Again this year, we as NETRONIC - The Gantt Solutions Company - but also myself personally attended both Directions EMEA and US. Now I find myself hanging around the hotel lobby, and waiting for my plane to head backwards from sunny Florida to the autum-ish Germany. While sitting here I started to think of both events, the absolutely great people I met, and the plethora of content I consumed. Sorting all these impressions, I seem to bring three major take-aways home with me, and I am pretty sure that they will play an important role in how we as a provider of visual scheduling add-ins will further develop and progress. Actually, I firmly believe that these take-aways not only impact our products, and hence I decided to share them in this blog post.
My experience from working with many SMB companies around the globe tells me that even the best (and probably most expensive) production planning model never can cope with reality: data always seems to be too imperfect to feed the “perfect” algorithm and the current production conditions seem to change too fast so that systems always seem to be ‘behind’ the shop floor reality. In that regard, a scheduling grey area should be defined as the area in which the scheduling system’s settings, configuration and model does not meet the reality and in which a human scheduler is sitting in the driver seat with the need to make agile decisions.
In this blog post I talk about how a visual scheduling approach can help the driver to navigate through the scheduling grey area,
"As we move into 2015, I believe we will see more and more small manufacturing companies start to adopt software solutions that help better plan and manage day-to-day manufacturing operations. Forty-five percent of respondents in our survey were still using pen and paper or other manual methods to manage their workflow. I see that number dropping next year." – This is the conclusion of the 2014 Manufacturing Software Buyer Report published by Victoria Adesoba, researcher at small business manufacturing software analysis group Software Advice.
manufacturing small business researcher at Software Advice.
I was kind of shocked by this figure: 45% of all SMB manufacturing planning processes still work on pen and paper-basis? That’s an amazing statement and it intrigued me reading the entire report and spending some thoughts on what this actually says about how software vendors support SMB manufacturing companies achieving operational excellence through better production scheduling. All in all, I found a total of four whopping figures. To me, these figures are undisputed facts why SMB manufacturers need visual production scheduling.
Does this sound familiar to you? Often, we are so busy with our day-to-day work, that we simply do not have sufficient time to follow and digest all the new content on the topics that we have to cover. So starting into 2015, we looked back into 2014 and analyzed what were the top posts about Gantt chart methodology, Gantt controls and visual scheduling in terms of page views, retweets and LinkedIn comments. These top 5 posts are summarized here with a link back to the original post - this should help you catching up with the most prominent Gantt-related content we provided last year.
As enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, Microsoft Dynamics NAV helps small and medium-sized companies to better manage their accounting and finance processes, supply chain, and operations. It provides users with a real-time view of their entire business. Running a successful business depends on the ability to gain insight into business data and extract and present information in a meaningful manner. This blog post sheds some light on why charts and diagram in general are of increased importance to ERP users. It also works out the differences between "static" Business Intelligence-type of charts, and interactive visual scheduling diagrams.
A visual schedule is a proven technique to manage, handle and plan time-related, resource-oriented planning data with dependencies. A visual schedule highlights conflicts and keeps the user focused on the decision-relevant data. Hence it enables corrective actions in terms of drag & drop changes to the schedule, and lets the user (and not the system) stay in the scheduling driver seat. As such, a visual schedule can become a relevant addition to a standard Microsoft Dynamics NAV implementation (you can learn more about this in a previous blog post). In this blog post, I want to spend more thinking on why visual scheduling is important for Microsoft Dynamics NAV users.
When attending NAV Directions in both San Diego and Poznan, we discussed our idea of a visual schedule with many attendees: ISVs as well as resellers as well as Microsoft staff. From all these discussions we won the impression that there seems a general interest in digesting our thoughts and considerations about (a) the concept and (b) the way of how we decided to add visual planning capabilities as fully-integrated, repeatable add-ins to Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Hence, we decided to summarize these thoughts in a complementary Ebook and to discuss selected content from this Ebook in a series of blog posts, of which this is the first one.
This year, we as NETRONIC and I personally attended both NAV Directions in USA (San Diego) and EMEA (Poznan). The purpose of our attendance was both learning (by visiting the sessions and networking with many NAV community members) and channel enablement (by meeting existing and potentially new partners for our visual scheduling add-ins). Returning from the Poznan event, I asked myself: "what did I learn at NAV Directions and how does this impact the business of my company?". This blog post shares these thoughts with you.