ERP Systems usually produce the production schedule: sometimes only at a high level leaving the tactical allocation of orders to lines and production sequencing to planners at the factory. Other times the production planning is detailed and needs to be communicated to the people running the line. Even then, problems can arise, for example breakdowns; unforeseen materials shortages; staff shortages; in which case orders have to be rescheduled.
To compound matters, in some cases the operatives at the line have some discretion to change the execution order and do so without understanding the knock-on effect. Deviations from the job schedule for whatever reason can be very disruptive. Bringing forward one job can rob materials for others, or reduce time for others, impacting the ability to meet the delivery dates.
Finite capacity scheduling systems (or job shop scheduling systems) exist, but often they depend on complex rules to model real world constraints. Without the rules the systems can generate impractical plans. At the other end of the spectrum, more often than not, planners are taking extracts from ERP, copying into spreadsheets and manipulating the plan there. Whilst spreadsheets are easy to use, they are not so easy to keep up-to-date; or maintain; or to share with all involved; and not always so easy for everyone to access.
The Scheduling module of Shopfloor-OnlineTM Lifescience Edition provides an easy to use tool for planners to visualise and sequence the schedule as required. It is a considerable step up from a spreadsheet but without the burden of a heavy finite capacity scheduling system. It also improves the communication of the plan to the production lines. With the Production Scheduling module you can:
- Create orders manually
- Download orders from the ERP system
- Schedule orders to lines, with rules that ensure that certain products are restricted to certain lines
- View orders with common features, e.g. products that share a common attribute (colour, size, material) – which is often how schedules are built up to minimise change-over time.
- Predict order completion dates and test dates to see that due date deadlines can be met
- Visualise as an order list or as a Gantt chart
- Reschedule orders to run on different lines or a different place in the sequence, after which the effect on the schedule is instantly recalculated
- The schedule is live; any changes to the schedule are immediately reflected at the line, so operators always know what should be running next.
- Report KPIs like conformance to schedule and conformance to demand.
- View material requirements to run each order
When Used with Other Modules
When the Scheduling module is used in conjunction with other modules of Shopfloor-OnlineTM Lifescience Edition more opportunities open up. For example:
- When used with the Job Tracking module you can see when operators have not followed the plan – where jobs were skipped and why
- If the Production Counting module is being used to capture real-time production, then it will automatically calculate the progress of the current job, update the projected completion date and update all queued jobs accordingly. So if a line is stopped for a while you can instantly see if it will cause any scheduled order to be late.
- With the Inventory module view material requirements to run the order and view material availability
- Save time – It helps you to generate production schedules easily, with instant feedback on the consequences of the schedule and impact on deadlines
- Better job scheduling decisions – planners have the tools to see the impact of rescheduling
- Faster reaction times – to respond to unplanned events and be able to reconfigure the plan
- Communication – everyone sees the latest copy of the plan automatically – whenever it changes
- Avoid mistakes – allow planners to send special instructions to operatives on a job by job basis
- Live update of progress – as production achievement is fed in, see if any jobs in the queue will miss deadlines