ARCHIVED - Sequencing and scheduling solutions for manufacturing industry
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Optessa (formerly Netaps)
May 09, 2007— Ottawa, Ontario
A young professional walks into a car dealership excited to shop for a dream car - it had to be a certain shade of red, with a DVD player, satellite radio, and air conditioning for those hot summer months.
This is a scenario that plays out across the world thousands of times each day. Cars, trucks, and SUVs all come with so many options and a customer can now make specific demands. This has created not only intense competition in the auto industry, but has made manufacturing and assembling autos a very complex process. The assembly line continues to move ahead a car at a time and the manufacturing plant has to comply with hundreds of rules and constraints before they can accommodate the customer's specifications.
Assembly line sequencing has become absolutely critical for auto makers in order to remain competitive. This is exactly where Optessa, a software company in Alberta, saw a unique business opportunity.
Optessa offers optimal and effective software solutions to planning, sequencing and scheduling problems in automotive manufacturing companies. Optessa's solution offers several key benefits to auto companies:
- Align demand and delivery;
Increase flexibility and reduce response/lead times at key points in the supply chain;
Enable lean operations: reduce inventories and costs while meeting delivery commitments.
Srinivas and Vidya Netrakanti from Edmonton, Canada and Ashok Erramilli from Aberdeen, New Jersey founded Optessa (then Netaps) in 2001. After two years of development, a world-renowned Japanese auto manufacturer chose to implement Optessa MLS.
For the founders, it was very gratifying and exciting to see the product go live at the auto manufacturer's plant. It was also a test of the effectiveness of the software since single-line assembly scheduling is a key element in the order-to-delivery cycle. Many important processes depend on the assembly line schedule, including customer relationship management, dealer order management, material planning, scheduling of feeder lines and vendor supply chain management. The scheduling process can directly influence the cost and time required to deliver an order, and an effective assembly line scheduling system provides a competitive advantage to an automotive manufacturer.
Optessa's software proved to be so effective that in 2004, the same manufacturer offered Optessa a corporate deal. With this proof of concept behind them, Optessa then focused on developing multiple-line sequencing in auto and other manufacturing industries with a similar problem. Potential industries for Optessa include auto suppliers, small vehicles, semiconductor, power/farm/industrial equipment as well as appliances/ electronics/ CPG manufacturers.
In 2005, Optessa embarked on a detailed research project with the assistance of the National Research Council Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP). "IRAP Support has indeed helped a great deal," says Vidya Netrakanti. "Based on the quality of our product and its proven superior performance, we always knew that our company was capable of growth. IRAP assistance helped us to develop our product so we can move into other industries."
The NRC-IRAP, a national initiative, helps share a company's risk in trying to break new ground; in bringing new products, processes or services to market; by providing advice, expertise and contacts; and by providing financial assistance. Vidya continued, "We are proud to be a Canadian company that provides high tech jobs in Alberta. We greatly appreciate the support we are receiving from NRC-IRAP."
The year 2005 proved to be another eventful year when a major American auto manufacturer entered into a corporate licensing agreement with Optessa.
In November 2006, Netaps Inc. (Canada) and Netaps USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Canadian company, changed names to Optessa Inc. and Optessa USA Inc., respectively.
In early 2007, the company has announced two new products: Optessa MLS-SC for addressing the complexities of scheduling semiconductor cluster tools; and Optessa MLP, a multi-plant, multi-line and multi-bin planning and high level scheduling system which can be used either at the level of a single plant, a region and/or globally. Optessa also began a product prototype testing for scheduling small suppliers to Auto-OEMs in January 2007.
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