In spite of the steadily growing automation, many small companies still plan their orders manually. Ideally, they use an interactive planning board for scheduling support. In this case, the order backlog (also called order pool or stock of orders) is an important part of this planning board. We have different ways to visualize this backlog for our customers, the presentation depending on whether the orders consist of several sub orders or not, e.g. For all of you dealing with Gantt charts and manual planning I have summed up four visualization versions.
In this post, Mercurius IT’s Operations Director, Lee Cridland, speaks to NETRONIC about his experiences of production and project task scheduling at Siemens and job scheduling at Mercurius IT, as well as provides insights into what good scheduling looks like.
If you enter the term „excel horror stories“ into your search engine you’ll get a long list of stories about financial disasters, wrong scientific insights or organizational nightmares being caused by the spreadsheet software. TransAlta lost 24 million due to a cut and paste error, designations of genes like SEPT2 get changed unnoticed into data by Excel, the NASA had wrong measure data in their Excel tables with which they keep on working, and so forth. Are you sure that there is no mistake hidden in your Excel sheets with which you run your company or plan your production?
The basic idea of visually-led scheduling approach is to enable the user to plan and schedule in a very agile manner. When developing our Visual Scheduling Suite for Microsoft Dynamics NAV we defined some kind of cornerstones or basic principles of any visual scheduling approach. In total, they can get summarized as the 7 visual scheduling best practices. They are described in this blog post.
Big Data – that’s one of the slogans of these days. Data is constantly being collected from all areas of a company and is getting analyzed - amongst others - for making production ever more efficient and faster, while individually meeting the customers’ wishes. Pouring this sheer amount of data over every employee working, whether on the shop floor or those responsible for maintaining the production schedule, will drown them. The art of ERP (and related software) systems lies in correct data preparation. Provide each employee with exactly the data that is relevant to them so that they can check, control and optimize their area of responsibility.
A few years ago, Microsoft completely changed the user experience of Dynamics NAV from a "one-size-fits-it-all" approach and introduced the so called role-tailored clients that provide reduced, and narrowly targeted data for defined roles in the company. This first type of filtering data can be further refined to accelerate the decision process while planning. This blogpost shows how this is done.
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.
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.