Synchronous Scheduling Gantt Chart - "GPS" for Production Planning

Posted by Markus Hammers on Sep 29, 2015 3:00:00 AM

For our manufacturing end customers (especially, for small and mid sized production companies) we often develop visual scheduling applications that are exactly tailored to the individual and specific production planning requirements. When specifying these requirements, we very often realize that a great deal of added value is created by linking operative production planning to the real-time events on the shop-floor. In other words: by equipping dynamic planning with dynamic updating, such as a GPS for cars that informs us about the distance to move and the expected arrival time.  We call this the synchronous scheduling Gantt chart.

This blog post gives you an idea about the principle of a synchronous Gantt diagram that could be compared to a GPS for production planning.

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Why Planners Benefit From Visual Scheduling That Allows Grey Areas

Posted by Martin Karlowitsch on Feb 23, 2015 2:30:00 PM

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,

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4 Facts Why SMB Manufacturers Need Visual Production Scheduling

Posted by Martin Karlowitsch on Feb 2, 2015 2:30:00 PM

"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.

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Production Scheduling Challenges: How A Gantt Chart Can Contribute

Posted by Martin Karlowitsch on Apr 3, 2014 3:30:06 PM

Modern manufacturing companies must manage, coordinate, and synchronize numerous activities to perform operations successfully in today’s competitive global marketplace. The scheduling challenges that they face make it extremely difficult for even advanced algorithmic based systems to actually meet and solve every situation that can affect the throughput rates, supply chain maintenance, and quality control procedures which are required for ideal efficiency and maximum profitability.

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8 Compelling Reasons for Visual Production Scheduling

Posted by Martin Karlowitsch on Feb 24, 2014 12:15:02 PM

To remain profitable and ensure company sustainability despite constant fluctuations in today’s global marketplace, discrete manufacturers and distributors must constantly strive to improve efficiency in every area of operation, applying lean strategies through the introduction of innovative procedural tools.

Yet production and logistic administrators understand that even the most advanced ERP, MES, MRP or APS systems lack the ability to prevent the occasional supply chain snafu, and resist short term changes to algorithmic scheduling that are sometimes necessary to achieve precision performance.

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Gantt Best Practice| Production Scheduling: Visualize Tasks With Short Duration

Posted by Martin Karlowitsch on Aug 6, 2013 6:24:00 PM

Especially when production scheduling is concerned, Gantt charts are a proven tool to manage resources with time-related tasks as efficiently as possible. In many production environment, these tasks tend to have only short processing times so that the Gantt chart has to visualize many of them one after another – showing as much details as possible. At the same time, the planner needs a high-level overview of the manufacturing process. In other words: a proper balance between detail and abstraction has to be found and since the bars lack space to provide task information, meeting these demands by a Gantt chart is tricky.

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Guest Blog: How MRP and Production Planning and Scheduling Software Differ

Posted by Martin Karlowitsch on Dec 2, 2011 11:00:00 AM

When we launched our Gantt Software Blog, we announced that we want to use this blog on the one hand to share Gantt chart tips, tricks, news and best practices with you. On the other hand, we promised that from time to time we would broaden the perspective and also blog about topics related to more generic market and software applications trends. Hence, we are pleased that we could win Derek Singleton, ERP Analyst at Software Advice, to share with us his view how MRP and production planning and scheduling software differ:

How MRP and Production Planning and Scheduling Software Differ,
a guest blog by Derek Singleton

Without a doubt, one of the most difficult stages of manufacturing production is the planning stage. Minor errors in predicting demand or planning materials can lead to costly mistakes such as producing too much or carrying excess inventory. To drive out waste and produce at the most efficient levels, manufacturers increasingly rely on information technology during the planning stages. Two of the most popular planning applications on the market today are material requirements planning (MRP) software and production planning and scheduling software.

While it’s generally understood that both of these applications are broadly about manufacturing planning, there remains considerable confusion about what each application is actually capable of doing. I recently decided to break down their capabilities as part of my work over at the Software Advice Manufacturing Blog. I thought it would be worth sharing the knowledge here.

MRP Software Plans Materials

MRP software is one of the more traditional applications in manufacturing software. It’s a subset of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. These systems are designed to plan materials and provide some support for nearly every mode of manufacturing. The software automates keys steps in the planning process such as:

    • Determining what inventory is available on-hand;

    • Identifying what materials must be procured (i.e., not in inventory);

    • Comparing production times to lead times for parts that need to be ordered; and,

    • Creating a production forecast to determine total project time.

Importantly, MRP software does not have the capability to plan capacity (i.e. plan based on machine availability or labor availability). To plan capacity, MRP relies on a companion application - capacity requirements planning (CRP). This type of planning tends to work well for production environments with either large runs or few products. However, a key limitation of MRP software is that it does not factor in changes in demand.

Production Planning Allocates Resources

Production planning and scheduling software extends some of the capabilities of MRP software in several important ways to overcome some of the limitations of the MRP. For starters, production planning and scheduling is able to simultaneously plan materials and production. It’s also able to take demand fluctuations into considerations when planning production. Here are a few more ways that production planning and scheduling software extends MRP:

    1. Factors in current production limitations, whereas MRP assumes there are no production constraints;

    1. Uses more complex algorithms to model multiple production scenarios, thereby creating more accurate planning projections;

    1. Accounts for the lead times of ordered parts to create more accurate project times; and,

    1. Prioritizes jobs in order of highest profitability to ensure those jobs are completed first.

Another important difference between MRP and production planning and scheduling systems is that production planning and scheduling is able to process inquiries faster. This allows for more frequent adjustments to be made to the production plan - a characteristic of that’s not always beneficial. For instance, when material gets scrapped during production, a production planning and scheduling application will assign a new job to that machine - regardless of whether there’s demand for that increase in production.

These are just a few of the ways that MRP and production planning and scheduling systems differ. To find out of more about how these applications differ, please visit my Manufacturing Blog on Software Advice at: What’s the Difference Between MRP and Production Planning and Scheduling?



About the Author

Software Advice help buyers find the right software for their business. Our experts constantly publish product profiles, comparisons, best practices guides and other research to this site. These experts are also available by phone to provide free consultations for software buyers.

Derek Singleton joined Software Advice after graduating from Occidental College with a degree in political science. He writes about various topics related to ERP software with particular interest in the manufacturing and distribution software markets. In his spare time he enjoys training in boxing and martial arts.





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