Metal Processing, Cyclic Long Processes

This article explains the operations and functions used from master setting to rescheduling with Asprova APS. In this sample, we will explain the process in automobile parts-processing factory.

In this sample, the factory produces automobile bodies named “XT1” and “XT4”. The raw material is called XT1-Material and this will go through a series of processes below:

  • There is a resource called Cut#1 in the cutting process.
  • There is a resource called Forge#1 in the forge process.
  • There is a resource called Shot#1 in the shot process.
  • There is a resource called Lubrication#1 in the lubrication process.
  • There are three resources called Press#1, Press#2, and Press#3 in the press process.
  • There are resources called AssemblyLine#1, AssemblyLine#2, AssemblyLine#4 in the assembly process.
  • There are resources called Inspection#1 and Inspection#2 in the inspection process.

The forge, shot, and lubrication processes are repeated. XT1/XT4 will be completed after all these processes.

In Asprova, you can opt to view the process through Graphical Master or the Spreadsheet display. From the spreadsheet display, we can update the master data such as a) Production where the number of materials are set to produce one item (e.g. Production 0.02 for 1 item means we can produce 50 items of “XT1” with 1 item of “XT1-Material”), b) production time where the amount of time to produce a product is recorded, c) setup time, and d) time constraints among others. As soon as the master data is completed, order data should be registered. Order data contains the order quantity, due date and priority. Once all these parameters are completely setup, you can press the re-schedule button to see the schedule. The schedule will show the orders and the start and end time of each process. In this cyclic process sample, there will be orders that will go through one process a couple of times. It is going to be difficult and complicated if such schedule is done manually. In Asprova, each process can be adjusted and the system will automatically adjust and reschedule.

To learn more about Asprova specific to this sample demonstration, you may visit Asprova’s e-Learning videos at http://lib.asprova.com/ (see 21. Try out sample data).

 

Solution to the Four Main Problems of the Auto Manufacturing Industry

The path of the Automobile and Auto-Parts industry gives a mountain of challenges for manufacturers. These challenges can be enumerated in four specific areas. These are the following: Quality control, Cost and Profits, Due Dates, and Globalization.

In the aspect of quality, processes that are not standardized are often the root causes of defect resurgence. Sometimes, because of the speed requirements, the product’s quality would be sacrificed just to keep up with delivery dates and deadlines.

When it comes to Cost and Profits, data alone are a little hard to understand because of the amount of text in most outputs. When this happens, it would be harder to analyze and digest. This could result to delays and problems in the long run.

In due dates, the difference between order forecasts and fixed orders are hard to adjust—sudden orders and random changes in orders cause chaos and work stress for laborers.

Because of Globalization, close coordination and communication with foreign associated factories is hard to maintain.

In this industry that requires strict quality control, schedule management, and cost control, Visualization is imperative. Manufacturers from around the globe, who pursue this industry perform better, thanks to Asprova. This Finite Capacity Scheduling Software offers Visualization of schedules that surely helped clients’ needs.

In today’s fast-paced Automobile and Auto-Parts industry, you would need something that offers a little help, and solutions, to these four specific problems. This is Asprova to the rescue! This scheduler contains everything that you need, and more!

Here is today’s SlideShare presentation for you:

Combination of Automatic Scheduling and Manual Adjustment

There is a saying that goes: “before we point at others, we must first look at a mirror.” The quote implies that when you look at yourself in the mirror, you would see your own flaws. If you seize this moment constructively, and as an opportunity to reflect on what you see, you will attain self-improvement. In a professional setting, a term called SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis has the same idea as the premise of this paragraph—analyzing your flaws, and improving upon it. Using this as our guide, we can now examine how the Taiwan-based company achieved this 110 million New Taiwan Dollars (NTD) increase in their savings. For this article, we’ll focus on S, W, and O.

Strengths

The company was growing rapidly. They were able make a name for themselves through the development of high-quality tires and production of UHP, SUV, LTR, PCR, and other series tires. They were becoming a big-shot in the tire industry; however, they noticed that production efficiency was not maximized.

