How to Successfully Implement a Production Scheduling Software

Flickr ©Scott

Flickr ©Scott

Every software implementation needs thorough preparation and planning to ensure success. Over the past years, Asprova has had its fair share of success and failures in the implementation of its Production Scheduling software. Based on actual experiences from our customers, here are important points to take note to be able to successfully implement a Production Scheduling software:

Set clear and in between ideal and realistic goals. To define these goals, understand first why your company needs a Production Scheduling software. Create a project plan that clearly articulates business requirements. Analyze the requirements and ensure to set goals in between realistic and ideal – be able to separate wish lists from the attainable ones. Lastly, goals have to be set with great focus on the company’s bottom line – PROFIT. For example:

1. Be able to answer quickly and accurately → Aiming at the increase of customer satisfaction and sales

2. Reduce inventory → Aiming at cutting costs

3. Shorten production lead time → Aiming at improving agility to respond to customer needs as well as cutting costs

• Build a prototype. Before implementation, it is recommended that a prototype be built first to be able to completely examine the functions of the system. This will help you decide whether the functions of the system will work for you or not.

• Keep additional software development to an absolute minimum. Too much customization may derail your implementation due to time constraints, possible bugs and uncontrollable costs. Take the opportunity to evaluate your processes first. Then, try to solve using the standard functions of the system.Taking into consideration all these important factors will help your company in successfully implementing a Production Scheduling software and in achieving your end goal of hitting profit plans.

Are you planning to implement a Production Scheduler in your factory? If so, we strongly recommend that you download the free trial version of Asprova and watch our e-Learning videos.

 

 

Photo credits: Flickr ©Scott

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.

Achieving Overall Optimization Through Short, Medium and Long Term Planning

While planning is indeed a basic need to each and every company, it is not an easy feat. Let’s take a look at a ship manufacturer who decided to try Asprova and have experienced four reasons to choose our Finite Capacity Scheduler.

Impressive foresight

In this featured company, in order to keep their equipments running, they relied on professional human planners to make schedules. However, they could only do plans that are 1-2 months ahead. Anything further than that, becomes a workload rather than a detailed and carefully considered plan. This changed when they chose to switch to Asprova. The scheduler helped them create plans that cover up to two years and managed 5000 orders, 6-7 target processes, and 30,000 operations.

An error free schedule

Because of a standardized system that comes along with Asprova, there is little to no room for errors in planning. This is a very important factor that helps maintain high efficiency. Asprova prevents process omissions and shows warnings if time constraints will be breached.

Overall optimization and accuracy

Planning for four months to a year ahead is no joke. It requires accuracy and an in-depth understanding that should be used to adjust delivery dates and carefully predict the upcoming workload. The company, instead of using just excel, switched to Asprova because of it can easily produce accuracy in optimization.

More money

Of course, one of the main goals, if not THE main goal, of the company would be to increase their profits. Even when these are not on the list of reasons of Asprova introduction in the company, lead time reduction, improving cash flow, and inventory reduction are perceived as something that will come to them in the long run with the help of Asprova.

 

Speedy action for everything!

A Japanese company manufacturing digital camera, car audio and navigation has been steadily yet vigorously striving to expand their business (like any other company) encountered the need for speed. Their motto: “Speedy action for everything” implied that they really valued time and wanted to progress by reducing whatever they can to save time, and of course, to increase their profit.

This company battled challenges common to every manufacturer out there: uncertainty, frequent change in orders, equipment failures, worker holidays, visualizing orders and product finish time, shortening lead time, inventory reduction, etc.—all of which relates to the fact that there is undoubtedly an urgent need for speed. In line with this, the company also wanted to excel on three related areas:

  • Uniform management from beginning to completion
  • Optimize management system and speed up decision-making
  • Visualization of information in order to promote consensus view for all employees

After careful assessment of their options, they concluded that they need a production scheduler that already holds proven records when it comes to speed and accuracy, and can also help with other related areas in production. They placed their trust then, on Asprova’s high speed scheduling capacity to help them in their journey on this fast-paced industry. And they were not disappointed.

According to the higher-ups of the company, Asprova helped them improve in several key areas: assembling lines, post-processing, visualization – enabling them to clearly see the manufacturing flow, availability of components that can now be confirmed in advance, and other superb speed-related factors.

To read the full case study, please click here.

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.

Five Good Reasons Why You Need Backward Scheduling

Scheduling in Reverse

Both Material Requirements Planning (MRP/MRP-I) and Manufacturing Resources Planning (MRP-II), for example, are forms of backward scheduling systems. You might have encountered those terms in our previous posts, and those are examples of backward scheduling.

Asprova can easily design a backward plan. A Japanese manufacturer of marine fresh water generators for ships experienced Asprova’s assistance on this topic. (See case study 17) It is often hard to understand the importance of coming up with a plan based on deadlines (backward) and practice. But, enough understanding on Asprova can easily help us with this.

Here are five advantages of Backward Scheduling:

  1. Process change-over reductionquick changeovers are an integral part of the JIT philosophy. The benefits of quick changeovers can be realised by simply changing the way in which we go about changeovers.
  2. Inventory reduction, leveling production leveling, also known as production smoothing or – by its Japanese original term – heijunka is a technique for reducing the muda (waste).
  3. Reduced scheduling effort -with backward scheduling, you don’t really need to put a lot of effort in the process.
  4. Increased production efficiency -unlike forward scheduling which schedules into the future, backward scheduling could potentially schedule into the past because the resources where not available to complete the job.
  5. Accurate delivery date quotes – backwards scheduling then may turn around and actually forward schedule the job to tell the customer the earliest delivery time.

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.