Manufacturing companies have more operations to manage than ever before. With the constantly evolving nature of the industry it can be very difficult to keep up with scheduling, especially when it’s changing on a week to week basis. Scheduling affects every aspect of manufacturing from the bottom, up. Even the most advanced algorithms can have a hard time keeping up with and maintaining the problems that arise in throughput rates, supply chain maintenance, and quality control procedures.
When searching for a scheduling software it is important for manufacturers to find one that facilitates the principals of Lean Manufacturing. This technology should have compelling visual scheduling data so that accessing and analyzing the schedule is easy and consistent across the board for employees. It should also be able to adapt and respond to the data being thrown at the production managers on a daily basis. Incorporating a visual component not only helps with Big Data Analytics but the user friendly nature of these graphs gives a simple drag and drop structure that is extremely helpful in the use of Lean principles.
Some of the problems manufacturers encounter due to the complex nature of the business are visibility, resource allocation, bottleneck identification, and timely delivery. Whenever production or supply and demand increase a business will typically encounter one or more of these problems. However, this is not something to worry about because many initiatives have taken steps to fix these common problems. No matter how complicated these solutions are, they have one common variable, they all have a graphical planning board.
Visibility is a key factor in a production planners daily routine, this person is in charge of knowing everything that is happening on the shop floor. Without proper visibility, problems cannot be solved in a timely manner and thus production slows down. Many manufacturers have rectified this problem with an interactive Gantt Chart. These charts are updated by employees as the day goes on and offers an interactive look at everything happening in a single glance. The production planner can then prioritize tasks and set out on resolving what he deems most important first.
The planning board can also be very helpful in resource allocation. Using the Gantt Chart planners can assign resources with a drag and drop system that goes beyond just visualizing the schedule. Resources can be moved on the fly, something that is imperative to a successful manufacturing operation. Planners can easily see what resource belongs where or if something is being overused with a few easy clicks. If the Gantt Chart is being used properly it will also include a histogram that will signal when a system is being overloaded, typically with a color chosen by the user. This helps planners identify a bottleneck issue the moment it happens which can then be resolved quickly. This same software will also identify when a function is being underutilized thus increasing production quality and time even more.
Lastly manufacturers need to make sure that all this streamlining cultivates into quick and reliable delivery times. Luckily with the use of a planning board and interactive Gantt Charts, delivery has never been more manageable. With all aspects of production being on an interactive chart planners have an in depth look at when a delivery time is achievable and can give more accurate predictions to their clients. This schedule also has the ability to be updated if there are any issues during the delivery process so that customers can be updated the second a conflict occurs.
Every business in the manufacturing industry can gain so much from the use of proper scheduling software. Using a combination of Big Data, IIoT, and Lean Manufacturing scheduling your business has never been easier. Manufacturers who adopt this technology will see increased satisfaction in not just their employees but customers as well.