The manufacturing industry is facing high market volatility that makes it challenging for manufacturers to keep up with those rapid changes. Manufacturers must now be able to quickly adapt to the ever-changing demands of the market in order to maintain their competitive advantage.
With various methods available to manage these problems, agile manufacturing is becoming an extremely common and advantageous production method for many companies around the globe.
What is Agile Manufacturing?
Agility can be defined by the ability to easily adapt to changing situations. The goal of agile manufacturing is to quickly respond to customer and market demands to take advantage of small windows of opportunity in rapidly changing markets. Agile organizations must be able to retool facilities quickly, modify agreements with suppliers, and continually introduce new ideas and improvements to their products.
It is important to connect manufacturing staff, manufacturers, marketing, and customer support when using agile manufacturing techniques as it makes sure that customer demands are being considered and implemented.Agile manufacturing facilities will consider customer demands and priorities and will choose to improve their products to meet these expectations.
Before implementing agile manufacturing into your facility, it is essential to identify the advantages and disadvantages within the system and thoroughly evaluate your production facility. Therefore, here are a few advantages and disadvantages in agile manufacturing.
Advantages of Agile Manufacturing
1. Customer Focused Product Design
In today’s market, consumers are looking for products that they believe are the best quality. Additionally, they are looking for products that meet their demands. Agile manufacturing strategies enable manufacturers to build the best consumer-based product while also keeping up with a varying demand.
2. Connected IT
Through the utilization of an integrated system, the manufacturing facility is able to stay efficient and on time. This requires accurate data and information, which permits the system to be able to make quick decisions and keep production flowing. Without a software to help plan and schedule production, agility will be difficult to achieve. This is because traditional scheduling techniques are extremely time-consuming and may not reflect the actual time required on the production floor.
3. Cooperation within Supply Chain
It is important to make sure that the information throughout the entire supply chain is connected so that consumer demands and expectations are shared with suppliers, retailers, and the production facility. This will allow your entire supply chain to be able to align with consumer demands and adjust your production plan and schedule to meet those demands.
Disadvantages of Agile Manufacturing
1. Short Product Life Cycles
While adjusting and improving products to meet customer demands can be an asset for a manufacturing facility, doing so may incur additional costs. First, workers will require additional training to know how to adapt and be agile. In addition, changing the way products are made may require the facility to purchase new equipment, tools, or machinery. These additional costs should be considered when looking to implement agile strategies into your facility.
2. Production Process Design
One of the main challenges with implementing agile methods is that they may not be compatible with all types of production processes and design. The main benefits of agile are found in facilities with short order cycles, short lead times, and short cycles times, as well as fast supplier deliveries. In addition, having configurable product components and flexible machinery will further enhance a production facility's agility. However, these criteria for success may not be feasible in the industry you are working in.
3. Planning and Management is Challenging
When manufacturing facilities are implementing agile models, there is a necessity for intense planning and management to keep up with the rapidly changing demand. Managers are not able to forecast and plan for weeks or months in advance as multiple changes to the schedule could occur in the meantime. This is where an advanced planning and scheduling system can help your organization deal with this volatility and make the implementation of an agile system much easier.
With PlanetTogether, 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
With agile manufacturing, production flexibility is essential. It is therefore important to have a planning and scheduling system that provides the flexibility you need to allow your organization to quickly adapt and change the way your operations are scheduled.
PlanetTogether's Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) Software can be quickly implemented with agile manufacturing operations. Through various capabilities and benefits, PlanetTogether can optimize production within your operations.
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!