One of the most common challenges within manufacturing operations is keeping production on time and efficient. As technology improved, this problem became prevalent among many companies. The solution for these companies became what is known as Operations Scheduling. This involves the processes of assigning jobs or operations to the right machines and labor resources.
To ensure that production is completed on time, the timing and utilization of available resources are crucial. When properly executed, operations scheduling can increase your company’s revenues and decrease the overall production time.
While planning considers which resources and materials will be allocated for each job, scheduling adds the timing component of the production schedule. It deals with optimizing the sequence of operations on the allocated resources to ensure the most efficient production schedule is created and executed.
Objectives of Operations Scheduling
- Maximize Resource Utilization: One area that incurs high costs for a manufacturing company is the poor utilization of all resources. This can be due to a poor schedule that leaves machines idle for long periods of time.
- Manufacturing Time Reduction: When a proper schedule is created, your overall production time should be reduced. This is usually because all operations required to make a product will be performed only when they are needed. Therefore, the start to finish time will be shorter as you will have less time between the various operations.
- Inventory Minimization: To elaborate on the last point, a shorter manufacturing time usually means that you have less WIP inventory items waiting on availability on a resource. In addition, if your production starts so that it can be completed just before it needs to be shipped out, you will have less inventory to hold on to.
- Optimizing Efficiency of Labor: A great production schedule will be one that minimizes the amounts of back and forth and changeovers/setup time on machines. In addition, when workers know which item they are producing next and where the material is coming from, they will be more efficient.
- Service Level Improvement: Having an efficient production schedule not only benefits the workers on the shop floor but also the customer service employees. By looking at the schedule, they will know when products will be completed and they will be able to give a more accurate lead time. They will also be able to notify customers in advance in the event that a disruption occurs which would cause jobs products to be late.
- Increasing Profits and Output: Overall, having an efficient schedule will increase the number of products that are capable of being produced. This is turn will decrease production costs, as all resources will be utilized optimally. The overall result will be increased profits and increased on-time delivery.
Functions of Operations Scheduling
- Resource Allocation: The first part of scheduling operations is to allocate resources to each job. This is different than assigning jobs to departments as not every machine or labor resource is capable of producing each item. This will give you a more realistic picture of the actual capacity you possess.
- Sequence of Jobs: The next part is to determine the right sequence of jobs that will be performed on each resource. A common technique used is grouping jobs together as to minimize the amount of setup and changeover required. This could be running jobs of similar color or materials one after the other to reduce machine setup.
- Start and End Time of Job: When your operations are scheduled in the right order, you will now have a specific start and end time. For the most accurate schedule, you should consider the different machine run rates for various products and various machines. Knowing when operations are supposed to start and finish will help you notify customers of the status of their order.
- Maximum Utilization of Plant: Often, resources are not utilized to their full capacity. This leaves many resources idle for long periods of time which can be costly. One method to improve the overall schedule is to focus on the scheduling of operations on resources that are bottlenecks or that cost a lot to run. This will ensure that those resources are always processing items while upstream and downstream operations are adjusted to limit the number of WIP items.
- Information on Machines: Operations scheduling means that you have up-to-date operations on machines and the products that are being produced. Shop floor feedback on the status of operations offers additional visibility on the status of orders.
- Shop Floor Control: Having optimized operation schedules ensures that everyone knows what should be started and completed when. This gives additional structure and control over the shop floor operations.
Overall, operations scheduling will allow your company to see an increase in the number of on-time deliveries and allow you to maintain a competitive advantage in the market. An Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) system like PlanetTogether can help you save time in the creation of the most optimized production schedule to help you reach your company’s goals. Manufacturing companies around the globe are turning to APS softwares to have better visibility within their operations and improve their production.
The shift to PlanetTogether is saving us about 15% in inventory overhead and about 20% in overtime labor expenses. We're not building equipment to stock any longer - we're building to ship.
BRUCE HAYS, DIRECTOR OF MANUFACTURING, J&J SYNTHES
Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS)
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 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!
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Topics: operations management, production scheduling, operations scheduling
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