Production Scheduling for Manufacturing

What Is Production Scheduling for Manufacturing?

A production scheduler is a software tool that creates detailed schedules that outline all the tasks that need to be performed on the factory floor in order to create the final products that fulfill incoming work orders. But this isn’t just a schedule of ‘when things happen’.

This software solution also includes information like where the raw materials for each product come from and how much they cost, forecasted work orders for each product, and how many staff, tools and machines are needed for each process. 

This is a powerful tool that is used to help in forecasting demand and planning how you will meet it. It helps to keep everything and everyone organized, on time, on budget, and at the right production levels. Integrating the schedule with the shop-floor systems, allows for real-time data collection allowing machine learning and advanced analytics.  

The ultimate goal of a production schedule is to help your company be as efficient as possible – increase factory resources utilization and improve on-time delivery.

The Benefits of Using a Production Schedule

When used right and kept updated production schedule software can greatly benefit your manufacturing company. Here are some of the biggest benefits you can expect when you create a production schedule.

Greater Efficiency

As mentioned, the main goal of using manufacturing scheduling software is to increase the efficiency of your company’s resources. One of the ways to accomplish it is by creating an optimal weekly schedule and tracking its progress and execution – showing you where everything is and what is its progress at all times. This can help you identify bottlenecks, predict production delays and other issues that are likely to arise. By predicting these issues before they happen, you have the chance to avoid them altogether.

Issues like these can slow down production and throw off the workflow of your business. By avoiding them you increase your efficiency, OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) and also your bottom line.

By adding production scheduling software, you can also plan for your staffing needs. You can know exactly how many staff you need to schedule based on what processes are happening and when. The software also helps to streamline the scheduling process by removing the potential for human error. 

Lastly, the schedule is adjusted automatically to unpredicted changes on the factory floor.

Better Communication

A problem that many companies face is a breakdown in communication between different departments, especially the top floor and shop floor. But a production scheduler can help the manufacturing, sales, and HR departments all work together to keep things working smoothly.  

Having one master data repository that details everything that’s happening or that will be happening helps to keep everyone on the same page. It makes sure that staffing, product demand, and raw material needs are all met.

The scheduler software also has an interface for the factory floor staff and another view for the management, providing a holistic view, a digital twin, of the factory.

Improves Customer Relationships

This increased efficiency can go a long way in improving a company’s relationship with its customers. Because you will have fewer issues and therefore less production downtime due to delays and mistakes, you will be able to deliver better products to your customers on time. 

Having a clear, set process for the manufacturing of each of your products also makes a big difference in product quality. Using the same exact process each time increases product quality and consistency, which will make your customers happy as well.

How to Optimize Product Scheduling

Using the best production scheduling software tools is important, but it’s also critical to focus on production scheduling optimization. If you want to get the most out of having a production manufacturing schedule, then there are some things you should be doing to optimize the process.

Find Flexible Software

You are building a large scheme that will be critical to the operation of your business, it’s key that you are able to edit and adjust it as you need. You need to be able to make real-time changes that will be reflected immediately.

To get the most out of your production schedule you should invest in software that is designed specifically for this, not just a spreadsheet in Excel. This software is built for this specific purpose, is on the cloud and will be flexible and dynamic enough to support your business.

Production Capacity

While you may think that to optimize your production you should always be working at maximum capacity, this is not the case. Even with all of the planning and efficiency in the world, you will still run into issues in your manufacturing. If you’re already working at your max output it won’t take much to throw off the entire system.

Find your maximum capacity, and then plan on producing less than that so there is still room for any issues or surprise orders that come up.

Graphic design - Product

Think Big Picture

When using production scheduling it’s critical to keep the big picture in mind. For instance, when prioritizing which orders to fill or products to make first, you need to consider not only when each order is due to be delivered, but how long they each take to make and what resources they take up. The schedule should be not only optimal, but also practical to execute.

While one order may be due days ahead of another, the second order may take longer to make and therefore take precedence. 

AI based predictions and recommendations

Having AI algorithms in place, help to analyze the existing data, historical data and combining given restrictions and rules, they can provide recommendations and actionable insights for the planners, managers and operators, that can eliminate potential bottlenecks, downtime, material waste and make sure that the final parts will be delivered on-time. 

Start Using Production Scheduling Software Today

Manufacturing companies have many moving parts, and it can be difficult to keep them all moving in harmony. Production scheduling in manufacturing can help to solve this problem and increase the efficiency of your company.

If you’re ready to take your manufacturing business to the next level, we can help. Contact our experts today!

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