Visualization of Production Schedule Gets the Job Done more Efficiently

Visualization of Production Schedule

Visualization has been one of the most important part of production as this will allow you to take quick action should there be any unexpected  problems. For example, a sudden huge, rush order. It is apparent  that visualization leads to the maximization of the potentials of the production processes. Let’s try to crack the nutshell in the next paragraphs using a clear and concise example.

A well-known dye manufacturing company lacked visualization in the scheduling data of their factory, and this resulted to heavy dependence on human schedulers for order processing. As we have discussed in previous case studies, depending solely on schedule managers and/or human schedulers gives you headaches of all sorts. In this company’s case, it lead to work overload for their schedule managers because attending to changes and inquiries during daytime, and drafting the appropriate schedule at night became their routine. Because of this, they were unable to comply with the required efficiency to meet customer satisfaction. It was quite obvious that they needed a better scheduling scheme that would lessen the pressure on their laborers.

Getting tired of this long, inadequate routine, the company looked for solutions. At first, they tried to collaborate with a software company to produce their own production scheduling system. However, it didn’t work because of many setbacks. After that event, Asprova was recommended to them by an authorized distributor. The company agreed to try the product through the demonstration, and was impressed because of the following: Asprova’s scheduling speed, the Graphical User Interface (visualization), and the cost-effectiveness in terms of its version upgrades. The company, later on, decided to apply the Asprova scheduling software and just from one of its many features, the company was freed from their paralyzed state that lack of visualization held them in.

Trimming down the Plan-Do-Check-Adjust (PDCA) Cycle

Lengthy Production Schedule Drafting

Metal manufacturing, like other kinds of production, is not as easy as it seems. Like other manufacturers, companies that produce metals inevitably face the common difficulties (heavy workload, scheduling flaws, etc.) in production that comes along with it; this often takes place in the planning, doing, checking, and adjusting (PDCA) cycle.

Such is the story of a metal manufacturing company, who was aided by a mainframe computer in a monthly scheduling routine. In the initial stage of this company’s scheduling, the people in-charge often switched on the main computer at night. This was because it would take five to six hours of machine calculation needed in drafting a scheduling job. On the following morning, schedule managers would spend a whole day of work in correcting and editing the results in order to synchronize delivery times, setups, and machine operations.

Time is an essential variable in production. And, as you may have noticed, this company’s scheduling process took them quite  longer to finish than necessary. How right you are! In fact, it gets a lot worse, this manufacturing business needed at least three to four days to finish just drafting the schedules. And, it took them a month to finish scheduling. This is, most certainly, a result of relying on their mainframe computer that required long processing time, is inflexible—couldn’t adapt to sudden order changes, leading to dreadful manual calculation and on-site adjustment, and could not satisfactorily meet customer needs—now that’s a BIG problem.

High-Speed Production Scheduling

No matter how strong and capable a company is, it has limitations. However, these limits are not impossible to break with a little help. In order to find a solution to this issue, this metal manufacturing company looked for a scheduler that could give them better results. After a while, found out about Asprova and was surprised on how promising it is. It offered fast scheduling speed, a user-friendly Graphical User Interface (GUI), and diverse master settings. The people in charge of the search immediately recommended Asprova to their company after assessing the trial package.

They were able to resolve their situation and harnessed impressive results with the help of Asprova. The company was able to reduce the drafting time four days, to a three-hour minimum! Also, they lessened the completion of scheduling from a month to a week. This not only simplified the scheduling process, but also took off some of the heavy workload on the scheduling managers and the workers themselves.

If you need a little help on scheduling, Asprova might be your best friend, if you would give it a chance.

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.

Three Major Reasons Why Human Scheduling Results in Excess Inventory

A Japanese manufacturing company, whose specialization is in producing a diverse range of low-pressure to high-pressure pipes for use in motors, industrial machinery, ships, and other machinery, is one of the many who reaped the benefits of using Asprova. According to Case Study number 1 of Asprova Corporation entitled ‘Pipe Manufacturer Chooses Asprova for Scheduling Speed, Achieves Load Leveling, and Major Inventory Reduction’, this factory decided to use Asprova because of the swift execution of its scheduling computation.

Before choosing Asprova, they utilized managers for instruction-based production that solely depended on large amounts of paperwork like production plans, work charts, missing item lists, and instruction supplements. This is a problem in itself. Paper-based scheduling has, for a fact, been a less efficient method of scheduling as was stated in a previous post titled ‘Effective Machinery Assignment’. In the case of this factory, a production management system had been installed on their factory mainframe for more than 20 years; however, their production scheduling was still in a state of perplexity.

There are three major areas why human scheduling results in excess inventory. The first was the aforementioned considerable amounts of paper work because of complicated scheduling procedure. Second, the confusion on assembly lines because of conflicting instructions from different managers. And lastly, the process managers themselves, for hoarding inventory to avoid missing deadlines.

