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Lilly Software Jumpstarts Productivity with VISUAL DBR and First-Ever "Necessary & Sufficient" Offer by an ERP Vendor


18 March 2002, Hampton, NH (USA)—With the release of VISUAL Manufacturing version 6.2.8, Lilly Software Associates offers the initial application from its new VISUAL TOC™ suite of products, VISUAL DBR™. VISUAL DBR incorporates the principles of Drum-Buffer-Rope and Buffer Management from the Theory of Constraints (TOC) business management philsophy developed by Dr. Eli Goldratt. It enables companies to create and accomplish production plans that maximize the use of their resources, increase production flow, and deliver customer orders on time.

Lilly Software designed VISUAL DBR to be an integral part of its VISUAL Enterprise™ solution. The company includes the software as part of its VISUAL Power Boost™ offer to help companies establish and maintain a process of ongoing productivity and profitability improvement. Offered in the spirit of the arrangement described in Dr. Goldratt's latest book Necessary But Not Sufficient, VISUAL Power Boost provides companies with the VISUAL DBR software and with the training in the strategic and tactical applications of TOC from some of the world's most higly regarded TOC experts. Lilly Software has partnered with the Avraham Y. Goldratt Institute (AGI) and Constraints Management Group (CMG) to offer training and consulting services in all aspects of TOC, particularly in Drum-Buffer-Rope techniques.

"I have known Dick Lilly for over twenty years," says Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt. "He is one of the few people in the field of ERP that I truly respect, not just for his knowledge but also for his honesty. That is the main reason that after I understood how software and concepts should be bundled to give fast and large results, I turned first to Dick. I was not surprised that he fully understood my approach and immediately decided to invest in enhancing his software (and his company) to enable his clients a quantum jump in performance. Tracking the progress that Lilly Software has done since then, I have nothing but praise."

Drum-Buffer-Rope differs significantly from other planning methods. Rather than trying to maximize the use of many resources, DBR typically maximizes the use of the single, most heavily-loaded resource, the CCR(Capacity Constrianed Resource). The schedule for the CCR resource is called the DRUM. It determines the rate at which product flows through the shop.

In DBR, companies use Buffers when developing the schedule. Time buffers for the CCR, shipping, and assembly protect both the schedule at the CCR and the customer's due dates from unpredictable circumstances. VISUAL DBR also uses inventory buffers to ensure the availability of finished goods, stocked subassemblies, and raw material.

The Buffer management features of VISUAL DBR help companies maintain the correct amount of protection. Using tools in Buffer Management, companies can see which jobs have been hit hard by unexpected changes. They can monitor jobs that use a significant amount of buffer time and take timely action, or expedite orders at risk, to promote prompt delivery. Over time, companies can analyze workflow problems and adjust the buffers to improve scheduling, guarantee they meet customer delivery dates, and keep their operations lean.

ROPE is the "pull" technique, similar to kanban or just-in-time, for releasing material onto the shop floor. In DBR planning, the material requirements dates represent the earliest date that the company should issue material to a job. Companies should never release material before this date, and they should release only enough material to match product flow. By incorporating Drum-Buffer-Rope techniques into their business processes, companies can create production schedules that maximize their resources and allow them to deliver customer orders on-time.

"VISUAL DBR helps companies create protected schedules to ensure they deliver customer orders by their promise dates, 99.9% of the time," says Michael Lilly, Vice President, Lilly Software Associates. "It is a solution that works across all industries in make-to-stock and make-to-order production environments. But companies must agree to fundamentally change their business operations when they implement this solution."

Wanting to change its business for increased long-term profitability, the precision investment casting company, Bescast, from Willoughby, Ohio, has undergone the TOC training and was the first company to implement VISUAL DBR from Lilly Software.

"We were experiencing serious delivery issues and we had reached a critical point with our customers," explains Lee Watson, President of Bescast. "We had wanted to incorporate the DBR methodology throughut our operations for years, but we had been struggling to implement it. The VISUAL Power Boost program, with the VISUAL DBR software and the partnership between Lilly Software and the Goldratt Institute, was an offer we couldn't refuse."

During its TOC training with the Goldratt Institute, Bescast identified core problems within its operations and developed a strategic business plan to protect the company against changing market conditions. The company has implemented the DBR software and its employees are adapting rapidly to this new management strategy and the new scheduling techniques. They have logged in over 2000 hours of training, which has helped heighten the awareness of scheduling adherence and made the transition easier.

"We started the TOC training last October," says Watson. "We've been moving ahead with VISUAL DBR since the beginning of December and we've already experienced significant improvements. We've seen an increase in shipments and a decrease in our delinquent order backlog. I believe this TOC management strategy will support our business indefinitely. It will help us deliver on-time, every time, and bring us increased financial performance. We now understand our constraints and the employees are developing their skills and working together to execute this business change. We're focused on keeping both our employees and our customers satisfied."

The results experienced by Bescast support the high returns that occur when a company works together to facilitate change.

Lilly Software expects to release additional VISUAL TOC products in the near future to help its customers use TOC principals to manage projects, distribution warehouses, and replenishment and supply chain collaboration. VISUAL DBR and the VISUAL Power Boost offer are available now from Lilly Software Associates.

About Lilly Software Associates

Lilly Software Associates, Inc. provides a complete line of enterprise and supply chain solutions for manufacturers and distributors. The VISUAL Enterprise™ suite of products helps companies capture and analyze real-time data about all their business processes using ERP, Project Management, Business Performance Management, Quality Management, Customer Relationship Management, and Warehouse Management System capabilities. From award-winning software to strategies in Lean Manufacturing and TOC, Lilly Software offers companies the tools they need for higher productivity and profitability.

Most VISUAL® applications run on Windows® 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, UNIX®, LINUX, Novell®, using SQLBase®, Microsoft SQL Server®, or ORACLE® relational databases.

Lilly Software has received many industry awards for its products, service, and financial growth since its inception. Most recently, the company has been voted one of the Top 10 Best of Breed solutions for manufacturing by readers of Consumer Goods Technology, listed in Software Magazine's Top 500, selected as a Top 100 Logistics Information Technology Provider in Inbound Logistics, listed in the Top 100 Application Vendors in Supply Chain e-Business, included in MSI's Top 100 for its eighth year, and ranked as one of Start magazine's Hottest Companies.

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