Automated production scheduling handles the job scheduling in the production process.
It streamlines the sequence of tasks and finds the most efficient way of using resources.
Automated production scheduling gives time to employees and machinery. As well, it considers all production conditions. These could be employee vacation, skill level, machinery downtime, etc.
Research in manufacturing identifies many factors influencing production schedules. Some of these are job machine capacities, machine availabilities, lot-size restrictions, production levels, cost restrictions, release dates, operation precedence, job priorities, and other resource requirements and availabilities.
As a result production job scheduling can be complex.
Automated production scheduling handles all the dependencies in production planning and scheduling. As a result, it simplifies the scheduling process and makes it efficient.
In automated production planning and scheduling software, this is handled through different modules.
These modules could vary based on the software. For example, the automated production planning software QShop includes:
- Dynamic scheduling: For changing priorities
- Capacity planning: For determining production capacity to meet the future demand
- Employee scheduling: For managing working hours to maximize productivity
- Equipment scheduling: For allocating equipment to reduce downtime
- Visual scheduling: For scheduling using Gantt charts to ease changing schedules
- Visual Routing: For displaying and organizing the process and material flow in production
- Budgeting: For displaying scheduling and financial outcomes in weeks and months to come
- Estimation: For giving visibility over resources required to complete a job (jobs)
How automated production scheduling can help your business?
- Identify Idle time and Reduce them
- Identify Bottlenecks in the production
- Optimize Resource Allocation and Utilization
- Customer Responsiveness and Increasing Profitability
- Get Visibility over the Entire Production
1- Identify Idle time and Reduce them
Idle time in production means the time that resources such as machines, employees, or materials are not working or creating output.
According to The Lean Six SIGMA Pocket Toolbook, “Idle time is the enemy of productivity. When machines are idle, they are not making money. When people are idle, they are not creating value. And when materials are idle, they are not contributing to the finished product.”
Automated production scheduling helps you find the cause of idle time in your production. Meaning, in real-time you can see how or why production delays happen. Similarly, you can uncover the cause of a possible delay. These could be due to labor shortages, equipment capacity, parts unavailability, or other factors.
Having such visibility over production allows you to take action fast and rectify the delay.
For example: Consider a scenario when you come to the office on a Monday morning. You run your scheduling system and see that this morning all your orders are in red on the dashboard. As a result, promised customer deadlines will be delayed in the next few months. You might think that everything looked fine on Friday. But somehow all your production schedules are behind as of Monday morning. What could be wrong?
An automated production scheduling system like QShop has several dashboards. This can help you identify such a problem quickly.
After looking into your job scheduling dashboards you find the cause. You realize that a key employee had an accident over the weekend and will be away for many weeks.
The ability to find the root cause of production delays gives you an opportunity to address the issue early.
2- Identify Bottlenecks in the Production
An automated production scheduling identifies bottlenecks in production.
A bottleneck is a production constraint that causes delay and leads to inefficiency.
“A bottleneck is any resource whose capacity is equal to or less than the demand placed upon it.” A non-bottleneck refers to a resource that handles more capacity than the demand on it.
In production, you want to have visibility over bottlenecks and not-bottleneck resources. As the well-known adage suggests, “the strength of the chain is determined by the weakest link.”
Because bottlenecks hinder the production output, regardless of all other resources. They slow down production and increase operating costs.
An automated scheduler can help you spot production bottlenecks in real-time scheduling. Moreover, it makes it easier to rectify the restraints.
To sum up, automated job scheduling highlights production bottlenecks. Identifying bottlenecks optimizes workflow. It streamlines production, reduces costs, and leads to higher customer satisfaction.
3- Optimize Resource Allocation and Utilization
Scheduling is about allocating resources to the required task on the shop floor to reach the production output. Automated job scheduling makes sure that all the right resources are available at the right time.
Automated production scheduling can help to make labor allocation as efficient as possible by:
- Assigning tasks to the most suitable employees based on their skills and availability.
- Adjusting in real time to account for unexpected absences and changes in priorities.
- Reducing idle time, extra labor, and overtime by efficiently allocating employee hours.
Similarly, when it comes to machinery, automated production planning, and scheduling software:
- Give real-time visibility over the status of all equipment and mark their availability
- Assign tasks to machinery based on all other parameters in the job scheduling
- Reduce machinery idle time and cut equipment downtime. This ensures the highest throughput in production.
4- Customer Responsiveness and Increasing Profitability
Automated production scheduling ensures all production needs are lined up when needed.
This reduces the costs associated with idle time, overproduction, and resource underutilization. As a result, job scheduling and planning software leads to cost savings and an increase in profitability.
Furthermore, the ability to run production scheduling several times allows for dynamic scheduling. This means you can respond to customer demands, and change job priorities. Moreover, you can see how changes in your scheduling change your budget, weeks, and months in the future.
As a result, you can make the right decision that best fits your business goals and improve customer satisfaction.
5- Get Visibility over the Entire Production with automated production scheduling
Production and planning scheduling software gives insight into the entire production.
Access to real-time data from production and job scheduling enables faster decision-making.
Automated production scheduling connects to data from various parts of the production.
Access to this data through dashboards gives you the power to make business decisions with clarity and assurance.
Further, you can realistically assess your production capabilities and capacities.
Depending on the solution, automated job scheduling software will have many dashboards. This is to give you insight into your production. Here are examples of dashboards that the QShop job scheduling system offers:
- Budgeting Dashboard: Planning your cashflow for months ahead
- Employee Utilization Dashboard: displays employees’ work allocation over a time horizon
- Equipment Utilization Dashboard: displays the ratio of the in-use time to idle time, earned value
- On-time Delivery Dashboard: Monitors real-time achievement of on-time delivery over the time horizon. It shows the percentage of orders delivered on-time, possible delays or other issues.
- Capacity Planning Dashboard: Gives insight into production capacity, and forecast demand. Helps to assign resources to ensure meeting customer demands
- Real-time Job Progress Dashboard: Presents real-time job progress and status.
- Multiple If-Scenario Dashboard: Trying different scheduling scenarios for best budgeting and decision-making.
To summarize, automated production scheduling software ensures timely delivery. It brings predictability and accurate planning to production and scheduling.
Further, it optimizes resource allocation by managing labor and equipment. Also, it minimizes downtime and reduces idle time.
Additionally, it provides real-time analytics through various dashboards. This helps manufacturers make faster and more informed decisions. As a result improve efficiency, reduced costs, and increased profitability and customer satisfaction.