According to their Chief of Production Management, they have been looking for different scheduling management systems, and tried several different ones, but none reached the stage of actual installation. They were amazed and convinced to switch to Asprova because of scheduling speed, minimal need for customization, and the quality of response from Scheduling System Laboratory.

System Config

In conclusion, the positive effects of using Asprova can be summarized with this: load calculations enabled scheduling to be performed centrally every morning without exchange of paperwork; Control of factory floor through reliable schedules led to inventory reduction of about 30%; and Clarity of priorities and accuracy of load calculations in Asprova’s manufacturing instructions eliminated need for corrections by process managers.

All in all daily re-scheduling was realized. Confusion and excess inventory were eliminated, and overall, inventory was reduced by more than 30%.

Production Scheduling Systemization – Prototype Building to Real-time operations

Depending Solely on Human Scheduler’s Experience

After discussing how Finite Capacity Scheduling software can be of assistance to manufacturers who deal with Mold Processes by Simulating, we will now try to cover one of the most common problems of businesses who depend on experts (a single person or sometimes a group of people) to manage the schedules.

One of the biggest hassles for companies, who choose to rely on this method (depending solely on people) for their scheduling management, is the fact that people are oftentimes the source of inconsistencies. Unlike machines, people might get sick just when you need them the most, and be missing in action for unknown reasons, especially on crucial situations. Additionally, it is important to understand that whether we like it or not, people who have the most experience with your current production scheduling, get old and look forward to retirement. This will leave you with the massive amount of information on scheduling that they couldn’t possibly pass on to an apprentice before they go.

A sound solution may be systemization using the computer, but according to experts, this may cost millions and may still fail. However, due to the innovations that time brought about, systemization was made possible with the help of a cost-efficient, standardized Production Scheduler.

This may be done using five simple steps:

Initializing a prototype system → utilizing a production scheduler and transferring some data to the prototype.

Creating an interface with your current system and the production scheduler → incorporating the production scheduler with the existing production control system for smoother production control business.

Preparing a real production scheduling system data → this step is when you use real-time data for the production.

Performing the operational test → this step is crucial to systemization, and lastly, of course, Maintenance. For more detailed instructions on this matter, you may continue reading here.

Throughout the years, the problem of having human assets that come and go, leaving the company operations slowed down whenever they leave because of dependence on personal management, scheduling skills, and experience, has been lethal. However, these five simple steps should be the answer to the problem.

Mold Process – Simulating with Production Scheduler

Scheduling to the Greatest Extent

In recent posts, we have talked about Visualization of Production Schedule, Lead Time Reduction and the Limits of MRP, Efficient Machinery Assignment, and Effective Just in Time (JIT) Scheduling. Now, we can carefully look at how to use Production Scheduling software in molding processes.

Scheduling while considering a molding process is said to be “scheduling to the greatest extent” because of the complexity of molding processes that needs to take into consideration, an extremely large number of molds with different classifications, each having different time requirements for production. Sometimes, an executable schedule for molding seems impossible to make because of the large array of molds that require different specifications. On other situations, molds are rendered unusable and require repair.

This problem is quite common to mold processing businesses. However, it is imperative to understand that there is a way that can successfully satiate these complications and it is possible to make a schedule that considers the restrictions in mold processes.

It would be really difficult for people to handle all of these without the help of the Finite Capacity Scheduling Software. But, if we would utilize this technological blessing, it would be possible to set all of the difficult circumstances in an organized manner and make a comprehensive simulation on this matter.

By increasing the data setup, you can actually come up with a production schedule that is close to or an even an exact copy of real-time operating conditions. In addition to that, you can insert new methods of production that can reflect how your real operations work. By this, you have solved the problem of having so many things in your production list that could render the act of making a schedule impossible by utilizing the capabilities of Finite Capacity Scheduling Software .

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.

JIT

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.

Asprova—aiming to help Asian manufacturers on international standards

Tokyo, Japan (Headquarters) – Following the initiatives of the ASEAN economic integration towards 2015, Kuniyoshi Takahashi, Chief Executive Officer of Asprova, the number one Production Scheduling and Supply Chain Planning Software provider in Japan with 52.4% market share, would be visiting several places with the purpose of helping Asian companies improve their knowledge on production and be more efficient.

According to Asprova’s CEO Kuniyoshi Takahashi, he would be visiting more than a few companies to talk about production efficiency and how they could improve their current production operations and competitiveness.

Also, Asprova is expanding to South East Asia and aims to enhance their reach in the global market, “we are now setting up a new office in Bangkok” Takahashi says.

The company also extends their hand to other corporations by sharing their knowledge through the business improvement seminar that will be held on May 22, 2013, at Grand Millennium Sukhumvit, Junior Ballroom 2, Bangkok, Thailand. Takahashi would conduct a lecture that tackles “new products and configuration of world markets” and “Asprova new E-learning system.”

You can contact Ryan Biñas, Asprova’s Social Media Manager for more details