Weaknesses

Before we can increase our profit, we must first look at what’s holding us back—this might be the idea that came to the minds of the consulting department manager and the production planner when they initiated the plan to improve. There were two key areas that needed attention:

  • Using Excel for production plans—this is a weakness because Excel could not consider current sales information nor inventory levels. This made Synchronization difficult and affected company profits.
  • The inability to respond to an increasing number of small and diverse orders, rush orders, and frequent order changes. It became impossible for them to update the plan manually and in time. This led to late deliveries and an inefficient allocation of production capacity.

Opportunities

After finding out about their flaws, they had a chance to improve upon it. They searched for a production scheduler, and after a series of evaluation, they found the perfect partner—Asprova. Because of its known abilities in scheduling, the company was able to overcome their weaknesses and turn it into strengths. Objectively speaking, the percentage of products delivered directly without having been stored, increased from 45% to 85%; this lead to savings of 50 million NTD per year. Lastly, inventory turnover was reduced from 20 to 15 days contributing another 60 million NTD per year.

Do you find it hard to manually schedule rush orders and never-ending order changes? There’s still hope, let us help you make your company more profitable and your job a lot easier. You can start with this free trial version of Asprova so you can evaluate. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Reduce inventory by 62.8%

Installing Asprova

An auto parts manufacturer,  after discovering how Asprova has been helping a lot of companies make their manufacturing lean, installed it in their mainframe to improve their own processes. Their three main reasons for doing so were:

  • Sharing and general purpose capabilities
  • High-speed scheduling
  • Full scheduling logic

autopartsThese reasons further proved the credibility and reliability of the scheduler even more. Truth to be told, Asprova is widely-used all throughout world renowned companies in  Japan (52.4% market share dominance) and abroad, and is actively used in a wide range of manufacturing areas. Asprova also gives its users a friendly graphical user interface that allows them the ease needed to speed up scheduling processes. Lastly, minimization of set-up times has always been a normal achievement with Asprova, and has been vastly used to eliminate the causes of wastes.

Reaping the Rewards

Objectively speaking, the company experienced the following benefits:

  1. setup time reduction of production planning – they can now prepare detailed plans in time units that pay attention to loads
  2. effectively reduced finished product inventories to 62.8 percent
  3. and, they were able to control progress in real time.

These are just a few of the many merits that can be achieved with Asprova.

Standardization: The Secret to Massive Data Handling

Manual Production Scheduling’s Flaws

Scheduling is a key factor in any kind of production. It affects the entirety of processes and can either make or break the company’s daily production routines. As the company expands, demands change. Orders transform from a sizable few to a frantic many, which undoubtedly affect the daily production process and require upgrades in the system’s mainframe. A Japanese Auto Parts Company experienced this kind of ordeal.

It is of utmost importance to cite the several problems that gave the company quite a dilemma. First, there was inadequacy in the data processing capability of their current scheduler. This led to a point where they had to limit the number of products being produced. Second, the existing scheduler was unable to restrict colors in each facility. This problem led to manual schedule modification with the help of an experienced schedule manager. Third, and lastly, when they resorted to manual scheduling, it incurred a number of errors.

If we would analyze these critically, we could deduce a conclusion that their main problem lies in their custom-made production scheduler. Anybody would notice, and suggest, that the most plausible solution would be to upgrade their scheduling system. They did this. In fact, they thought of ways to improve the existing custom-made scheduler. However, their own managers agreed that it was better to search for a scheduling package than to upgrade the existing one.

Introduction of Asprova

They initiated efforts on finding a package that would be enough to satisfy their needs. It seemed hopeless at first, but then, persistence prevailed and they discovered Asprova. A demonstration was immediately requested. After learning more about Asprova’s functions through the use of a trial version of the software and attending a training seminar, they decided to switch to Asprova.

Asprova offers standardization. According to Wikipedia, Standardization means “the process of developing and implementing technical standards with the goals that can help with the independence of single suppliers (commoditization), compatibility, interoperability, safety, repeatability, and/or quality”. Standardized scheduling work by codifying their human scheduler’s know-how into Asprova made it easier for the company to make production schedules of bigger data and in a very short time.

After incorporating Asprova in their production scheduling, there were noticeable improvements: it enabled all products to be scheduled simultaneously, scheduling of data larger than their previous data size in the same amount of time needed, reduced schedule adjustment work due Asprova’s ability to restrict colors in each facility, and achieved standardization in most of the scheduling work by transferring the scheduling data into Asprova.

