Time is flying, and it is over a month ago that I attended Directions NA in Las Vegas - the essential partner conference for all Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central partners in North America. When you visit a conference, a smartphone seems to be everyone's best friend, and I am no exception. I took a zillion of pictures. Last weekend, I showed a friend some impressions from Las Vegas and came across four pictures that are very meaningful to me. With that distance to the conference, I actually noticed how meaningful they are to me (and why) and decided to share in a blog post.
"Believe me Martin, this won't work." He did not give me any chance to answer or ask why. But he emphasized his point: "I have been in production scheduling the past 25 years."
Then he shared his lessons learned: "No factory is like the other. Each manufacturer has its own processes. Hence, they all manage and schedule in a different manner. Production scheduling only works if you customize it. It needs to support the individual manufacturer's processes. This is common sense and you should trust me."
Well, this was not what I wanted to hear.
For almost two years, I had been making a consistent observation. This observation made me think I had a smart idea for a brand new product. Or even a new product category. I had been noodling on this idea for quite a while. Finally, I was confident enough to discuss it. And I dared to ask a recognized industry expert for feedback.
"But my discussions with many small make-to-order manufacturers speak a different language. They want something simple, something visual and … ", was my attempt to make my point again.
He didn't let me finish my thought. He was so convinced that I was on a completely wrong track, that he interrupted me again.
NETRONIC Software GmbH from Germany and Technology Management Ltd. from the UK today announce the collaboration in the development of a visual advanced production scheduling extension for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. The joint product is meant to provide manufacturing users of Dynamics 365 Business Central with advanced scheduling capabilities. The product, named Visual Advanced Production Scheduler (VAPS), will be sold through NETRONIC’s international network of resellers. The first version of the VAPS will be presented at Directions NA (May 5-8, 2019) in Las Vegas, Nevada (US).
We at NETRONIC pursue the mission to empower every SMB organization to gain operational agility with visual scheduling. Visual scheduling is the effective management and change of time- and resource-oriented planning data which enables faster decision making, more reliable delivery time commitments, and a better use of resources. Consequently, we offer Gantt charts for visual scheduling. In that regard, customers often ask us what we mean exactly when we speak about a "Gantt chart scheduler" and for whom this tool is appropriate. This blog post provides an answer to this question.
We recently relaunched our website. This had been a 9-months project. We did this completely on our own and did not involve any agency. In this process, I made (among others) two fundamental decisions:
- Going forward, I want to run an "exec corner" blog. In this blog, I wanna share insights from owning and running a software company.
- With the relaunch, we say good-bye to (almost) all Marketing forms. I mean, all forms that we usually put between our visitors and the content we create.
This is my first "exec corner" blog and it sheds some light on the second decision. Actually, it needed only one reason to decide that we ungate all our content.
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.
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.