A constant challenge within manufacturing operations is to improve profit margins while maneuvering the unpredictable changes in supply and demand. Planners and schedulers must find the schedule that will optimally utilize resource capacity and meet your company's financial goals. Analytics can help you do just that.
So what is Analytics?
For our purposes, Analytics can be defined as the discovery and interpretation of data. It focuses on knowing why things happened in the past and what will happen in the future to guide decision making.
If your production output is consistently lower than expected, analytics can help you identify the source of the problem. Is the issue contained to a single department? Are materials not arriving on time? Are certain machines not meeting their target production outputs? When the data is collected and interpreted, you can more easily find the right solution to fix the problem. This can include performing the required machine maintenance or purchasing your materials in advance so that they are available when you need them.
We're able to make strategic decisions that improve operations. We can proactively prepare for anticipated increases or slowdowns in demand.
DICK MARX, MATERIALS MANAGER, KNAPHEIDE TRUCK EQUIPMENT
Data is such an important aspect of business development as it guides business executives make the right decisions by monitoring the progress of production and measure the KPIs of interest against their targets.
Benefits of Analytics
There are many benefits in analyzing and interpreting the data from your production plan and schedule. These include:
- Increased Visibility - Analytics plays an important part in increasing the visibility of the impact of the production schedule. Well-made analytics dashboards and reports should allow everyone in the company to understand how the current production plan and schedule are performing at the financial or operational level. This allows more people to bring in their expertise and suggest meaningful changes to the current scheduling process in the pursuit of continuous improvement.
- Align With Reality - Creating the most optimal production plan and schedule is a challenge. This is usually because most manufacturing facilities often have multiple scheduling constraints that must be accounted for during the creation of the schedule. Analytics allows you to compare the schedule plan to the actual production output to determine whether the schedule created is an accurate and feasible representation of what can actually be produced. Having a realistic and feasible plan will allow you to when items are to be completed.
- Increase Agility - In recent years, agility has become the goal for many manufacturing facilities. This means being able to quickly adjust your production plan and schedule to meet varying changes in demand, unexpected disruptions, and other circumstances that life may throw your way. Being agile means making quick decisions and analytics can help by accurately predicting demand or by identifying underutilized resource capacity that could help your company meet a sudden surge in demand.
- Identify Bottlenecks - When your production output is consistently less than what you have predicted, you may be dealing with a capacity bottleneck. Reports that compare actual versus predicted work hours and quantities are a great way to identify areas or resources that are not meeting their expected targets. Further analysis into these areas will help you determine whether your machines are in need of replacement or whether your production schedule is not accurate nor realistic.
Analytics with PlanetTogether
PlanetTogether Analytics with Power BI allows manufacturers to take full advantage of all of the information associated with their production schedule. Users are able to use up-to-data information to help them monitor the performance of the manufacturing process as well as improve any areas that are underperforming.
PlanetTogether Analytics reports are:
- Interactive - The reports allow you to drill-down to the underlying data as well as group and filter the data based on pre-defined categories. For example, looking at the planning report will allow you to see the capacity utilization of specific resources per product name.
- Future-Looking - Looking at the reports for the current schedule can allow you to better plan for future circumstances and identify which scheduling strategies and optimization rules are more beneficial than others.
- History Tracking - The PlanetTogether reports allow you to analyze the data based on previous as well as current schedules. In addition, you can see how changes to the production schedule impacted a customer's order and manage this appropriately.
Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) Software
Advanced Planning and Scheduling Softwares have become a must for modern-day manufacturing operations as customer demand for increased product assortment, fast delivery, and downward cost pressures become prevalent. These systems help planners save time while providing greater agility in updating ever-changing priorities, production schedules, and inventory plans. APS Systems can be quickly integrated with an ERP/MRP software to fill the gaps where these systems lack planning and scheduling flexibility, accuracy, and efficiency.
With PlanetTogether APS you can:
- Create optimized schedules that balance production efficiency and delivery performance
- Maximize throughput on bottleneck resources to increase revenue
- Synchronize supply with demand to reduce inventories
- Provide company-wide visibility to resource capacity
- Enable scenario data-driven decision making
The implementation of an Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) Software will take your manufacturing operations to the next level of production efficiency by taking advantage of the operational data you already possess in your ERP system. APS is a step in the right direction of efficiency and lean manufacturing production enhancement. Try out a free trial or demo!