We recently spoke with Nikhil Joshi, Founder & CEO of SNic Solutions, one of Siemens’ premier Solution Provider Partners. SNic Solutions has been championing operational excellence since its inception 12 years ago. They have experienced dramatic growth, expanding internationally and received numerous awards for the value they are delivering to their clients. Here’s what Nikhil had to say about his company, the industry, and the impact they are having on manufacturing leaders worldwide.
Tell us about SNic Solutions. What drives the success of your organization?
I started the company when I was 22 with some really smart industrial and systems engineers. As we continued to work hard to deliver real operational excellence to our customers, word of our services spread. We are grateful for the success we are now seeing and attribute it completely to the partnerships we have created with our clients, the partnership with Siemens, and our joint dedication to operational excellence.
Our early roots in industrial engineering required us to spend time on the shop floor collecting data manually. We understand the foundation of these systems and technologies and why the data is important. That’s actually been our biggest differentiator when we implement projects. We truly understand how manufacturing works and we bring that knowledge to our customers.
Today, SNic Solutions is a management and technology consulting firm, combining industrial engineering and manufacturing operations expertise with cutting-edge Siemens technology. Our specific areas of expertise include Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) with deep expertise in the Industrial Machinery/Heavy Equipment and Automotive industries. We cover both discrete manufacturing as well as batch manufacturing for Consumer Packaging and Retail (CPR).
Our technical and engineering specialties cover the entire operational value chain – demand forecasting, demand planning, production planning, production scheduling and production execution. We call this the operational closed loop.
Our technology of choice for APS is Siemens Preactor, which we have been implementing for more than 10 years. We have a global team to service our clients in the US, Canada and Asia with Preactor implementations worldwide. Because many of our clients have global manufacturing operations with plants all over the world, our ability to provide them software as well as implementation and integration services in all regions is essential.
Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) is a key area for SNic. You’ve chosen Siemens’ Preactor solution as a preferred solution for your clients. What are the advantages of Preactor and what is your organization doing to leverage those advantages?
APS plays a big role in what the OPEX community is calling LEAN 4.0 – how we are looking to improve operational excellence in the midst of Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing. Companies that have already implemented LEAN manufacturing are now looking to agile manufacturing – flexibility, interconnection, digitalization. The demands today are time to market, quality, complexity and customization. Those challenges encompass both LEAN and Agile – manufacturers have to have a manufacturing strategy that encompasses both.
LEAN and Agile are complimentary – but you need something to balance them. A good example is the simultaneous concern of sales with on-time delivery (regardless of inventory, utilization, capacity, etc.) and manufacturing with operational KPIs (the optimization of those same elements). This is where LEAN and Agile come together.
APS is critical in this process and choosing the right APS makes a huge difference. If you look at all the competitive products the beauty of Preactor is its flexibility – we can configure all our knowledge inside of Preactor. Most of the competitive options are more rigid. Flexibility is the biggest key for Preactor and what allows APS to be a great starting point for the digitalization journey.
Across industries, processes will be different from plant to plant. You must have a flexible APS platform that can be configured for everyone’s need. From a speed perspective, having an APS that is plug and play, even with required configuration, is very attractive. If you add the ability to scale with functionality – something Preactor provides through standard and professional versions – you can see that flexibility sets Preactor apart.
There’s an important point I’d like to make here. When you look at the benefits of APS, you usually see increased productivity, efficiency – mostly operational KPIs. When a CEO or COO reads these benefits, they think APS is something to be used by the scheduler, that it’s not a strategic tool for them. That is the myth we need to break. APS directly impacts the things that keep the C-Suite up at night – increased sales revenue, profitability, inventory turns, reduction in working capital, better capital expenditure estimations. These are highly strategic areas that should influence the C-Suite’s decisions on APS investment.
We are also using the experience from our many Preactor implementations to accelerate our customers’ time to value. We have SNic products that are additive to Preactor, including templates specifically for industrial machinery manufacturers so they can get started faster. We have products built on Siemens UA, Microsoft AX and SAP integration so we can quickly bring ERP data into Preactor. We are continually productizing the optimizations we’ve created over the years. We also have accelerators for SMB. [Visit http://aps.snicsolutions.com/ to find out more.]
You have many successful clients across the globe. Could you highlight a couple for us?
Yes, we have very successful customers – the power behind our growth. A few recent ones that I think are interesting are Narayan Powertech and Elmwood Reclaimed Timber. These success stories reflect the strategic outcomes an APS can have on a manufacturing enterprise.
Elmwood Reclaimed Timber increased their top line revenues by 10%. At the same time, they improved on-time delivery to their customers and increased production output without increasing headcount impacting both customer satisfaction and profitability.
Narayan Powertech reports their APS implementation has increased sales and strategically positioned them to more effectively compete in their global market for transformer manufacturing. Some of the key metrics of that implementation include a 95% improvement in on-time deliveries and a reduction of 15% - 20% in capacity utilization and inventory turns. Those are dramatic improvements that drive both customer satisfaction and profitability.
These are great success stories in partnering with Siemens. Can you comment on your experience being a Siemens partner and how that impacts the manufacturers you serve?
There is huge power in the Siemens partnership. Siemens truly treats us as an extended family and that matters to our custo mers. They know Siemens is focused on creating world-class products and answers the needs of the entire digital factory. We combine Siemens products with customer requirements to create the ideal and optimal solution. We have access to the entire Siemens portfolio so we can take the complete digital experience to the customer. We don’t see this anywhere else in the world – and our customers don’t see it either.