DS Smith has completed a substantial IT infrastructure upgrade at 11 of its U.S. packaging facilities, implementing production workflow advancements that have already helped the company increase on time and in full (OTIF) delivery rates for corrugated sheets, boxes and displays nearly five percentage points above internal forecasts.
The IT upgrade, which DS Smith’s North America Packaging and Paper (NAPP) division completed this spring, is the largest, most-comprehensive IT investment to date for the company within the U.S.
A focused effort from customer service and supply chain staff, aided by the newly installed production workflow systems, pushed DS Smith NAPP to its best packaging delivery and performance results of the fiscal year, with monthly OTIF rates reaching 98.3% in the weeks following the IT upgrade.
Integrated productivity from order to shipping
DS Smith NAPP’s IT department completed the upgrade at 11 packaging plants across the eastern U.S., enabling streamlined management of paper sourcing and supply, planning, customer service, corrugator, printing, converting and shipping operations. As a result, the packaging facilities are optimized for faster total throughput using integrated Manufacturing Execution System (MES), Business Intelligence (BI) and Supply Chain Management solutions from Kiwiplan, a division of the manufacturing and distribution software company Advantive.
The IT upgrade has also streamlined and improved NAPP’s financial management and procurement activities using an integrated SAP ERP system. That system aggregates information from the 11 packaging locations into a single financial data solution managed from NAPP’s Atlanta headquarters, allowing for greater consistency, accuracy and efficiency in billing, procurement and other processes.
Driving reliability and continuous improvement
“The brands and other companies we serve tell us reliability in their packaging supply chain is more important than ever before, as it has a tremendous impact in their planning and go-to-market strategies,” said Steven Rose (pictured left), interim managing director, Packaging, DS Smith NAPP. “The IT upgrade we have completed has been a key factor in our continued customer service success.”
DS Smith NAPP’s investment in packaging workflow reinforces its commitment to setting even higher standards for service, quality and safety. It also provides the division with greater visibility and accountability into its overall manufacturing environment, providing intelligence and insights needed to ensure continuous improvement.
The meticulous, two-year-plus implementation process for the new Kiwiplan systems provides a comprehensive and individualized management and analysis framework for the many different processes DS Smith performs in its North American network of box, sheet feeder, sheet, and specialty packaging plants – including paper inventory, corrugation, sheeting, flexo printing, litho-lamination, die-cutting and blanking, and coating.
Using real-time data streams, Kiwiplan production, logistics and sales management systems installed at NAPP Packaging plants track and deliver accurate, detailed and comprehensive information tailored to each user’s roles and responsibilities. NAPP’s new IT workflow platform is especially powerful in scheduling and planning, as it can automatically create production scenarios for new jobs based on similar, past work. Plus, the newly implemented Kiwiplan systems keep the productivity going by automatically identifying alternative manufacturing plans in response to machine downtime anywhere in a production plant.
“Kiwiplan is honored to contribute to DS Smith’s successful, all-inclusive deployment in North America,” said Rodney McGee, Advantive strategic account manager and former president of Kiwiplan. “Now, from the time a customer places an order, up until the time it is received, DS Smith has the advantage of a fully automated system that tracks and optimizes the entire process.”
DS Smith will continue its substantive investments to reduce waste and increase automation and BI capabilities in North America with an IT upgrade for its paper mill, recycling and forestry operations scheduled to begin in the second half of 2023.