TŘINECKÉ ŽELEZÁRNY Implement Advanced Planning and Scheduling System

Co-operating with IBM Czech Republic and LOGIS, TŘINECKÉ ŽELEZÁRNY, a.s. (TŽ) are busy pursuing a project involving supplies and implementation of advanced production planning and scheduling. Included in the project are advanced planning and scheduling technologies designed by i2 Technologies Inc. (i2) for metallurgical production. The project is scheduled to be completed by mid-2006 and it seeks to increase the competitiveness and profitability of TŽ.


What is the goal of the project

Improving comprehensive customer service by securing high operational excellence The sponsor of the project on behalf of TŘINECKÉ ŽELEZÁRNY is Ing. Jan Lasota, Director for Production and Commerce, who had the following to say about the project: “We’re experiencing ever-growing pressure applied to steelmaking companies to provide their customers with high-quality products at still greater promptness, reliability and flexibility. What was enough yesterday, is on the verge of being too little today and will not suffice tomorrow. A great deal has been done in the department of quality enhancement and we have a lot to be proud of. Now, we’ve decided to concentrate more intensively on how the needs of our clients may be accommodated by providing them with attractive and reliable delivery dates. And it’s here that the company still leaves a lot to be desired. We can hardly expect to be prompt and reliable with regard to our customers without making promptitude and reliability the essential attributes upon which the corporate processes within the company rest. And what we must not forget in so doing is that improvement in this domain must be achieved with high efficiency—in other words, high speed, reliability and flexibility must not cost us ‘all the funds’. We must learn to achieve it at low costs. We know this is a formidably difficult task that, in a way, reminds me of the attempt of major automotive companies to develop engines displaying the highest possible power with the lowest possible consumption. Similarly, we have to fine tune our company-wide process of order fulfilment in a manner as to ensure that it yields high performance while keeping costs low. This is the goal of the project we’re about to launch. When implementing the project we won’t dispense with highly efficient management methods. Advanced planning methods will have a key role to play as well as the ability on our part to employ the technologies in the management system introduced at our plant. How much importance we ascribe to the project is clearly shown by our choice of the best available technologies and suppliers. We believe that the advanced planning project is an important step that will lead to further improvements in the competitiveness of our company.

What the project seeks to improve

Increasing management efficiency through high-quality planning Order performance is a rather complex and complicated process at our plant. A number of time-dependent effects and limitations factor in it. The existing management tools did not make it possible for us to reflect these limitations to the necessary extent when making decisions on what operations should be done at the individual workstations and when. Our existing tools did not possess the capacity to evaluate the state of affairs in a short time and determine the optimal procedure translated into a plan defining who shall do what and when. We were often forced to make decisions without having the opportunity to provide support for the decisions in the form of comprehensive and amply detailed evaluation of all factors, and, similarly, we were not always able to foresee the effects that the decision would have upon each of the links in the logistics chain. The solution will allow us to reveal pending threats in time and adopt measures to eliminate them. We’re convinced that a more precise and sensitive management resting upon optimised plans and schedules will help us to yield favourable conditions to achieve better operational results in performing our orders. As a result, we will be able to perform in a faster, more reliable manner while retaining a better overview of the process than is the case now.”

What are the initial conditions?

Tried and true solutions to yield top results “The attempt to improve the quality of production planning in our company is nowhere near to being new,” says Ing. Bohuslav Sikora, Manager of Planning Department, who was entrusted with the role of project co-ordinator. ”We’ve been dealing with APS for four years, since we launched our first project designed to improve production planning by introducing APS technologies. Although it was realised later that the implemented solution didn’t address our requirements, we were able to benefit from the project works. We arrived at a better understanding of our needs and got a better grasp of the APS issues. And this translated well into the tender we organised last year. One of the key parameters that served us in gauging the applicants was the rate of success they enjoyed while implementing projects of comparable magnitude in plants of comparable size. We visited the companies that implemented the projects with the applicants and strove to find out to what extent the project supported the monitored processes as well as the course that the projects took. The tender took a year to complete and culminated in signing a contract with IBM who, co-operating with LOGIS, was prepared to offer solutions that addressed our demanding requirements in terms of functionality, and worked well with metallurgical plants operating a similar production pattern. We feel that the time has come and assume that we’re heading into the project with an ace up our sleeve: our team is well prepared, the project is being taken care of by successful and strong suppliers and we are about to implement some top information technologies that have already performed well in our field of business.

What capabilities will result from the project?

We have to learn to compile high-quality plans and schedules, which will be precise enough to be advantageously employed in managing our plant. The chief outcomes of the introduction of the advanced planning technologies include:

  • ability to create high-quality plans within a short time and employ them as management tools;
  • ability to create high-quality steel mill plans and schedules in a short time to be employed as management tool;
  • ability to re-plan in a short time and accommodate the effects of the re-planning in an optimal manner.”

Technical considerations of the project

Project scope, technologies employed, time schedule, … The best results can only be achieved if we manage to use the plan to synchronise the activities within the largest possible extent of our internal supply chain. Therefore, we chose a solution that will cover the entire production flow, ranging from steelmaking, all of the rolling mills (based in Třinec and Bohumín) up to rolling mill finishing shop and product handover to the shipping warehouse. The steel mill scheduling model will include the converters, secondary metallurgy, both continuous casting machines, ingot casting facility and the electric steel plant. The scope renders our project rather ambitious. Not all metallurgical plants that have approached the concept of APS technologies eventually managed to implement the solutions with this degree of sophistication. The key project module is the metallurgical production planning and scheduling module — i2 Factory Planner — that will, in conjunction with the free material allocation module — i2 Material Allocator — provide the much needed functionality for creating the optimised Main Plan and Schedule of Production covering the entire production flow at TŽ. The other field that the project will address involves detailed scheduling of the key TŽ production department– the steel mill. The Caster Scheduler — a detailed scheduling module — will provide the planning and control of steelmaking production and optimised heat sequencing for the continuous casters in co-ordination with the Master Plan. The project is not an experiment, but rather an introduction of a solution that has proven to perform well in steelmaking conditions. This gives us the opportunity to plan the project while maintaining the speedy pace. The planned 12 months of the project will take some hurrying for us, but we’re looking forward to it.”


Třinecké železárny, company tradition since 1839, is an integrated steelmaking company producing long rolled products. With more than 5520 employees is the largest producer of long rolled products in the Czech Republic and is part of leaders’ producers in Europe. Production portfolio comprises wire rod, railway rails, special bars, rebars, wide steel, seamless tubes and various profiles. A year production volume is 2,4 mil. ton, which presents approximately 31 billions CZK. TŘINECKÉ ŽELEZÁRNY and logo TŘINECKÉ ŽELEZÁRNY are registered trade marks of the company TŘINECKÉ ŽELEZÁRNY, a.s.


LOGIS is a supplier of expertise services and information technologies. The deliveries are executed in the form of projects aiming at improvement of management effectiveness and development of business success at the customers’ businesses. Within the framework of their solutions, LOGIS applies advanced managing and planning methods and procedures, including high-performance information technologies in the field of Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS).