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.
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We were speaking to a prospective client recently and the issue of the need for a frozen production zone was raised.

The company produces many finished SKU’s from a limited number of inputs and can easily change production mix and sequences if these changes support improved customer service objectives.

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When implementing advanced planning and scheduling (APS) systems, you get to interact with the Planners / Schedulers and Production Management.

A useful way to think about these key users of the APS is to think of them as being either an action Hero – someone from a Marvel film – or an Adept – a follower of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”.

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In this blog I talk about how to increase customer service while decreasing finished goods stocks by using the Glenday Sieve technique (also known as Green streaming).

The Glenday Sieve introduces the concept of a repeating production cycle to increase production efficiency. It can be used effectively together with automation to delay determining the production mix until the last possible moment.

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I saw a note on LinkedIn the other day that promoted implementation of a Kaizen structured approach to problem solving.

Harnessing the power of a group to tackle problems is a wonderful way to drive improvement within an organisation.

I wondered about another article that also questioned the value of running Kaizen problem solving groups. I suspect that these groups solved lots of non-important problems very well.

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A lot has been written about the problems of using material requirements planning (MRP) for scheduling. The primary problems that arise are usually:

  1. That MRP ignores capacity availability when determining start and due dates of planned orders.
  2. That MRP uses fixed lead times.
  3. That the MRP output does not dictate sequence of activities required in a day.
  4. And more
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The chances are you’ve experienced “social loafing” – you know when you walk around the factory, you sometimes get the feeling that that things are running slowly? The guy with the clipboard seems suspect… Well, you may be onto something. There could be more “social loafing” happening than you think possible. 

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Many companies aren’t aware that that they can remove the need for a stock take if they deploy a shop floor tracking solution.

We regularly visit companies that set time aside monthly, half yearly or annually to complete a stock take.

When this happens, all production stops, stock take systems are deployed, and time and effort is spent reconciling the stock count figures against system theoretical values.

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If you ask manufacturing systems users, consultants, etc. where the product route is kept, they will tell you that it is kept in the ERP solution.

I would like to propose an alternative home for the routing information. Bear with me while I tell you why.

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You are, I am sure, aware of Moore’s law. But just in case you aren’t, this law describes both the increasing density of transistors per square millimeter in a computer chip and the resulting cost reduction that occurs.

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