP, PIMS / MES, LIMS, CMMS, etc. 
Continuous communication Communication in a flock is continuous  Digitalization enables continuous data flow between the systems, with more and more automated data exchanges, with better and better quality of data to inform decisions of each team based on the priorities. 
Fast action Changes are addressed immediately Decision support for agile manufacturing relies on regular mutual consultation, coordination and rapid response. 

A more responsive operational excellence software

Cement production consumes a huge amount of thermal and electrical energy and generates significant amounts of greenhouse gases, such as CO2. Managers must continuously take actions to increase equipment efficiency, reduce the use of traditional fuels and introduce more alternative raw materials. Immediate access to up-to-date information is essential to production planning and for better utilization of energy, equipment, inventories, and capacities. ABB Ability™ Knowledge Manager provides reliable online reports about a plant’s conditions, such as product inventory, capacities of process equipment and availability.

To save energy, optimize stock and enhance equipment performance, plant and production managers must be able to respond with agility to correctly adjust production against constantly varying constraints and unexpected changes.  The traditional approach of maintaining production schedules on error-prone spreadsheets, with poor coordination between different departments leads to ineffective decision-making due to the large number of data sources and parameters. Planning teams need more advanced tools to help them capture specific production process know-how, maximize the reuse of available data, define goals and scheduling models to better evaluate the complex inter-relations between influencing factors, and compare multiple scenarios before deciding which one goes into action.

The Cement Production Scheduler application – part of the ABB Ability™ Knowledge Manager software - helps planners incorporate many variables and create optimal schedules that easily adapt to changing goals.

Consult our experts

We can help you link cement production planning to real-time data, events, energy tariffs, and various operational constraints - to evaluate their impact on your energy costs and other business priorities.

Quickly adapt to unexpected changes and make the right adjustments to achieve your goals while ensuring optimal use of resources, adherence to safety and environmental compliance. 

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