Why is Planning Efficiency so Important?

Flawless Production Planning

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” says Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a renowned French author of Philosophy books. The same can be said in modern manufacturing.

Planning is one of the most crucial stages in the processes of production. Without a detailed plan, goals cannot be met with ease. Even so, no matter how important planning is, it must be—like most things in life—fast and, as much as possible, flawless. No company who’s in their right minds would wish to unnecessarily lengthen this phase of production. Rather, we daresay that all manufacturers wish that the planning stages in their production processes would, as much as possible,  be shortened without the risk of errors, apparently.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Efficiency in planning is without a doubt, an attainable goal. This has been the fervent desire of one of the leading international camera film producers at some point. As we have discussed in previous studies, deficiencies in planning results in too many unwanted miscalculations and slip-ups in production.

Low cost, High-Speed Production Scheduler

This company has experienced these, and decided to switch to Asprova as well, and the reason was “In order to cope with rapidly changing business environments around that time, the manufacturing process for camera films required an improvement in efficiency in preparing plans. Given these circumstances, we considered utilizing Asprova as it was not only already in place for our other products but also didn’t require a high introduction cost” says a Logistic System Department Officer of the company. It did not only help with planning itself, but also gave the company a very cost-efficient deal.

According to the data found in Case Study 10 of Asprova, this company cited the following as highly rated effects after using Asprova:

  • Promotion of visualization
  • Keeping delivery dates
  • Reducing inventory
  • Improving operational ratio
  • Reducing lead-time
  • Improving throughput
  • Reducing planning cycle
  • Handling frequent planning changes
  • And, consolidation of  valuable human know-how into system resources.

But out of all this goodness, their most notable experience would be that the planning period was shortened by more than 20%, and saved a lot of money by reducing the planning staff by 50%.

Shortening Lead Time with Speed and Accuracy

Electronics Manufacturers’ Dilemma

Speed and Accuracy do not always go together. It is for a fact that, these two things would try to get in each other’s way, especially in manufacturing of electronic products. The reason for this is the detail-oriented specifications that are needed to be considered in most devices. Sometimes, by striving to go too fast in production might result in wastes if some important details were overlooked.

Let’s look at the case of a world renowned Japanese manufacturing company which have been producing wide variety of electronic products since 1987. The company was trying their best to meet customer demands. They simply wanted to upgrade their systems to achieve both scheduling speed and accuracy and possibly, they wanted to improve on the following areas: shortening of lead time,  improving productivity of their every employee, and shortening the operational time in preparing planning.

To accomplish this task, they searched for a scheduling package that can do all this and more. After a while, they found the scheduling software, Asprova, that offers a solution on all these areas and gives them a lot more than just that. Asprova has been known as having the uncanny ability of resolving companies’ scheduling nightmares and if its potentials will be utilized a hundred percent, then you will be able to improve upon not only in the areas mentioned above, but also on other important matters in scheduling – and most importantly, increase your company’s bottom line.

Improvements

In conclusion, the aforementioned company who was searching for a decent upgrade in their processes achieved what they were searching for after implementing the use of Asprova. According to Case study 9 of Asprova, lead time was shortened by 20%, the unevenness of lead time was reduced by 30%, production productivity per person was enhanced by 43%, and operational time in preparing planning was chopped by 16.7%. These are definite results highly improving in terms of speed and accuracy. And lastly, these are not the only things that their company improved upon.

The installation and implementation of Asprova has been seen by this company as the harbinger of productive and profitable times ahead of them. We urge you to experience high-speed and accurate scheduling with the help of Asprova.

Two Factories, One Production Engineer – Made Possible by High-Speed Production Scheduler

Custom Made Production Schedule

To keep up with the fast-paced manufacturing industry, one must learn to innovate. You will hear these words constantly if you would venture into production businesses. Time is one of the most essential factors in producing and meeting the ever-increasing and changing demands of the masses and the orders of other companies as well. Nevertheless, producers have to keep in mind that upgrading more often leads to positive results. Let’s look at the case of a synthetic resin manufacturer that had several problems that is concerned with time.

Using their own custom made scheduler, which had AI capabilities, the company was doing well—or so they thought. Their scheduling was based on order prospect and inventory information calculation. However, their custom made scheduler had tons of restrictions – one of which was the lengthy process of coming up with a schedule. It took them too long to process orders and other necessary things for production. In addition to that, their old hardware caused them machine failures that led to heavy burden on scheduling managers and unavoidable overtime work twice a month just for the routine scheduling job. This is quite miserable for the laborers. Relying on machines that don’t give good results is absurd.

Switching to Asprova

After realizing that they would need to upgrade their system, the company thought of numerous ways to improve. Fast enough, they discovered Asprova. They chose Asprova as their replacement scheduler because they were impressed with the scheduling speed, the ease that they’ve seen in its modification features and rescheduling features, and lastly, in issues operationally. Asprova allowed the users to easily modify schedules on its Gantt chart visually and effectively.

The most important factor here, once again, is undeniably time. Speeding up the processes of their factories is their first priority. When they incorporated Asprova into their scheduling routines, they amassed great developments. Visualization of production schedules provided by the Gantt chart transformed rescheduling time to 5 seconds from the past where it took 4 to 5 days.

Do you feel that your factories’ processes could be improved? Are you still grappling with unnecessary long hours (and additional costs from overtime work) just to make production schedules? Do you put heavy burdens on your schedulers by giving too much workloads – and deprive them of much needed rest just to meet customer demands? Don’t fret.

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.

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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.