Arctic S.A. manufactures white goods, electronic products, small home appliances and kitchen accessories. As Arctic’s appliances get smarter, the white goods company also wanted to make its factories more intelligent. How could it quickly transform its core production and manufacturing capabilities with intelligent automation?
Arctic didn’t want to make just incremental changes—it aimed to create a plant that would serve as a beacon for the industry and transform operations. It had massive production lines but used little automation. Shifting from workflow-driven to data-driven manufacturing promised enhanced efficiency and product quality. With a digitized and automated plant floor, Arctic could experiment with exciting new technologies that reduce costs, increase efficiency and enhance performance visibility. Modernizing manufacturing processes also offered significant business opportunities for creating connected products, from design to consumer services.
Arctic needed help in building a new washing machine plant in Romania that would accelerate its digitalization and Industry X journey and enable these opportunities. Smart factories are still in their infancy, and Arctic wanted to be at the forefront of this fourth industrial revolution. Its goal was to pioneer a new and progressive plant, to be a flagship for the company and for the whole industry.
The company teamed up with Accenture to create a technology foundation integrating rapidly advancing technologies into its operations. As the company pursued its expansion plans in Europe, it aimed to modernize existing plants there using this program as a template.
What Accenture did
Our team focused on the client’s ultimate goal—launching production operations on an aggressive timeline. Right from the beginning, we worked onsite alongside the newly built plant’s operational management team. This enabled us to quickly capture first-hand any issues that threatened to derail the solution’s timely delivery, working with a myriad of equipment and service suppliers.
Specialists from Accenture’s network of Industry X Innovation Centers in Cluj, Romania, and Modena, Italy, worked with Arctic to blueprint and implement a new SAP manufacturing execution system (MES). The team also created a technology layer that integrates the solution with the company’s systems and machinery so they can share data and “speak” the same language. An Internet of Things solution links with the company’s SAP enterprise resource planning system, manufacturing equipment, warehouse management, and other IT systems. We also designed easy-to-use dashboards to display near real-time data from the solution, company systems and shopfloor machinery. In total, we integrated the new manufacturing system with approximately 250-plus shopfloor machines and 14 IT systems.
The team standardized the machine integration messages and created a library so the company can reuse them like building blocks for other SAP MES integration projects. The messages help machines communicate with the company’s systems and each other. For instance, messages currently used to communicate with plastic injection moulding machines could potentially be used on mechanical presses for metal parts in another plant.
of supply chain processes at the new factory are automated.
"Only Accenture had the right skills under the same roof, from manufacturing systems and ERP to automation and the Internet of Things."
— TURGAY ÖZTÜRK, CIO - Arctic
People and culture
The new solution enables Arctic to better match jobs and skills, improving efficiencies and the worker experience. Most workers use a tablet connected to the company intranet and a new manufacturing system to consult work orders and build instructions in real-time. Maria, a production manager, used to request production status updates several times a day from the production shift leader. With the new system, she can review updates in real-time on her laptop or tablet.
Workers can also call for support; report problems; and send feedback about speed, quality and pack time. Plant workers can request the specific materials they need when they need them—and have them delivered right to their spot on the line. And all of the information is consumed in user-friendly dashboards.
Take Nicu, an assembly line operator, for instance. His job is to attach a motor to each washing machine. Previously, a forklift brought the motors to his workbench, stacked in boxes. He needed to call a colleague to help pick up the heavy boxes and carry them from the stack to his bench. Now, he can use his tablet to request the motors, which are delivered just in time, directly to his workbench via an autonomous vehicle system. This eliminates a health risk and enables Nicu to do a better job more quickly. In addition to improving productivity, the solution upholds Arctic’s values of advancing employee empowerment, wellbeing and safety.
The solution has helped Arctic to automate as much as 80% of its supply chain processes. The data flows to and from company and plant systems mean that important production information and equipment are always on tap for employees. They no longer need to spend valuable time manually checking information or materials. Management can also view real-time production data to make efficient decisions.
Since coming into existence, the plant has helped Arctic lower non-quality expenses, increase capacity utilization and automate low-value tasks, reducing operational costs by 11%. As a result, workers are able to focus on more valuable tasks that help improve productivity, product quality and profitability.
The plant was designated as part of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Lighthouse Network, making it one of the most innovative modern plants in the world. Lighthouse Network factories are chosen for their leadership in applying Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to drive financial and operational impact. Arctic can now scale the innovative solution to additional plants.
By transforming its core production and manufacturing capabilities, Arctic is achieving new levels of efficiency with a semi-automated supply chain and digital manufacturing capabilities. Arctic can easily integrate even more cutting-edge insights and technologies as the company expands and evolves its business. These innovations are helping Arctic deliver better quality products to consumers, faster.
“The investment and effort have really paid off. The factory is considered so advanced, it was recognized by the WEF as one of only 44 Lighthouse Factories in the world. We’re proud to be an example to our industry peers on creating a safer, more efficient workplace.” said Turgay Öztürk, CIO at Arctic, who collaborated with Accenture to blueprint and build a digitized washing machine plant.