LAVIGNE, a leader in the stationery and planner sector, offers companies a range of business gifts and branded promotional items. The company’s main challenge was to manage its planning and scheduling strategy.
We now have a workload planning system we can control. We all share the same data sources and the same quality of information at the same time.
As France’s leading manufacturer of corporate wall calendars, LAVIGNE experiences significant peaks in production throughout the year. LAVIGNE was looking to overhaul its planning and scheduling strategy, an undertaking which involved implementing a business plan to revamp its current mode of operation.
The DELMIA Ortems solution, a solution designed to manage all the company's planning processes, was implemented with the help of KEONYS, a partner of Dassault Systèmes, and the DELMIA Ortems teams. The solution was rolled out in record time.
Founded by Jean Lavigne in 1958, LAVIGNE has maintained its position as a specialist in top-of-the-range illustrated calendars for companies. Business has diversified however and the company now positions itself more broadly as a distributor of business gifts and branded promotional items. It offers companies a wide range of planners, desk pads, greeting cards, cartographic products and corporate gifts. Always responsive to new trends, LAVIGNE has considerably increased its range of customized products. Incidentally, the “postman’s calendar” forms one of the historical pillars of LAVIGNE. Created in 1965, this specialized division quickly became one of the leading national publishers of these traditional calendar/almanacs, which are purchased each year by millions of French households.
Since 1997, LAVIGNE has been a subsidiary of the EXACOMPTA-CLAIREFONTAINE group, a leader in the stationery and planner sector. Photoengraving and printing are entrusted to the specialist companies best equipped to meet the very high level of quality that LAVIGNE demands, both within and outside of the EXACOMPTA-CLAIREFONTAINE group. Processing and customization work is carried out in the Mayet unit, located in Sarthe. Created in 1985, this unit has grown over time and now covers 6,000 m².
The production site is equipped with a machine park that is being continuously upgraded and can now process several million items each year. Over 100 employees work at the site during the busiest production period, from mid-June to mid-December. LAVIGNE markets are highly seasonal in nature, with 85% of annual turnover originating from the period between September and mid-November. The factory runs 6 days a week, with three 8-hour shifts, to meet the requirements of 7,000 to 8,000 customers, ranging from artisans, to local companies and large groups, not forgetting the famous postman's calendar. In fact, LAVIGNE is not just a printer, it is first and foremost a manufacturer. The company designs, makes, and assembles wall calendars and standard or customized almanacs. Its positioning is based on high quality products which have the advantage of being endlessly customizable as the company boasts an in-house design office. Major investments made to modernize the machine park have included an overprinting machine that is the only of its kind in France.
Responsive to its market, LAVIGNE is diversifying by offering a collection of year-at-a-glance calendars, planners, desk pads, paper pads, greeting cards, and advertising objects of all kinds, capitalizing on its know-how and adapting existing production lines.
LAVIGNE's business therefore features peak production loads during the busy season, which are a major challenge. This difficulty is compounded by last-minute orders from customers who insist on week 40 deliveries at the beginning of October. “Meeting deadlines and increasing customer satisfaction are at the core of our priorities,” explained site director Christophe Trouille. "The need to acquire a software solution that would provide increased visibility of production schedules became essential and DELMIA Ortems was selected as the best scheduling and planning solution available, particularly because it interfaces very easily with ERPs in general, and SAP in particular.” This is doubtlessly where the key to the project’s success lies. “Before DELMIA Ortems, there wasn’t really any planning,” admitted Sylvie Bérat, Production Manager. "We acted on instinct and habit, with work cards being placed manually each week according to task type and with the involvement of team leaders. It was basically more a question of instinct than of structured planning.”
DELMIA Ortems was first rolled out on the wall calendar line in 2016, following migration to SAP ERP. It was rolled out in just 39 days: “exemplary project management” according to Christophe Trouille. “We now have a workload planning system we can control,” enthused Sylvie Bérat. “We all share the same data sources and the same quality of information at the same time.”
The 25-strong sales team that covers France now has reliable information on the visibility of the progress in production and is informed immediately if there is a postponement or delay. In this way, LAVIGNE avoids a misalignment, often seen in companies, between sales commitments and production capacity, which is a source of customer dissatisfaction and internal tensions between sales staff and manufacturing teams.
DELMIA Ortems provides reliable communication on the exact planning situation with the special affairs management, operating from the headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux.
DELMIA Ortems ensures more a fluid flow in the production workshop, which saves time and is considerably less stressful. Since 2017, the service rate has stood at 88% on average over the peak period, reaching 95% during certain weeks.
Work orders are integrated in a consistent manner, resulting in a significant improvement in customer service. “The solution has breathed new life into the way we work. All production is scheduled, yet we have real flexibility to set priorities in planning," commented Sylvie Bérat. DELMIA Ortems' algorithms take into account production constraints and identify the best solution for each production line to produce items by format, from the largest to the smallest. Because one hour of calibration is sometimes required between very different formats, machine set-up time is perfectly optimized.
An added advantage: LAVIGNE can now bring deliveries forward if the products are ready. "The schedule is set 15 days in advance and we adjust capacity every week depending on the actual situation in the workshop. We can even carry out forecast simulations," explained Hervé Pyckaert, Methods Manager. The company is proud to announce that it recorded 18,000 wall calendar transactions in 2018, an increase of 30% over the previous year. Thanks to the scheduling and planning solution, LAVIGNE can now deliver at least a third of its orders ahead of schedule, a gain that is all the more spectacular and appreciable in a highly seasonal activity that features order flows which arrive in waves.
Support in change management was provided by DELMIA Ortems teams and adapted to LAVIGNE's needs. “The fast rollout of the solution testifies to its success in terms of project management. It is based on a highly structured methodology and on ongoing dialogue, by videoconference or onsite; the TMA (Third Party Application Maintenance) team, to whom we delegate maintenance of the application, is exceptionally professional. This is a top-of-the line solution which is responsive and perfectly suited to our new needs," Christophe Trouille stated.
The supply table is provided every morning, which boosts our efficiency. The solution has not however been used yet for inventory management. The difficulty in this area lies in the juxtaposition of last-minute requests and programmed orders, but this area for improvement is being studied. Integrating almanacs into DELMIA Ortems, which has to take into account the considerable constraints related to volume, is also part of the next step. This is a more complex project because of the 21,000 references to be managed, the 120 different designs and the number of départements in France. A new step, and a new challenge that the teams from LAVIGNE and KEONYS are ready to meet!
Founded in 1958, Lavigne is a subsidiary of the Exacompta-Clairefontaine group
Products: illustrated calendars, planners, stationery and customized advertising items
Turnover: 13.6 million euros (2017)
Headquarters: Issy-les-Moulineaux, Paris, France
More information: www.lavigne.fr
KEONYS is a major provider of support and consultancy services for companies involved in digital transformation. As the leading value-added reseller of Dassault Systèmes worldwide, KEONYS is an expert in the entire software portfolio: CATIA, DELMIA, ENOVIA, SIMULIA, 3DVIA, and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
More information: www.keonys.com