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April 2004

Nippon Steel Increases Production

Tokyo— NS Solutions Corporation, the IT services arm of Nippon Steel Corporation, has deployed ILOG optimization products to greatly improve production efficiency. The ILOG-powered NS Solutions’ Automotive Steel supply chain management (SCM) solution has shortened the processing time for determining optimal steel usage to mere seconds, when this process could take days.

NS Solutions developed the SCM solution for a leading Japanese automaker. The new SCM solution uses both ILOG CPLEX and ILOG Solver™ optimization software to optimize steel usage and eliminate waste. This is accomplished in part by maximizing the yield rate (number) of automotive parts such as doors or roofs that can be produced from a single piece of steel and also by determining precise coil cutting patterns for each part. Prior to using the ILOG-powered SCM solution, NS Solutions determined yield rates and coil cutting patterns using manual estimates.

A number of characteristics in the production and delivery of automotive steel can have a direct impact on production line efficiency. These include the wide range and high volatility of orders, gaps between planning and actual production performance, duplication of work, and inventory management. Using ILOG Optimization components, NS Solutions’ Automotive Steel SCM solution can effectively address these issues by integrating Nippon Steel Corporation’s major steel production and distribution processes and those of the end user automobile manufacturer.

“Our ability to deliver high-performance, cutting-edge applications that give our customers a significant competitive advantage is the key to our success. These requirements mean that we must seek out the best technology partners,” said Hiroshi Namie, group leader, NS Solutions. “We have enjoyed a long association with ILOG for the high-quality of its products and because of the company’s acknowledged leadership in supply chain and manufacturing optimization solutions.”

ILOG Solver and ILOG CPLEX were selected to create the optimization portions of the application. ILOG CPLEX is used to optimize the yield rates of steel in the coil design optimization process, while ILOG Solver creates unique optimized cutting patterns for each cutting order for the steel mother coils.

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