Juan Iocco, Supply Chain Senior Director, lays out the main ongoing projects so that they are safer, more sustainable and more efficient in the operations of Ternium Argentina.
Which are the main challenges for Supply Chain Management?
We have a great challenge geared towards reducing the amount of safety-related events. Our focus is set in maneuvers using autoelevators and cranes, and in road incidents alongside with displacements of loads. In order to improve conditions, we are set on a many-year plan to tackle these fronts with important investments. We also focus a lot on how we develop these tasks, especially attending to any unsafe behaviors that we need to avoid and prevent. In this sense, it's worth mentioning that the use of the Video Analytics tool for the detection of critical matters in our operations has been useful, for example, when detecting the proximity of people to moving equipment.
Care for the environment also has a fundamental place in our agenda. We are concentrating our efforts in operations at the port when unloading raw materials. There is a series of investments that just recently started, and others that are ongoing (like the incorporation of the spill plate and other projects to prevent spillages) in which we are working, elbow to elbow, with the members of the Direction of Engineering and Environment.
Related to the operation, we have to guarantee that on a monthly basis, the plans of dispatch and delivery service level are committed to each one of the 13 thousand monthly orders. This with a total adequate stock level and containing logistical costs.
Members of the Supply Chain team.
Which are the most relevant projects and investments to contribute to achieving these goals?
We have very interesting projects related to Industry 4.0 on several fronts. At an infrastructure level, this year we will achieve the completion of automatic warehouse management systems (WMS) in 100% of the cranes in our area, directly impacting the reduction of risks and times in operations. We will be able to send working instructions directly to the cranes, and these may be able to seek, take and/or dispatch 100% of bobbins automatically. The same will happen with 100% of the autoelevators operating in the external Supply Chain patios. Through integrated high-precision GPS and RFID systems, they may be operated autonomously.
On the other hand, we’re moving forward with a very important project for the “Logistics Central”. It consists of an integrated transport managing system (TMS) which unifies workshops (YMS) and warehouses (WMS). It’s “supported” on models that allow optimizing the programming of loads, the assignment of buses, and the displacement of equipment in the most efficient way possible.
Additionally, this project contemplates the interaction in a digital format with all stakeholders: control room operators, crane and lift trucks, carriers, and customers. The main objective of this project is to have safer operations that are more efficient from the resource use point of view (less waiting and loading time for trucks) while being cheaper (by using transport better).
Bi-train with GNC: a doubly sustainable transport option.
What other relevant projects for the current yearly exercise can be mentioned?
This year is our fourth one developing our Road Plan. This has involved over 10 million dollars, and has improved the road conditions of 100% of plants; most of them with very important infrastructure works already developed. Here, the role of each one of the facility managers has been key, leading the matter in their respective terrains, ISEV - a leading Argentinian institute for road safety issues- and the SCH team providing uniformity and prioritizing the different projects.
Likewise, we’re focused on calculating which is the associated carbon footprint for this logistic. We have over 5 million tons per year of raw material brought in through freight ships and trains, and we move approximately 4 million tons of steel among our plants, and from them outwards to our clients. We have been concentrating on the first areas of opportunity, starting operation with a fleet of 5 trucks to GNC with the latest generation Otto-cycle motors, which, besides issuing less CO2, generate much fewer particles and noise. It’s a pilot experience, but we don’t doubt that we will grow a lot through it. In this same line, we're leaders in our country for the use of “bi-train” (Bi-articulated) trucks which generate also a saving in fuel and emissions close to 30% less related with the base fleet.
Supply Chain and Logistics are particularly very challenging management areas, in which everyday run vital tasks for the business. We work on cutting-edge projects, prioritizing care for people, the environment, and the implementation of new technologies.