Smart Manufacturing Blog

Supply chain experts, smart manufacturing engineers, data and applications architects, and manufacturing business consultants share best practices for using smart manufacturing and supply chain solutions.

Planning, Scheduling, and OEE: A Mighty (but Untapped) Trio - Part 1

Is your company using overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) data for better planning, scheduling, and optimization? Production schedulers are typically masters at applying available information in creative ways. However, some production planners are unsure how best to put OEE data to work in their production scheduling software to improve and optimize the manufacturing production schedule. If your company has an OEE system to record unplanned downtime, micro stops, and other reasons for capacity loss, you have access to a rich source of efficiency data. Every machine, line, and work center using the OEE system can benefit even more from your schedule optimization efforts if you apply the OEE data for a better production schedule. The key is understanding what the OEE data means and how to use it for even better planning, scheduling, and optimization.

This is part one of a two-part series. Check back for part two on May 31.

3 Production Schedule Problems (and how to solve them like a boss)

It's not easy to narrow down the toughest production schedule problems schedulers face. We're hard-pressed to even imagine a "day in the life" guidebook for the manufacturing schedule heroes that balance inputs like materials, resources, inventories, customer service obligations, on-time order commitments, business rules, maintenance needs, and myriad other requirements to tackle complex optimization problems. We do know that there are three particularly difficult — yet common — situations that cause angst for shop floor schedulers that use spreadsheets, a whiteboard, or other manual methods to respond when the unexpected happens in the plant. Companies that arm production schedulers with an advanced planning and scheduling solution can respond and adapt to constantly changing conditions on the shop floor. Manufacturers that rely solely on the ERP system aren't usually equipped to handle events that happen in real time on the shop floor.

How to Handle Unplanned Downtime on the Production Schedule

Your company's production planner might be searching for a better way to handle unplanned downtime on the production schedule. Without the right production planning and scheduling software, dealing with unplanned downtime in manufacturing can be a headache. Yet unplanned downtime happens more often than people think: An unexpected maintenance issue causes a machine to stop working. Material is late or misplaced. A changeover takes longer than anticipated. Perhaps a trained operator is unexpectedly out for the day. Dozens of scenarios like these cause lines to stop. When unplanned downtime happens, everyone is relying on the production planner to make the right adjustments to minimize the impact on customer service commitments, staffing schedules, and operations in general.

Put Communication First for Great Planning & Scheduling in Manufacturing

Manufacturing companies are now looking to planning & scheduling as the next big opportunity to improve operations performance. The number of effective manufacturing planning & scheduling applications on the market today is proof that manufacturers are investing in this critical area of the business. So why are some companies still struggling to make their investment in production planning software and processes pay off? There are many reasons why a planning & scheduling initiative might not deliver expected ROI, but as I recall an incident from early in my career, I’m reminded that effective two-way communication is a critical element for planning & scheduling program success.

How to Pick the Best Production Scheduling Software for Manufacturing

If your manufacturing company has decided to invest in shop floor scheduling, it's time to determine what solution is the best production scheduling software for the organization. By this point, the production planner and operations management have probably built a business case for production scheduling software. You’ve engaged corporate executives, quantified the financial impact, and articulated production scheduling software advantages. Now it’s time to figure out which manufacturing scheduling software will align with manufacturing processes, integrate with existing manufacturing and business technology, and empower production planners to solve both common and complex problems.

Deciding if Production Scheduling Software is Right for Your Company

If you’re an operations leader or a production planner in manufacturing, you might know how hard it is to get top management approval for production scheduling software. Where technology funding is concerned, senior executives will often question why the ERP system isn’t enough to keep the daily manufacturing schedule on track. However, the ERP system isn’t usually equipped to handle events that happen in real time on the shop floor. When everyday problems disrupt production orders, the people in charge of production scheduling and operations management can join forces to decide if production scheduling software is right for the manufacturing company. Building a business case for production scheduling software helps you quantify the financial impact, articulate how it impacts business goals, and create a powerful tool for engaging corporate executives.

