EBNER.blog | Stephan Puxkandl, EBNER, Austria
A new era of productivity - automated order processing along the entire supply chain.
The need to permanently optimize production processes, even as product portfolios are expanded at the same time and significant investment is avoided, shapes the requirements of EBNER customers. With the goal of making our customers total cost of ownership champions, EBNER has busied itself intensively with digital solutions.
Optimizing the OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) makes facilities more economical. The latest EBNER technology ensures that facility availability is at its maximum, and quality is assured due to optimal operation of the facility (in this area, the EBNER Academy can support the operators). To ensure full facility utilization, the idea of CATCH enters the picture.
WHAT IS CATCH AND WHO IS BEHIND IT?
CATCH stands for CApacity maTCH, and is a platform to facilitate contacts that is based on a research project known as FlexProd. It is designed to support the optimization of heat treatment facility utilization throughout the supply chain. An alliance between X-Net (a soft- ware developer), the Austrian Institute of Technology and the EBNER Group set itself the goal of developing a platform for creating and processing industrial orders that was decentralized, and so conformed – even as it provided extreme flexibility – to the most stringent security standards.
The solution was to combine a cloud-based “dating” platform for machine production data with a matchmaking system based on the use of encrypted data, and to do so without the use of centralized data storage. The system is founded on the use of three key technologies, which have been tailored to interact with one another:
Both facilities and packages of services suitable for orders being placed are determined in a decentralized manner.
Both the buyer and seller are supported up to actual placement of an order. This takes place without the unnecessary release of data or revelation of confidential information, ensuring a safe and anonymous auction service.
The integration of blockchain technologies ensures traceability and provides the transparency needed for acceptance of the contact and auction service.
HOW DOES CATCH WORK?
The clever combination of digital technologies with EBNER’s production and market know-how makes it possible to book free production capacity in a wide range of plants throughout the world. Using CATCH, companies that have free manufacturing capacity can offer it anonymously to customers throughout the world. Companies requiring such capacity can request it quickly and easily, and their requests will reach every CATCH user. At manufacturers receiving requests, appropriate bids are automatically generated and for- warded to decision-makers for review. Within seconds, a company requesting bids is notified how many potential bidders are available in the network. Within hours, a suitable selection of bids – which include estimated shipping costs, meaning that the bids are full and complete – is available. In short, the search for suppliers, market analysis and order procurement are all processed efficiently and absolute anonymity is guaranteed. All this takes place at a speed that usual procurement processes cannot achieve.
- Highest data security
- Rapid order processing
- Expanded business opportunities
- Improved use of available capacity
HOW DO USERS OF THE PLATFORM BENEFIT?
The platform offers a digital solution for optimizing the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), in that increased utilization and the ability to react to production peaks support better use of a facility’s capacity.
Furthermore, CATCH enables a more efficient and more rapid processing of orders along the entire supply chain. That is, orders are processed more quickly, as the individual steps making up the process are automated wherever possible. Customer bases are expanded, and the possibility of making intelligent comparisons (matchmaking) also leads to new business opportunities. The principle of security by design has constantly been followed, an approach that fulfills the need of customers to protect their intellectual property. This is a significant aspect, when one considers the increasing amount of digitalization in industry.
WHAT DOES A CATCH CONTACT PROCESS LOOK LIKE?
A company (client) uploads a request to the network using CATCH. In just a few seconds, the system locates all companies in the network that might potentially bid on the request. These bidders receive anonymous requests that are automatically processed, and appropriate bids are generated using the company’s existing calculation templates. Before these bids are released to be forwarded to the potential customer, bidders have an opportunity to review and revise their quotes. The estimated shipping costs, depending on the bidder, are also also forwarded along with the quote. This means that the costs forwarded in the bid will be extremely close to the actual costs.
The process is 100 % anonymous, as all companyrelevant data are processed behind the firewalls of the respective companies. Only after the requesting company has selected a bid do the two parties enter into direct contact with one another, to conclude the contract. This last step, closing the deal, takes place outside of the CATCH system.
WHEN WILL THE PLATFORM BE AVAILABLE?
In the fall of 2019, the CATCH Promotion Tour through India and China encountered a great deal of interest in this technology and the first interested parties and users are already on board. The goal is to have the platform go on line in 2021 with a limited number of users, the beta testers.
The beta testing phase will be used to optimize the database, so that over the course of 2021 it will become available for additional applications and product segments. The range of products throughout the supply chain will subsequently be expanded step-by-step.