Unless your company meets customer expectations for on-time delivery performance, it won’t be in business for long. And unless you are selling a product with the cachet of the latest iPhone model, customer satisfaction depends on quick and accurate customer delivery promises.
Customers expect lead time consistency, reliable promise dates, and a high percentage of perfect orders, usually measured as DIFOT (delivery in full and on time).
Most manufacturing operations are extremely complex. Products move through multiple operations requiring custom tooling or unique skills or setups, and each item may require a different list of operations and a different operation run time than others. Jobs may need to run in a specific sequence to minimize setup or change-over time. Customer requirements change. Even if the requirements don’t change, most ERP systems don’t connect customer demand to WIP, and do not have a real-time and/or visible WIP tracking software solution …so it can be hard to recognize the real priorities.
This can make work scheduling in a manufacturing facility complex. Some might even say it’s impossible to do it effectively without scheduling software. The manufacturing environment is simply too volatile. Things change from second to second.
- Tooling breaks or requires sharpening
- A skilled operator goes home sick
- Machines break down or require unplanned maintenance
- Multiple jobs finish near the same time, requiring more setup operators than you have
- Weather conditions cause poor attendance
- Inventory record inaccuracies mean you don’t have the materials in stock
- A supplier delivers late
- A critical delivery is held up in QC
- Nobody noticed a machine spewing out poor quality parts, so you must scrap or rework some or all of the lot
- A critical ECN is released
The list of unplanned events could go on for pages, but the point is that in manufacturing, you must always be ready with an alternative plan. You also have to meet customer delivery expectations, or provide updated information quickly when you know you can’t hold to the previous promise date.
Shop floor scheduling software instantly analyzes the state of production, the availability of material, tooling and skills and customer request dates to optimize your shop floor schedule in seconds or minutes. ERP can’t do that.
Scheduling software understands that certain operations are bottlenecks, and it optimizes the schedule to ensure you get maximum throughput at bottleneck operations. Bottleneck operations gate your factory output, so optimizing the bottlenecks is key to maximizing revenue and customer satisfaction.
Besides work scheduling that optimizes throughput at bottleneck operations, the scheduling software improves your shop floor visibility. When coupled with paperless manufacturing shop floor systems, scheduling software tracks your shop floor in real time, enabling you to respond quickly and accurately to customer inquiries and requests.
When customers realize they can rely on your delivery dates and that you have mastery of your shop floor, they feel confident doing business with you. They will be more willing to buy from you than from your less reliable competitors, and they may even be willing to pay more for the peace of mind provided by knowing they can count on you. And knowing if this technology is something that is useful for your organization is easier to analyze than you might think. Try it out with a Proof-of-Concept POC. Take this simple test to see if Advanced Planning and Scheduling is for you. Can we benefit from APS…click here and find out!
Aberdeen Research reports that streamlining and accelerating processes and modernizing technology are the top two initiatives for leading manufacturing companies. They also report that industry leaders are 44 percent more likely to have visibility into all processes than their competitors. These three pieces of information point to the importance of a modern work scheduling solution that streamlines operational processes and provides visibility that enhances customer satisfaction. Leaders have seen a 13 percent increase in productivity over the last two years. Is your company keeping up?
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