When discussing scheduling software, a common question is – “how do we measure schedule adherence”?

The question is often driven by frustrations arising from issues such as

  • production not meeting agreed targets,
  • production seemly to arbitrarily manufacture product out of sequence
  • production having lots of reasons why things went wrong.
  • Needing some way to measure production activity.

The Advantage of Advanced Scheduling Solutions in Schedule Adherence

One of the major advantages of advanced scheduling solutions is the ability of the factory to change the schedule sequence easily and therefore frequently. Schedules can be changed at the beginning of each shift or for the next day’s production.

The changes could be brought about by:

  • Customer requested priority changes that the factory can meet.
  • Rejections for quality reasons of raw materials, semi-finished product or finished product.
  • Machine failures or staff issues impacting available capacity.
  • Etc.

Measurements that can track schedule adherence are:

  1. Did the factory produce product in the agreed sequence in a shift, irrespective of whether this took more or less time than expected?
    • This is important in factories involved in assembly activities.
  2. Did the factory use bottleneck machinery efficiently, as measured using OEE?
    • The actual sequence of tasks may or may not be important here.
  3. Is the factory achieving or improving on the productive use of manpower?
    • To answer the question of how much unplanned overtime is required to meet the scheduled workload.
  4. Is the factory meeting the S&OP volume targets, measured in units / hours expected per period?
  5. Are the factory meeting agreed / desired customer service levels, based on promised delivery dates?

These measures give a good indication if the factory is using key resources efficiently to produce the volume of work required in the sequences necessary to meet customer service levels.

Other than the first measure, which might be more of an internal factory measure, the measurements are higher level measures, which allow the factory the flexibility to change the daily production sequences as required.

Internally, the factory can compare the actual times taken against estimates / standards, by operator / shift, etc. for both setups and standard operations to ensure that the schedule received is fair and achievable.

Production management always has the responsibility to review schedules prior to their release to ensure that these schedules are feasible.

How do you measure schedule adherence?