Manufacturers around the globe are constantly looking for ways to make their operations more efficient as they are often pressed for time and resource capacity. A common problem for many manufacturers is that they are creating production plans and schedules that assume that they have infinite capacity.
In reality, most manufacturing facilities have an upper limit to how many items can be produced on a given day. In order to increase efficiency, manufacturers should use capacity planning to plan and schedule production across multiple departments that involve the utilization of limited resources.
While finite and infinite capacity planning and scheduling each have their own advantages and disadvantages, it is important for any production facility to understand their own resource capacity and use the technique that will be most beneficial for them. The most effective solution will depend on the availability of the resources and the extent of the planning horizon.
For example, a manufacturing facility that has a limited number of machines that runs at a set rate can easily find out the maximum available capacity that they have. This will give them a better understanding of how many units they can produce per hour or per day and use that to set expected finished dates when orders come in. These facilities will greatly benefit from using a planning and scheduling software that has finite capacity scheduling capabilities, to ensure that the production schedule is realistic.
Before implementing either finite capacity scheduling or infinite capacity loading, it is essential to understand the difference between these two methods to production scheduling. The following sections will define what each is and the main difference between the two strategies.
Finite Capacity Scheduling
Finite capacity scheduling is a detailed scheduling strategy that takes into account the available capacity of a manufacturing facility’s resources to schedule jobs and operations. This strategy recognizes that every production facility has a fixed amount of resources that have an upper limit to how many items they can produce in a given time frame. Finite capacity planning and scheduling takes into consideration the start and end times of each operation to ensure that the production schedule generated is realistic and feasible. If there is not enough capacity available on the resources, the planning and scheduling system will schedule the work on the next available capacity interval, provided that there is enough material available to start production at that time.
Infinite Capacity Scheduling
Infinite capacity scheduling will assume that there is sufficient capacity available and may schedule many orders in the same time frame. This type of scheduling ignores the resource constraints and plans production activities from the production order’s need date by looking at the manufacturing lead time of the item. By doing so, it disregards any existing work or commitment of the resources which can lead to resource capacity overload and over-promising on delivery dates. Infinite capacity loading can be helpful to identify uneven workloads or to quickly change the work schedule to balance resource requirements.
Infinite Capacity Scheduling Versus Finite Capacity Scheduling
An infinite capacity loading approach to planning and scheduling assumes that the due date of every order is absolute while ignoring the available resource capacity. The production schedule is typically created by scheduling operations backward from the order due date. This means that work operations are scheduled to each work center based on predefined lead times.
If jobs require additional resource capacity (i.e. if lead time is longer than the period until the order is required), then they will stand out and additional attention will be required. If the resources are not available, the order will not be able to be completed on time and the customer due dates will need adjustment.
Now, this differs from the finite approach to planning and scheduling that involves allowing a production manager to view the overall impact of new orders on the production capacity. Finite capacity planning and scheduling creates a more realistic schedule for the production processes than the infinite loading approach. If there is not enough capacity on the resources, the customer due date will be pushed out and the job will be scheduled when there is enough capacity.
PlanetTogether APS and Resource Capacity
The first step in maximizing the efficiency within your production facility is to gain a better understanding of the available production capacity you have. Then, you will be able to determine which production lines or employees are the most productive and which are lacking. This allows you to focus your attention on your problem areas and potentially eliminate any efficiencies in production.
Using an Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) system with finite capacity planning will help you increase your operational efficiency and ensure that your production schedule is realistic so that you can fulfill your customer requirements and fulfillment times.
We feed [PlanetTogether] the facts we know, and it automatically proposes an optimized schedule that allows us to meet those dates. It’s something we tried, but could never do manually.
DICK MARX, MATERIALS MANAGER, KNAPHEIDE TRUCK EQUIPMENT
PlanetTogether’s Advanced Planning and Scheduling software supports both finite capacity planning and infinite capacity loading to match your scheduling needs. While both strategies have advantages and disadvantages, using software that takes into consideration the available capacity will allow you to increase the efficiency of your production. PlanetTogether APS is being implemented into operations around the globe and has allowed for continuous improvement of the production process.
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!
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Topics: finite capacity
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