How to Address the Top Problems in the Manufacturing Industry

flickr ©Carmella Fernando

A customer orders 100,000 pieces of apparel. Manufacturer promises to deliver 2 months from the date of order. Due to challenges in the line, the request was not delivered on-time. The customer lost a week’s worth of profit and so does the manufacturer.

One of the most common problems in the manufacturing industry is the lack of ability to quickly calculate and provide an accurate Available-To-Promise (ATP) quantity and delivery dates. ATP is the ability to project quantity and commit delivery dates based on availability of resources. It is essential for a manufacturing company to know its available resources first before committing quantities and dates to the customer.

A manufacturer needs to know how much inventory it has to be able to commit on ordered quantity. It is critical that the company has an accurate record of inventory as any shortages may lead to delay in due dates.

When a customer places an order, the manufacturing company checks available inventory plus incoming supply and projects when to deliver the order. This information is vital as this is what the customer holds the manufacturing company accountable for. A few delays on the promised date can affect the company’s credibility and may lead to customer disappointment.

These problems are inevitable—some within the company’s control, while others are caused by external and uncontrollable factors. Any changes in orders due to material shortages, machine breakdown, and labor absenteeism can impact order availability. The key in addressing these problems is to plan within these limits also known as constrained production scheduling. Planning with all constraints considered guides the company in giving a more realistic production schedule.

One major way to deal with this is through Asprova, Japan’s No.1 production scheduling software which has been around for more than 20 years and is deployed in almost 2,000 factories worldwide. The system helps manufacturers achieve a bird’s eye view of their detailed production schedule wherein any changes can be easily taken into account. The system will aid the company in planning the right schedule at the right resource, at the right quantity and at the right time, thus driving business growth and increasing customer satisfaction.

To experience Asprova first-hand, you can download the trial version by clicking the button below:

 

Clients

Clients

You may know most of them, and yes, they trust Asprova to increase their profits by reducing inventory, shortening lead times whilst keeping up with due dates! We invite you to attend our Webinar presentation and discover how you too, could improve your factory with our help!

BTO and the Need for High Level Scheduling

Kobayashi Create

Prescale Film

Manufacturing recording papers is the specialty of this featured BTO Japanese company. Due to the innovations brought about by Information Technology and the digitalization of printing, the pressure to supply complete solutions to respond speedily to market demand increased. This made communication between different departments an important issue that should not be overlooked. To realize seamless communication and to quickly respond to customers’ needs, the production management of this company decided to set up a collective management system. However, their scheduler at that time was unable to adapt to the integrated system that they wanted. This led them to find another scheduler that actually can.

A flawless connection

To simultaneously take a lot of factors into consideration and keep delivery dates in check, an advanced scheduler was needed. Asprova is widely known throughout Japan and the company immediately called for its help. By utilizing this Finite Capacity Scheduling software, making optimized production plans became an easy task. With its help, they were able to connect to the ERP they used and it became possible to reduce lead times substantially. “The existing scheduler was not able to connect systems and to create an overall optimized schedule. One reason for selecting Asprova was that it can flexibly be connected to peripheral systems. This made it possible to improve same day delivery responses from 20% to 80%,” says the production management team members.

Progress visualization

To monitor the progress of the production, the scheduling managers used Asprova MES. This greatly reduced the number of inquiries from other divisions as it made the progress available for every department.

After the success of the company in integrating Asprova to their system, the company plans to use Asprova on their other businesses. This company placed their trust on our production scheduler. It’s time for you to discover why!

 

Addressing Scheduling Complexity through Software Flexibility

Electrical products (Electric wire, cable, electronic connectors, etc.) are the main merchandise of our Hong-Kong based manufacturer. In their earlier years, this company relied on Excel, human schedulers, and an ERP for their production planning. However, in the long run, when the variety of items reached 10,000 and the orders rose to more than 5,000 a month, it made the schedule managers perplexed because of the difficulty of making a production plan on excel. They tried company’s ERP but according to the IT manager, “Our ERP has a scheduling function, but it is difficult to create a feasible plan and it is too slow. Therefore we had to search for a more professional, advanced scheduler.”

