Asprova Scheduling: Mixing-Packing-Inspection Process

This article explains the operations and functions used from master setting to rescheduling with Asprova APS. In this sample, we will explain the mixing-packing-inspection processes in Asprova.

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To be able to produce ProductA, it has to go through a series of processes:

  1. The materials for product A is set as ProductA-Material.
  2. ProductA-Material passes the mixing process first. There is a resource called Mixer 1 for the materials mixing process.
  3. Next step is the packing process. There are 2 packing resources – Packer 1 and Packer 2 for the packing process.
  4. Then, items produced in the packing process pass the inspection process. There is an inspector called Inspection Center 1 for the inspection process.
  5. Finally, ProductA will be produced.

This is the production process for Product A. All necessary equipment are called resources. All of these can be set up in Asprova – including set up and production time, resource or process output (e.g. mixing process outputs 1 unit etc), time constraint or waiting time and the order information. Order information includes product, order quantity, due dates and priority. Priority is set into two types – priorities 50-90 are called “Just in Time” orders wherein orders are scheduled in a backward direction from the due date and priorities 90-100 are called “Emergency” orders wherein orders are scheduled to start and finish as soon as possible.

With all these information set up in Asprova, we can run, adjust parameters and re-run schedule to meet the desired dates and quantity. For example, possible late deliveries can be adjusted to meet schedule on-time through opening weekends for operation. Asprova also has the capability to synchronize processes such that rush orders are scheduled sequentially with the just-in-time orders minimizing waiting time between processes. By doing this, it allows factories to schedule manufacturing with minimal lead time. As a result, size of production and work-in-progress inventories are reduced.

To learn more about this specific Asprova sample demonstration, you may visit Asprova’s e-Learning video HERE .


Toyota Production System

Flickr ©mrhayata

Flickr ©mrhayata

In the automobile manufacturing industry, the Toyota Production System (TPS) is considered to be a major breakthrough after the mass production system of Henry Ford. Withholding the philosophy of “the complete elimination of all waste”, the TPS embodies all aspects of production in pursuit of the most efficient methods. TPS has immerged after many years of devotion to continuous improvement with an aim to shortening product lead-times and implant uniformity of the final product. The objective of TPS is to “make quality vehicles ordered by customers in the quickest and the most efficient way, in order to deliver vehicles as quickly as possible”.

TPS is founded on two major concepts. The first one is “Jidoka”, which is automation with a human touch to highlight or visualize problem. Jidoka is an automated process that inspects each item after producing it. If no quality problem/defect is detected, the machine safely stops when the normal processing is completed. However, should quality/equipment problem arise, the machine detects the problem by itself and stops, preventing flawed products from being produced. Hence, only those products that satisfy quality standards will be passed on to the following processes on the production line. During initial phase of Toyota back in the 1930’s, when Sakichi Toyoda developed the automatic loom, it was designed to stop if the thread broke.

So it was there in the beginning of TPS and is considered one of the pillars of the TPS house. The second one is “Just-in-time”, making only “what is needed, when it is needed, and in the amount needed!” Just in time provides a disciplined approach to improving overall productivity and eliminating waste. It provides for the cost-effective production and delivery of only the necessary quantity of parts at the right quality, at the right time and place, while using the minimum amount of facilities, equipment, materials and human resources. JIT is dependent on the balance between the supplier’s and the user’s flexibility. It is accomplished through the application of elements that require total employee involvement and teamwork. A key philosophy of JIT is simplification.

Asprova is complementary to the TPS philosophy, both combine ideally to improve quality, increase productivity and reduce overall manufacturing costs of a company’s production line. It generates schedule which fully integrates sales orders to manufacturing orders, and manufacturing orders to purchasing orders to enable true lead-time reduction and trim down inventory levels. Hence, Asprova supports to implement JIT which has its roots in the Toyota Production System.



Source: Prof C. A Voss , Just-in-Time Manufacture, IFS (Publications), Dec 31, 1987
Photo Credit: Flickr ©mrhayata

Why is Production Scheduling Necessary?