To read the full report, please click here.

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Synchronization of Processes: The Saving Grace of Human Schedulers

Hand to Paper Scheduling

Flawless synchronicity of production schedules and material ordering, setup-time reduction, lead time shortening, and inventory reduction are the hopes and dreams of human schedulers in manufacturing. However, this feat is quite elusive  if we would just rely solely on hand-to-paper scheduling and a couple of human scheduling managers who, in their fear of their own deadlines, tend to hoard scheduling processes, which results in definitive casualties. These are only some of the common mistakes that human schedulers make. Unfortunately, these are not the only problems that are at hand. As was cited on Asprova’s Case Study number 4, there are several other problems namely:

  • Heavy workload that relentlessly stresses scheduling managers who are trying to keep up with frequent order changes through manual hand-to-paper scheduling methods,
  • Excessive inventory hoarding (which was mentioned above) with the intent to avoid late delivery and confuse production in the face of frequent schedule changes that turns out the other way around,
  • Unnecessary raw material inventory and handwriting of material orders due to inconsistency between material ordering and scheduling.

This seemed to be a recurring, endless battle for the Auto Parts Company schedulers who were the subject of the study. Fortunately for them, who needed a solution to these three common problems, they came to know about a Finite Capacity Scheduling software that offers guaranteed success on these problematic areas—Asprova.

Asprova to the Rescue!

Fast forward a few, the time to install Asprova on their systems came. The company prepared the necessary data and determined the system specifications. After the easy installation of Asprova, the schedule creation takes just a couple of hours, greatly reducing the load, and stress, on the scheduling manager, which was the objective in the first place. Asprova has also enabled scheduling accuracy, making full use of the precise data prepared at installation. As a result, the factory not only produces items as scheduled but was able to reduce setup time, lead time, and inventorythree of the most important factors in manufacturing and production. They can now order materials by sending their source data directly to the mainframe so that enough materials can be kept all the time without worrying about wastes.

Truly, synchronization of processes with the help of Asprova resulted into three remarkable improvements that should be highlighted in this case study:

  1. Impressive reduction of time required to make a schedule down to a couple hours, reducing the workload of the scheduling managers;
  2. Enhanced accuracy of scheduling, reducing setup time, lead time, and inventory;
  3. And lastly, enabled source data for material orders to be sent automatically to the mainframe computer, preventing material shortages.

Asprova, is indeed, the saving grace of human scheduling managers.

Achieving Consistency Among Process Plans

Inconsistencies with Human Production Schedulers

An Auto parts manufacturer, who since its establishment, has manufactured pedal assemblies (accelerator, brake, and clutch), pulleys, press parts for small-sized, medium-sized, and large-sized cabs, as well as various other products such as sound barriers, pedestals (base parts for construction), seemed to have everything under control. But, they had major inadequacies. They used to output documents to each process once a week, these were generated based on orders, and were calculated by a mainframe computer without checking the load on the equipment. These were managed by scheduling specialists who worked out weekly schedules relying on their intuition and experiences. However, because of the independent way of scheduling, the process turned out to be “inconsistent”.

The company’s problems can be summarized by: extensive overtime work required to complete items by their due dates, putting more stress on their workers; daily overtime work for the person in-charge of planning to synchronize the schedules; and the aforementioned “inconsistency” that causes the other inadequacies.

Benefits after installing Asprova

To come up with a resolution to these problems, the company searched for a scheduling package that would be easy to install, has diverse standard features, and has a bulk production capacity. And fortunately, they came to know of Asprova which specializes in solving their top three problems, and then some. According to the staff from this Auto parts company, there were no problems regarding the “ease of installation” and, they were able to start actual operation in a relatively short period of four months.

After using Asprova, they experienced the following changes in their company: improved accuracy of the master data and the schedule, enabling reduction of the load on workers; the schedules are now to be created by just a single employee, rather than by two or more working overtime; it became definitely easier for the factory to increase the number of manufactured item types; and more importantly, they achieved consistency between processes, enabling smaller lot sizes and reduction of excess inventory, which could now be managed visually.

The company, has experienced all this and had attained synchronization of processes and inventory reduction.