Understanding how agile manufacturing can enhance your manufacturing operation and provide a competitive advantage is the next step within improving productivity within your overall production process. Agile manufacturing pushes an emphasis on providing rapid response to changing customer demand. Within an agile framework, you can easily see where the focus is directed.
Some of the main focuses on agile manufacturing include components such as consumer focused product design, fully connected IT, supply chain cooperation, and full company involvement. All of these focuses are key within taking production up a notch and fully comprehending how to boost your manufacturing process. Before implementing an agile framework and methodology, it is important to understand the characteristics of agile manufacturing.
Five Characteristics of Agile Manufacturing
The various characters of agile manufacturing include the following:
- Agile Development Releases and Fixed-Length Iterations - Agile software development methods have two priority units of delivery, which include releases and iterations. A release consists of various iterations that resemble a micro-project of its own. Features, defects, enhancement requests, other work items are organized, estimated, prioritized, and then assigned to a release. Within the process of a release, the work items are then assigned by priority to iterations. Any agile development project thrives on the rhythm of fixed-length iterations. With a continuous flow of new running, tested features at each iteration provides feedback that allows the team to keep the project and system on track with ease.
- Value-Driven Development - Agile development methods focus solely on delivering value early and continuously, which are then measured through running tested software. This requires that the team focuses on production features as a main unit of planning, tracking, and delivery. From each week to each iteration, the team tracks features that are running, tested, and being delivered. They may also require documents and other artifacts, but working features are paramount. This in turn requires that each “feature” is small enough to be delivered in a single iteration. Focusing on business value also requires features to be priorities, and delivered in priority order.
- Continuous Planning - Agile development projects involve more planning, and much better planning, than waterfall projects. Agile projects are not bound by the same initial flaws as waterfall projects and includes continuous planning based on solid, accurate, recent data that enables agile projects to follow priorities and the exact scope to evolve, within reason, to accommodate the inescapable ways in which business needs to continuously evolve. Continuous planning keeps the team and system honed in on maximum business value by the deadline.
- Multi-Level Planning in Agile - Continuous planning is much more accurate if it occurs on at least two levels, which include the release and iteration level. At the release level, we identify and prioritize features we much have, would like to have, and can do without. At the iteration level, we pick and plan for the next batch of features to implement, in priority order. If features are too large to be estimated or delivered within a single iteration, we break them down further. As features are prioritized and scheduled for iteration, they are broken down into their discrete technical tasks.
- Small Cross Functional Teams - Smaller agile development teams are proven to be more productive than larger teams, with the ideal ranging from around five to ten people. If you have to scale a project up to more people, make every effort to keep individual teams as small as possible and coordinate efforts across the teams. Teams work together to determine how best to take advantage of one another’s skills and mentor each other. Utilizing an agile approach will allow this to work much more effectively and allow you to work more collaboratively.
A software that utilizes agile manufacturing methodology is PlanetTogether’s advanced planning and scheduling software (APS). Advanced planning and scheduling software (APS) provides thorough insight into your manufacturing operation through enabling you to generate various schedules and then ultimately allowing you to pick the most advantageous one. PlanetTogether’s APS software has become a necessity for manufacturers around the globe that are seeking to increase efficiency, reduce waste, reduce unwanted costs, and ultimately take production to the next level. APS software has greatly benefited manufacturers across the globe.
Advanced Planning and Scheduling Software
Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) software has become a must for modern-day manufacturing operations due to customer demand for increased product mix and fast delivery combined with downward cost pressures. APS can be quickly integrated with a ERP/MRP software to fill gaps where these system lack planning and scheduling flexibility and accuracy. Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) helps planners save time while providing greater agility in updating ever-changing priorities, production schedules, and inventory plans.
- Create optimized schedules balancing production efficiency and delivery performance
- Maximize output on bottleneck resources to increase revenue
- Synchronize supply with demand to reduce inventories
- Provide company-wide visibility to capacity
- Enable scenario data-driven decision making
Implementation of Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) software will take your manufacturing operations to the next level of production efficiency, taking advantage of the operational data you already have in your ERP.
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Topics: Agile manufacturing