Flickr © David Goehring

Flickr © David Goehring

Production scheduling is an important tool in helping the company provide accurate, real-time schedules, decision support and available-to-promise date and quantities. It is a manufacturing planning tool that is used to represent what the company plans to produce expressed in specific configurations, quantities and dates. It takes into account the forecast, the production plan, and other important considerations such as backlog, availability of material, availability of capacity, and management policies and goals. Some of the scheduling techniques available are:

  • Finite and Infinite Capacity Scheduling – Finite Capacity scheduling is a detailed scheduling strategy that considers resource load capacity versus Infinite Capacity that doesn’t. For example, if there is an order of 1,000 pieces on August 30, through finite capacity planning, the system will schedule this based on available capacity and will adjust production start dates as necessary, whereas infinite capacity planning will schedule all the orders at the same time assuming that sufficient capacity is available.
  • Backward and Forward Scheduling  – This is a technique used for calculating production start and due dates. Backward schedule is computed starting with the due date and working backwards to determine the required start date based on the set lead time. Forward schedule is computed starting on the first possible date the product is available and schedules the remaining activities from that point. For example, an order is released with a due date of Sep 30. Assuming a total of 20 days lead time from setup, to production, to delivery, through backward scheduling, the order will start processing on Sep 10. On the other hand, through forward scheduling, the system looks for the first possible date the product can start processing, for example, it is available for processing on Aug 25, the product will be ready as early as Sep 15.
  • Just-In-Time Scheduling  – “A philosophy of manufacturing based on planned elimination of all waste and continuous improvement of productivity.” It is designed to have the product available just-in-time by having the required inventory only as needed and shortening lead times through reduction of setup or queue time.

Now, imagine all of these techniques being done manually or through Excel, coupled with sudden changes in the production line – increase in order quantity, change in due date, machine breakdown etc. It is going to be very difficult for the employee to keep up. Asprova Production Scheduling is designed to assist the scheduler in arriving at a realistic production plan through a series of adjustment and simulation process in the system.

Asprova APS can help evaluate and revise plan based on available inventory and capacity constraints. It uses Heuristic rules to perform optimization and simulation that will allow a company to quickly respond to sudden changes. It will also help in maintaining desired level of customer service, making best use of resources, keeping inventories at desired level resulting to production efficiency and reduced costs.

For a detailed example on how Asprova APS works, you may visit our official e-Learning website HERE.



Source: APICS Dictionary, 12th Edition


Just in Time (JIT) Schedule

Just In Time (JIT) Schedule

Prior to this article, Effective Machinery Assignment has been discussed. Now, we’ll talk about the value of the JIT or Just in Time Schedule. Also, we would try to briefly discuss the necessity of using a JIT production schedule that considers the Finite Capacity Scheduling Software.

JIT is generally known as a production strategy that strives to enhance the earnings of a business by reducing in-process inventory and associated carrying costs. If done right, JIT can focus on continuous improvement and can develop a manufacturing organization’s return on investment, quality, and efficiency. To achieve this, however, continuous improvement key areas of focus could be flow, employee involvement and quality. These facts are according to a study of theToyota Production System, Shigeo Shingo, Productivity Press, 1989, p 187.

This method basically tries to, as the name suggests, bring prospective production items “just-in-time” when the production takes place. So, it has the potential to lower operation and item maintenance costs by reducing the storage time needed or, in better cases, taking away the need for storage.


Scheduler Diagram 4 JIT production schedule: The sales production item (JIT item) production schedule. The three orders are assigned so that each of them finishes precisely on their respective specified due dates to become a JIT schedule.

Reducing the costs of operations and maximizing profit is always of great importance to businesses in general. Usually among companies, regular prospective production schedules are necessary. They would need to incorporate the JIT to their production scheduling methods. However, many find themselves cumbered by the troublesome and sometimes confusing JIT production Scheduling style.

Fortunately for those who stumbled upon this article, we would like to give you a positive outlook on JIT and teach you how to say goodbye to the confusion and trouble that JIT scheduling gives you. Truthfully, the problem can be solved by incorporating Backward Scheduling as well as Forward Scheduling.

It’s pretty easy to come up with a good and reliable JIT production schedule where you can mix backward scheduling (JIT) and forward scheduling with the help of a production scheduling software (you can download and test this software for free).

For a more visual and comprehensive read about forward and backward scheduling, click here.

Drop us a note if you have any questions or would like to request more information.