To improve production efficiency and reduce costs

Because it has become too complex to make a production plan based on MS Excel they needed a better scheduler, one that is more flexible. “Our product technology is not very complicated, but the convergence, decomposition, and other modes of producing process make the production very flexible. When rush orders come in or the yield is not satisfactory it’s really hard to handle, as we are have to solely rely on our experience,” the production management department leader said.

After assessing their needs, they decided to try our Finite Capacity Scheduling software—Asprova, that is known all throughout the world for its flexibility as a scheduler. They did this to address the scheduling complexity brought about by their businesses’ expansion, to optimize capacity, and to increase production efficiency.

Implementation effects

After five months of transition, the results of switching to Asprova became evident. The managers noticed that production time was reduced significantly. According to their data, it used to take about 2 hours to make a plan and even longer if rush orders came in. Now, it only takes 15-30 minutes. The scope of their scheduling also expanded considerably. In the past, the company only planned its main processes, but with Asprova the copper twisting and extrusion processes has been included in the planning. The most amazing effect after Asprova implementation is when plan execution reached 90%. Due to the lack of an effective management basis, the plan execution rate used to be very low. After introducing Asprova, the managers worked according to Asprova’s scheduling results, increasing production efficiency and at the same time reducing costs.

 

Lead time reduction: what are its effects?

Reducing Lead Time

Lead time reduction, was previously discussed in the article Lead Time Reduction and the Limits of MRP published under the umbrella of Production Scheduling Lessons in this site. It is generally known as reducing the latency (or delay) between the initiation and execution of a process. This is a very important feat in production.

A world renowned manufacturer, who launched the first facsimiles for office use,  that was in the expanding phase in their sales, experienced an increase in the high- mix and low-volume production. As demand increases, the need for production processes goes up along with it. The company needed to increase their machines and make production more efficient. They needed a production scheduler to make the processes smoother, and they called for Asprova.

To be more efficient in production, they needed to reduce lead time. If a company needs to reduce inventory, it would be better if they would rather reduce lead time than directly reducing inventory itself. Asprova gave them just the help they needed.

After implementation of this production scheduler, they were able to witness a great reduction in lead time—it was actually cut in half. WIP (Work-in-process) inventory was also reduced by 50%. They improved the efficiency of the whole production process. They even experienced a reduction in delivery delay.

Would the PDCA cycle become faster when accuracy improves?

Make-to-Stock

Vibration-proofing products are the specialty of this Make-to-Stock (MTS) manufacturer that we will try to analyze in this article. There are two reasons why they installed Asprova mainly: to improve efficiency and to upgrade accuracy.

The Production schedule, before Asprova introduction, was made three times a month. Because the company needed a lot of help with their vulcanization processes, they wanted to focus on narrowing this out for it to be automatically scheduled. Scheduling only three times a month made it hard for them to do so. But, after Asprova installation, they were able to schedule every day and made the processes more efficient and accurate. After this event, the company plans to expand the use of Asprova in other aspects of their production processes.

Production Planning Enhanced

According to their managers, the improvement of efficiency in making production plans is one of the best effects after Asprova introduction. Another is the accuracy enhancement of production plans.

The use of Asprova does not end in just the aforementioned details. The company predicts that in the future, there will still be effects like great reduction in-progress inventories.

How a Synchronized MRP and Finite Capacity Scheduler Helped a Cosmetic Company?

MTO Manufacturer Still Using Excel

In a Make-To-Order cosmetic product manufacturing, checking material availability usually takes a long time, sometimes it takes too long, that customers would rather cancel the order instead. It is very hard to keep up with order changes and respond to when this happens often. A Japan-based company specializing in: powders, lip sticks, and cream—experienced this setback.

The company utilized an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software as the core system  in the past. This proved to be incompatible with their production setting because it took them a long time to complete all their processes and it was simply unstable. They even  had  to manually schedule using MS Excel for their scheduling because of this issue.

Finite Capacity Scheduling

However, these matters were resolved through the installation of a Finite Capacity Scheduler (FCS) software called Asprova. The company wanted to combine the two concepts to form a process that would utilize both MRP and FCS. And they succeeded by overcoming many challenges in conceptualizing how this would work (for a more detailed explanation click here—case study 14).

After switching from ERP to FCS, the company experienced a considerable reduction in manual workload, precision in scheduling, realized functionality of MRP, and  realized the computation of synchronized MRP and FCS in only 6 minutes—now that’s a quick (and also accurate) response to frequent order changes.

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