How Alumasc achieved simplified planning, transparency, and reduction of errors

The transparency gained through visual scheduling was key to achieving operational agility.

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Alumasc Water Management Solutions (AWMS), part of Alumasc Group, is the first joined-up brand in integrated water management. Alumasc Group – the leading UK supplier of premium building products, systems, and solutions – has been promoting the efficient use, retention, recycling, and disposal of water for almost 90 years.

Among its subsidiaries are Wade and GATIC, which operate two manufacturing sites in Halstead and Dover respectively

VAPS - customer story Alumasc - introduction


Executive summary

The initial situationVAPS - reference story Alumasc - Gary

Before using the VAPS from NETRONIC, the company’s planning was done by extensive Excel sheets, but, according to Gary Browning, Business Unit Manager at the GATIC site in Dover, they were always “quite keen to have a visual planning tool to drag and drop things.”

The Dover team has been using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central since 2020 and soon after started to use the Visual Advanced Production Scheduler (VAPS).


Solution & results

Their Microsoft Dynamics partner, Tecman, recommended the VAPS and soon they were convinced by the powerful features and options of the product.

Since working with advanced production scheduling software, Alumasc WMS has achieved significant improvements:

  • streamlined order management
  • better integration with Dynamics 365 Business Central
  • error detection
  • easy and efficient changes to the plan

The situation before NETRONIC

Alumasc WMS had used Microsoft Dynamics NAV before switching to Business Central, always having some sort of homegrown production schedule linked to their ERP.


Complex manufacturing poses major challenges to planning

Alumasc WMS manufactures high-capacity drainage products, involving multiple manufacturing stages such as laser cutting, pressing, and assembly.

Approximately 90% of their business operates on a make-to-order basis. Communicating and meeting delivery times are crucial for Alumasc. This, on the one hand, requires precise production scheduling. On the other hand, constantly varying demand, and the need to squeeze in short-term orders also requires a very flexible scheduling process.


VAPS - customer story Alumasc - Mark WoodwardHomemade solution did not fit the requirements

Before introducing the VAPS, some areas of production scheduling were done by Excel spreadsheets, which was “a method prone to human error and data gaps”, as Mark Woodward, Business Systems Manager at the Halstead site, puts it.

This cumbersome and error-prone way of working could not keep up anymore with the modern and sophisticated production processes in the company and clearly required a new scheduling and planning method.


Requirements for the production scheduling software

The production scheduling software should be able to

  • integrate with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and facilitate working with it

  • provide an overview of their production orders in relation to their sales orders, as their focus is on make-to-order manufacturing

  • present the production schedule in a clearly arranged view

  • easily detect errors

  • allow for easy and quick changes to the schedule either automatically or manually

Experiences working with the Visual Advanced Production Scheduler



VAPS - customer story Alumasc - machines

After Tecman had drawn their attention to NETRONIC’s VAPS, they scheduled a demo, during which Alumasc WMS’s Managing Director was extremely impressed and recognized the potential of the solution.

He immediately realized the impact that automatic finite capacity scheduling could have on making realistic delivery time commitments and keeping the schedule current.


VAPS - customer story Alumasc - trainingWade International in Halstead, recently completed in-person training for the VAPS done by NETRONIC’s Team Lead Sales and Marketing, Lawin Ileto. To be able to tailor the training exactly to their situation and requirements, Lawin visited them at their site. The training was completed successfully, and Wade International’s Halstead site is preparing to go live.


Usage of the NETRONIC VAPS

Having used the VAPS for some time now, the Dover team can report significant changes and improvements.

Benefits of the VAPS

  • Better integration with Dynamics 365 Business Central: the VAPS makes working with Business Central easier by providing a visual and accurate live view of production data and demand. In addition to this, unlike in Excel, changes made in the scheduling tool directly update the production orders in Business Central. That way, scheduling and ERP have become integrated, and no longer separate tools.

  • Streamlined order management: the VAPS enabled the Dover site to schedule, visualize, and adjust orders more efficiently, reducing the reliance on complex spreadsheets.

  • Error detection: the wide range of tools, like the comprehensive finite capacity scheduling instruments, helps detect bottlenecks, spot errors in the data and gives the ability to quickly address them.

  • Different color modes, e.g., Item View, Production Order View, Shopfloor Status View, etc. let the planner see data through different perspectives.

Gary Browning is pleased that “the VAPS made planning significantly easier compared to our previous use of spreadsheets. The visual nature of the tool allowed for quicker and more intuitive adjustments, eliminating the need for extensive copying, and pasting. With the VAPS, we can confirm delivery times to our customers with much more precision than before.”


VAPS - customer story Alumasc - pipesBeneficial collaboration with NETRONIC

Mark and Gary are delighted with their choice to implement the VAPS and are extremely satisfied with the exceptional collaboration they have experienced with NETRONIC.

“The whole NETRONIC team was always very responsive, and open to recommendations and suggestions about building and further developing the product. Information was willingly shared, and limitations were openly admitted. They provided us with a plethora of valuable tips and tricks, and their production scheduling understanding and knowledge are unprecedented. What impressed us is that they nevertheless always have an open ear to learn how they can further enhance and improve their product.”

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Alumasc success in scheduling


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Summary: tangible benefits of advanced visual production scheduling

Smooth integration with Business Central provides accurate live view of production data and demand

Streamlined order management helps reduce reliance on complex spreadsheets

Planners can view data from different perspectives by various color modes

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