Savvy Manufacturer: Making Manufacturing Performance Gains Stick

If your manufacturing business has ever survived a crisis — supply chain disruption, market demand fluctuation, distribution problems, or perhaps even a natural or economic catastrophe — it had an uncommon opportunity to shine through the adversity. More importantly it gives you a chance to learn from the outcomes generated by the organization’s responses to the disaster.  We don’t know any that are eager to flush it all away — not just the performance gains, but the opportunity to do even more with the unexpected wisdom.

Performance Improvement: When Conditions Change, Find a Hidden Factory

Manufacturers are always eager to balance efficiency, reputation, and the many other factors that affect overall business performance.  Everyone agrees that performance improvement in manufacturing operations is one powerful tool companies leverage to achieve their strategic business objectives.  Even when there’s a status quo in market conditions, regulatory requirements, and other factors, nearly every manufacturing enterprise is doing something to improve manufacturing performance.  When something happens to disrupt circumstances — whether it affects just your business, many companies, or an entire group — there’s no doubt you’ll respond to your company’s best advantage.  But will you also use the experience to uncover “the hidden factory,” and discover new ways to create capacity without adding equipment?

Three Steps to Improve Production Scheduling

Production scheduling in manufacturing is complex; it’s difficult to produce a production schedule that is both achievable and meets business requirements.  Have you ever been part of an organization where the production planner’s life seems like groundhog day?…Every day, that person adjusts and re-issues the master production schedule?  If so, you probably saw lots of frustration and people continually scrambling — not just the shop floor and other internal operations teams, but also suppliers and customers. Operations has to readjust crew and equipment plans, suppliers have to rush orders, and customers often receive less than what they need.  Many organizations look squarely at the production planner to fix the issue.  The reality is that production scheduling isn’t just about production planning software; a cross-functional approach is required for success.

Is Your Production Scheduling Process Helping or Hurting the Shop Floor?

A lot of companies wonder why the production schedule gets off track, and why there’s so much angst between production planners and shop floor people.  “This production schedule is ridiculous!  We just ran that last week!  What are they thinking in the office — do they even have a clue?”  Those are statements I've heard more times than I'd like to admit, and it's tough to hear.  People with these (and similar) comments are clearly frustrated and fatigued by the situation; they are simply tired of it!  Fortunately, there are lots of ways a manufacturer can create alignment and balance between shop floor staff and production planners.

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Planning, Scheduling, and OEE: A Mighty (but Untapped) Trio - Part 1

Is your company using overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) data for better planning, scheduling, and optimization? Production schedulers are typically masters at applying available information in creative ways. However, some production planners are unsure how best to put OEE data to work in their production scheduling software to improve and optimize the manufacturing production schedule. If your company has an OEE system to record unplanned downtime, micro stops, and other reasons for capacity loss, you have access to a rich source of efficiency data. Every machine, line, and work center using the OEE system can benefit even more from your schedule optimization efforts if you apply the OEE data for a better production schedule. The key is understanding what the OEE data means and how to use it for even better planning, scheduling, and optimization.

This is part one of a two-part series. Check back for part two on May 31.

3 Production Schedule Problems (and how to solve them like a boss)

It's not easy to narrow down the toughest production schedule problems schedulers face. We're hard-pressed to even imagine a "day in the life" guidebook for the manufacturing schedule heroes that balance inputs like materials, resources, inventories, customer service obligations, on-time order commitments, business rules, maintenance needs, and myriad other requirements to tackle complex optimization problems. We do know that there are three particularly difficult — yet common — situations that cause angst for shop floor schedulers that use spreadsheets, a whiteboard, or other manual methods to respond when the unexpected happens in the plant. Companies that arm production schedulers with an advanced planning and scheduling solution can respond and adapt to constantly changing conditions on the shop floor. Manufacturers that rely solely on the ERP system aren't usually equipped to handle events that happen in real time on the shop floor.

How to Handle Unplanned Downtime on the Production Schedule

Your company's production planner might be searching for a better way to handle unplanned downtime on the production schedule. Without the right production planning and scheduling software, dealing with unplanned downtime in manufacturing can be a headache. Yet unplanned downtime happens more often than people think: An unexpected maintenance issue causes a machine to stop working. Material is late or misplaced. A changeover takes longer than anticipated. Perhaps a trained operator is unexpectedly out for the day. Dozens of scenarios like these cause lines to stop. When unplanned downtime happens, everyone is relying on the production planner to make the right adjustments to minimize the impact on customer service commitments, staffing schedules, and operations in general.

Put Communication First for Great Planning & Scheduling in Manufacturing

Manufacturing companies are now looking to planning & scheduling as the next big opportunity to improve operations performance. The number of effective manufacturing planning & scheduling applications on the market today is proof that manufacturers are investing in this critical area of the business. So why are some companies still struggling to make their investment in production planning software and processes pay off? There are many reasons why a planning & scheduling initiative might not deliver expected ROI, but as I recall an incident from early in my career, I’m reminded that effective two-way communication is a critical element for planning & scheduling program success.

How to Pick the Best Production Scheduling Software for Manufacturing

If your manufacturing company has decided to invest in shop floor scheduling, it's time to determine what solution is the best production scheduling software for the organization. By this point, the production planner and operations management have probably built a business case for production scheduling software. You’ve engaged corporate executives, quantified the financial impact, and articulated production scheduling software advantages. Now it’s time to figure out which manufacturing scheduling software will align with manufacturing processes, integrate with existing manufacturing and business technology, and empower production planners to solve both common and complex problems.

Deciding if Production Scheduling Software is Right for Your Company

If you’re an operations leader or a production planner in manufacturing, you might know how hard it is to get top management approval for production scheduling software. Where technology funding is concerned, senior executives will often question why the ERP system isn’t enough to keep the daily manufacturing schedule on track. However, the ERP system isn’t usually equipped to handle events that happen in real time on the shop floor. When everyday problems disrupt production orders, the people in charge of production scheduling and operations management can join forces to decide if production scheduling software is right for the manufacturing company. Building a business case for production scheduling software helps you quantify the financial impact, articulate how it impacts business goals, and create a powerful tool for engaging corporate executives.

Savvy Manufacturer: Making Manufacturing Performance Gains Stick

If your manufacturing business has ever survived a crisis — supply chain disruption, market demand fluctuation, distribution problems, or perhaps even a natural or economic catastrophe — it had an uncommon opportunity to shine through the adversity. More importantly it gives you a chance to learn from the outcomes generated by the organization’s responses to the disaster.  We don’t know any that are eager to flush it all away — not just the performance gains, but the opportunity to do even more with the unexpected wisdom.

Performance Improvement: When Conditions Change, Find a Hidden Factory

Manufacturers are always eager to balance efficiency, reputation, and the many other factors that affect overall business performance.  Everyone agrees that performance improvement in manufacturing operations is one powerful tool companies leverage to achieve their strategic business objectives.  Even when there’s a status quo in market conditions, regulatory requirements, and other factors, nearly every manufacturing enterprise is doing something to improve manufacturing performance.  When something happens to disrupt circumstances — whether it affects just your business, many companies, or an entire group — there’s no doubt you’ll respond to your company’s best advantage.  But will you also use the experience to uncover “the hidden factory,” and discover new ways to create capacity without adding equipment?

Three Steps to Improve Production Scheduling

Production scheduling in manufacturing is complex; it’s difficult to produce a production schedule that is both achievable and meets business requirements.  Have you ever been part of an organization where the production planner’s life seems like groundhog day?…Every day, that person adjusts and re-issues the master production schedule?  If so, you probably saw lots of frustration and people continually scrambling — not just the shop floor and other internal operations teams, but also suppliers and customers. Operations has to readjust crew and equipment plans, suppliers have to rush orders, and customers often receive less than what they need.  Many organizations look squarely at the production planner to fix the issue.  The reality is that production scheduling isn’t just about production planning software; a cross-functional approach is required for success.

Is Your Production Scheduling Process Helping or Hurting the Shop Floor?

A lot of companies wonder why the production schedule gets off track, and why there’s so much angst between production planners and shop floor people.  “This production schedule is ridiculous!  We just ran that last week!  What are they thinking in the office — do they even have a clue?”  Those are statements I've heard more times than I'd like to admit, and it's tough to hear.  People with these (and similar) comments are clearly frustrated and fatigued by the situation; they are simply tired of it!  Fortunately, there are lots of ways a manufacturer can create alignment and balance between shop floor staff and production planners.

1 2
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